[soc_panel color=”blue”]By: Unber Shafiq[/soc_panel]
We see the effects of unhealthy habits every day; obesity, acne, back pain, depression, insomnia, and even some forms of cancer are linked back to what we repeat every day, i.e., our habits. It is the amount of control over healthy habits that allows people to live longer and healthier lives.
Apparently, it’s just one bad habit, or maybe 2. The consequences can, however, be devastating. Take for example the case of Bill who loved soft drinks and fast food.
The element of a balanced diet was completely missing from his life. Within 24 months of this unhealthy eating behavior, Bill developed excessive fat in his body that took him from 139 pounds to 242 pounds. Then came the life of restrictions, dieting, and physical activity. Bill failed to follow the advice of creating healthy habits, and so he had to create restrictions.
This article is supposed to be a motivation and guideline for all those individuals who, just like Bill, have either got unhealthy habits or have failed to develop the healthy ones.
12 Healthy Habits For A Healthier You
Read on to find out about 12 healthy habits that everyone should adopt as soon as possible. These habits will change not only your body but also your mind, attitude, energy, and mood.
1. Early to rise
Little did we know about the night owl life when we first heard this quote, “early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”
It turns out that after spending life as early risers and late snoozers, we still come back to the benefits of getting up early in the morning; of course, that is coupled with early to bed habit.
Modern-day research has repeatedly discovered that early risers tend to perform better in life as compared to others. These individuals are happier and healthier than the ones who prefer to hit the snooze button a dozen times. Take for example the life of any successful person; 99 out of 100 times, you’d find that person to be a morning guy.
Morning people usually have better grades and are greatly optimistic. They have more time to perform the required activities and organize the day ahead.
Late snoozers, on the other hand, are more likely to skip breakfast that is essential for a healthy body. Getting up early gives you enough time to prepare healthy breakfast rather than munching on last night’s pizza or skipping the morning meal.
If you lack this habit of getting up early in the morning, try adopting it soon.
2. Cook your meals at home
It may seem like a time-taking idea at first, but it’s worthwhile. People who cook a meal at home are less likely to go overboard on calories. You will definitely not add six teaspoons of sugar in that banana milkshake of yours, nor will the calories be any closer to what a sugary drink at Starbucks can offer.
Cooking a meal at home is not only healthy, but also economical. No one needs to tell you of the difference in the prices of a homemade sandwich and the one bought from a restaurant. You also have the choice to add all the balanced diet ingredients while preparing a meal at home.
With some practice, you will start liking the process, and you’d be happier to have more control over the variety of nutrients you can take form your homemade meals. Try looking for some healthy and delicious meal recipes and start preparing meals at home. You’d love the longterm results of this healthy habit.
3. Keep yourself hydrated
If you try asking this question—how much water do you drink per day— the chances are that most people will come up with an unsatisfying answer. Even the ones who consume adequate amounts of water had to develop the habit through practice and careful monitoring. Exclude fitness enthusiasts and experts. They are mostly good at keeping themselves hydrated, but an average Paul and Lina are just as bad at drinking water as we are.
From keeping the fluid balance to eliminating toxins from the body, water plays a crucial role in living a healthy life. Refill that favorite sports bottle of yours and keep it nearby as a reminder to drink water more often.
As you start drinking enough water, you’d recognize the abundance of energy and improvement in your skin texture. It’ll also help maintain other bodily functions of yours.
4. Adopt physically active lifestyle
With the advent of technology, human beings are hired more often for jobs that involve sitting in front of a computer from 9 to 5. Excessive sitting and a lack of physical activity are best combinations to promote fat buildup and other health issues.
The healthy motto is to ‘sit less, walk more.’ Here are few tips to increase your physical activity.
- If you have long working hours, it is better to take short breaks to get off that office chair. Another idea is to take a walk to that nearby restaurant—the one that serves healthy food— for lunch.
- Try getting up early and commit to 30 minutes of exercise for a healthier living.
- If your office is just a few blocks away, walk to your cabin instead of riding a car or a bike. Else, try walking to the grocery store.
- Maybe there’s a park near your place. Go there for some jogging.
- Use stairs instead of an elevator; that is sensible only if you have to go up just a few levels. We take no responsibility for your light physical activity to the 40th floor.
There are countless ways to be physically more active. For example, you can stand up right now and do some brisk activity. Go on; it’s a healthy habit.
5. Practice deep breathing
Hate yoga? No worries. If you think this point here is to lecture on the concepts of yoga, relax. It is not.
Deep breathing—although a technique used by yoga practitioners—is what most people do to attain multiple health benefits.
Whether you have an anxiety episode or a stressful situation, deep breathing works wonders. It helps improve the energy levels, boosts your mood, relieves stress, improves digestion, and makes your heart healthy. Practice deep breathing to acquire these benefits.
6. Try fruits instead of chips
We all know that fruits are full of vitamins and other necessary nutrients that humans need. We also know that it’s easier to munch on chips during work breaks than to cut fruit.
Between choosing ease and health, we often vote for comfort. So, a packet of chips win and the fruit remains in the refrigerator.
A more natural way to replace chips with fruits is to buy smaller fruits that are easier to carry, and require no cutting. For example, a watermelon needs more effort to be eaten as compared to blueberries or cherries. Try packing some berries, a banana, dates, a small-sized apple, an orange, or apricots for lunch. Where mangoes and watermelons require time and technique, smaller fruits are easier to consume wherever you are.
Next time when you think of having a snack, choose fruits. There are countless varieties and you won’t get bored due to lack of flavor.
7. Have a colorful plate of salad
Making simple changes to your diet can have tremendous health benefits. One such change is to introduce a bowl of salad. Eating salad is one of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest things to do. It is not even necessary to make it at home. Almost all restaurants have salads on the menu.
But why eat salad?
Because it is a healthy habit. The fiber in salad helps with the digestion of food and the vitamins, folic acid, and antioxidants contribute to your overall health.
Most fruits and veggies used in salads can even help prevent cancer. A salad has low calories and enough nutrients to contribute to your health and maintain ideal weight.
8. Swap soft drink for green tea or water
Soft drinks are never a substitute for water or another healthy fluid. High sugar content in sodas can act as a contributor to type 2 diabetes and gout. Moreover, sodium and caffeine present in the soft drinks are a threat to your heart’s health.
If you are habitual in taking soft drinks on a daily basis, it won’t be possible to give up in one day. Try to decrease the intake gradually. Diet coke is not an answer. That too is linked to adverse health effects.
If you are looking for taste, go for green tea, or add slices of fruit in plain water.
9. Learn to manage time
This might come as a piece of advice from your business administration professor, but poor time management leads to stress. Chronic stress can convert into depression. Be it stress or a full-blown case of depression both are harmful to your mental health.
Apparently less connected to the list of healthy habits, time management can actually play an important role in your overall health. For example, Mia and Edward, who are good at time management, have their meals on time. They don’t skip breakfast or eat fast-food for lunch because they didn’t have time to prepare lunch from home.
Time management goes a long way to help you in life. Try incorporating some of these skills.
10. Cut back on sugar
If you can do one favor to yourself right now, it is this decision to cut back on sugar. Of course, an action is also required once the decision is well in place.
That chocolate milkshake from McDonald’s is delicious but full of sugar. There’s so much of sugar in that fancy looking Starbucks drink that you should only treat yourself to it once in a while.
Fruit sugar is a great way to satisfy your taste buds. Instead of chocolates and sugar stuffed bakery products, go for some delicious fruits. Where high sugar intake can put to the road of weight gain, fruits help to maintain it.
11. Address things head-on
It is only natural to have daily life issues with friends, family, and co-workers. If you happen to have one of those moments where things start to build up, go talk to the concerned person. Talk about the issue and meet the problem head-on. Instead of harping on it, go for making peace with the situation. It’ll prevent adverse mental health cases.
12. Stay social
We often come across content that talks about diet and exercise for a healthy life; an essential aspect of overall health, i.e., social life, is less frequently discussed. Research shows that being social helps people live a happier and healthier life.
One study suggests that smoking 15 cigarettes a day and being socially disconnected are almost similar in terms of health risks. Lack of social connections is even worse than being obese.
Make time for your friends and family. Talk to that stranger sitting next to you on the bench. Try to initiate a conversation with a co-worker. Life is worth more than stalking someone on social media or watching one more YouTube video.
Breaking bad habits requires time. Similarly, creating new ones need practice. It is easier to decide on adopting a healthy lifestyle, but difficult to act on the thought.
You may have a sedentary lifestyle for past ten years. No one expects you to be physically active in a day. You can start with 20 minutes of physical activity and then move on to increase that time.
Just remember to adopt these healthy habits in a way that you can stick to them. For instance, rather than consuming zero sugar in coffee, it is better to reduce your current intake to half. Similarly, instead of running 5 kilometers on day 1, go for 1 kilometer. In short, go slowly and steadily.