Research upon research shows that the secret for lifelong good health is ‘lifestyle medicine.’ This can be as simple as making healthy changes in diet and exercise, and learning to manage stress.
Picking your health battles right must be more than just a fad. It ideally should be a journey of self-discovery and learning. Read on and see which ones work for you.
Daily exercise can reduce the biomarkers of aging. It improves eyesight, normalizes blood pressure, improves lean muscles, lowers cholesterol, and improves bone density.
Jog around the block, walk to the park with your kids or a neighbor you’d like to catch up with, Jump rope or play hopscotch, spin a hula hoop or go for a hike.
Maintain a fitness diary to set goals and track your progress. Here are some parameters you can track in your fitness diary:
|30 min workout|
If you also track your mood, you might notice that you stay more positive and cheerful on days when you get your daily exercise.
Exercise releases endorphins into your body, boosting your overall mood and wellness. In this way, exercise not just helps you stay physically fit, but also reduces your risk of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses.
2. Eat Right
Aim for five servings of vegetables a day. Do them any way you like, raw, steamed, or stir-fried.
A diet high in vegetables is associated with a reduced risk of developing cancers of the lung, colon, breast, cervix, esophagus, stomach, bladder, pancreas, and ovaries. The 5-meal ideal helps manage your weight, maintain focus, and avoid cravings.
Work towards cutting out empty calories from your diet. This includes fizzy drinks, candy, and processed foods like chips. These do not provide nutrients to your body but fill you up with more calories than you need.
Monitor how much caffeine you consume in the form of coffee and tea. Exceeding two cups per day can disturb your sleep cycle, leading to insomnia and other problems.
3. Drink Enough Water
Staying hydrated is vital for maintaining good health and body function. Water detoxifies, helps digestion, aids chemotherapy outcome, prevents build-up, energizes muscles and regulates body temperature.
Consider keeping a bottle of water at your desk while you work and at your bedside when you sleep. It will remind you to drink more water.
You can also include hydrating drinks like tender coconut water and fresh juices in your diet.
You can find some easy recipes for refreshing drinks that prevent dehydration here.
Meditation has far-reaching and long-lasting benefits.It lowers stress levels, allows us to connect better, improves focus and heals pain.
With enough practice, mindfulness, reducing brain chatter and just being kind to yourself can turn into habits for life.
5. Go Visit a Doctor Regularly
Taking time off to see if your body is in check has several perks even if you are perfectly alright.
It helps in early detection and prevention, it helps to build rapport with your doctor, it establishes your health risk, keeps your body in check and it just might be the thing that can help you to get a good night’s sleep.
Find out if you fall into the high-risk category for any diseases, including cancer. Obesity, being a smoker, or consuming alcohol regularly can increase your risk of cancer. Get yourself screened to help early detection of such diseases so that you will have the best chance to recover quickly.
6. Maintain a Healthy Body Weight
While there is no one-size-fits-all weight for everybody, the body mass index is a good tool to find out if you’re at your perfect weight. A BMI that ranges between 18.5 and 22.9 is ideal.
Weight loss regimes are great, given that one does the right things. Weighing yourself often is a good way to keep those extra pounds at bay.
You can consult a dietitian to find out which foods are best for your body type. Avoid following fads and check with your doctor when in doubt.
7. Set Small Goals
Often the biggest enemy to your health goals is feeling overwhelmed by all the free advice but having too little energy to follow up with the information.
Taking it one thing at a time, turning one small, seemingly inconsequential habit to a healthy positive habit is key here. Two glasses of water instead of a can of soda. Small painless changes work out better than big painful ones.
Involve a family member or friend to help you stay on track. You can also use journals, fitness apps, or your mobile phone to set reminders and monitor your progress.
8. Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Relaxation and meditation techniques, a warm glass of milk, a hot shower before going to bed can help you get a good night’s rest.
Avoid meals just before going to bed, darken your bedroom and sink into a stress-free sleep. Tracking your sleep is a good idea once you have unplugged yourself from unnecessary digital distractions.
Maybe journaling your thoughts can help your brain quieten down just before you’re ready to slip away into a repose.
Ensure you get enough sunlight during the day. The sunlight helps your body produce melanin which in turn will help you fall asleep at night. Even 15 minutes in the sun each day can make a difference to your sleep.
9. Don’t Drink Alcohol
Chronic or binge-drinking should be a no-no.
Alcohol in the system causes the body to work overtime to process the toxins, the heart and lung rates accelerate at irregular speeds, the brain goes haywire trying to calibrate itself and the liver goes overdrive trying to metabolize it.
Apart from these, there are other downsides to mental health, body weight, a stable pocket, and your sleep.
Alcohol also increases your risk of several diseases, including cancer.
10. Stay off tobacco
While the urge to smoke might be big, every turned down opportunity is a good step forward to loving yourself.
Smoking is considered to be the most preventable cause of cancer. 50% of cancers among men are related to smoking.
If you have trouble kicking off this habit, consider speaking with a tobacco de-addiction counsellor who can help you make the change.
You can read more about why you should quit smoking here.
11. Cook and Avoid Eating Out
As busy as we are, keeping meals simple, exciting and homemade is a challenge.
Planning out the menu ahead, power cooking on the weekends and packing lunches can be easy enough with a few hacks.
It allows you to avoid the food industry’s trifecta success with fat, sugar and salt and keeps you a whole lot healthier.
12. Snack Healthy
We all know this. Eating saturated fats and trans fats is both unbelievably addictive and harmful.
You can aim to eat foods rich in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids to cut your risk of cardiovascular disease and chronic ailments.
Throw in those nutritional powerhouses and antioxidants like carrots, celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes, berries and dried fruits. Milk, eggs and cheese can help with omega-3 nutrients.
13. Don’t Forget Your Teeth
Your oral health is far more important than it is acknowledged for. Neglecting your mouth can cause dental issues and gum disease like inflammation and plaque buildup.
Studies show that dental hygiene lowers your risk for heart disease, pneumonia, unhealthy pregnancy, Alzheimer’s and erectile dysfunction.
Look out for any unusual marks, repeated ulcers or lesions in your mouth. Get them checked at the earliest by a dentist or a general physician.
If you are a smoker, go for a dental check up every six months. Tobacco is very harmful not just to your overall health but also to your teeth and gums, and can cause permanent damage.
14. Get Out More Often and Hang Out With Healthy People
If you have a desk job that taxes 60 or more hours of your week, then consciously making a few lifestyle changes may help you to move and flex those muscles.
Stopping by at a fitness class on your way back home, taking your kids or pet for a walk, striking up conversations with the neighbors and eating with colleagues may help broaden your social circle. Social media friends and followers don’t count.
15. Be Grateful
Cultivating gratitude might be one of the most overlooked tools to keep healthy.
It improves both physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, improves mental strength and self-esteem. It also opens the door to new relationships.
Keeping a gratitude journal where you note down five things you are grateful for each day has helped many make gratitude a habit.
You could also repeat daily affirmation everyday to help you keep positive thoughts at the forefront of your mind. Daily affirmations are simple lines that reinforce positive thoughts through repetition. Some examples are given below:
- I am getting healthier and stronger every day.
- I love life.
- I deserve the best life.
So, go right ahead and tackle those simple habits. Instead of making mega-changes, take on realistic goals and keep at them.