Why is a Healthy Lifestyle Important?
Whether you’re young – or young at heart – it’s always the right time to start living a healthy lifestyle. And the sooner you get started, the better–because what you’re doing today has a direct impact on how good your life will be in the future. Being healthy means you can do more things–like hanging out with friends and helps you feel good about yourself (which gives you the confidence to make even more friends and find your true passions in life). No matter who you are or how old you are, today is the best day to get started on creating healthy habits.
Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle
If you’re like most people, the first thing you think of when it comes to staying healthy is your physical well-being–do you feel well? Are you fit? Do you play sports, get outside, and stay active? These days it’s often more difficult to get physically fit and stay that way because technology, social media and digital entertainment draw you in and can occupy a lot of your time. A sedentary lifestyle also has an adverse affect on your mental health. Research shows that too much screen time and spending hours scrolling your social media feeds actually increases stress, anxiety and depression. The good news is that developing a few simple healthy habits can make a big difference for both your body and your soul. Take a look:
5 Healthy Habits For Your Body
1. Get Moving!
Regular exercise is one of the best ways to get healthy and feel great. The good news is that you don’t have to become a marathon runner or climb mountains to get exercise, you can do what you enjoy and if you don’t know what type of exercise you like, you can try a bunch of different ones until you discover what works best for you. You can also mix it up–do a few different activities each week. Experts suggest 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week. Whether it’s walking, swimming, boxing, playing soccer, basketball or bike riding, anything that gets your body moving will give you more energy, lower your stress levels, help you lose weight and reduce your cholesterol and blood pressure– all while helping you feel happier and more relaxed.
So as Marcus likes to say, “You gotta pick a path. And you gotta GO!”
2. Hit the Hay
Believe it or not, getting good sleep is not only crucial to your physical and mental health, it’s a healthy habit that you can implement in your life right away. Remember how you felt the last time you stayed up too late? It’s likely you were drowsy, unable to focus and fatigued in the morning. Research has proven that not only is good sleep essential to physical health, it’s also key to mental health. Your brain can’t function at its best without an adequate amount of sleep. Experts agree that 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night is ideal. Although that may seem like a lot, it’s definitely a healthy habit that you can incorporate into your daily routine by making some simple adjustments to your schedule. The most important thing is to get good sleep–which means your sleep is for the most part, uninterrupted, and you wake up feeling rested, clear-minded and ready for your day. Some things you can do to improve your sleep are to make sure you get off screens, including phones, tablets and other devices, at least 30 minutes before going to bed, avoid caffeinated drinks in the late afternoon and evening, make sure your bedroom is dark and cool and your bedding is clean and comfortable.
3. Eat Well
We’ve all heard the expression you are what you eat–but what does that really mean and why does eating well matter for a healthy lifestyle? It’s actually a great way to describe the effect food and drink have on your body and your mind. When you eat nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, you’re nourishing your entire body with the fuel it needs to be healthy. You feel good, you have lots of energy and your brain is sharp, ready to tackle whatever life throws you. Think about how you felt the last time you ate greasy fast food or too much sugar and carbs–likely you were lethargic and maybe even had an upset stomach or a headache.
While fast food and sugary drinks and treats may taste good, they have no other redeeming qualities and offer just a few minutes (at most) of pleasure for your tastebuds. The downside of eating those kinds of food is that they can have a lasting negative effect on your health. On the flip side, eating well on a daily basis is a healthy habit that helps you look and feel your best and sets you up for a long, healthy life. Developing a healthy habit of eating well is easier than you might think. You can start by incorporating vegetables at every meal, eat lean meats and beans and replace carbs like white potatoes and rice with more nutritious ones like sweet potatoes, brown rice and quinoa. You can also cut out some of the sugary foods and drinks and start drinking more water. The good news is that the moment you start eating well you’ll feel the difference and find that healthy foods are not only nutritious, they’re also delicious.
4. Don’t Smoke, Folks
You’ve heard all the warnings and you know smoking is dangerous and that it can cause many kinds of cancer and diseases that will shorten, if not end, your life. It also rots your teeth, harms your skin and fingernails and it stinks–literally. You can usually smell a smoker a mile away. If you’re not a smoker–keep it up and never start. Nowadays, lots of folks use vape pens instead of cigarettes, thinking that this a healthy alternative to smoking, but in reality, tobacco in any form is not safe and will hurt your body. If you’re smoking or vaping, the most important thing you can do is quit. Right now. There are many resources available to help you quit, including a wealth of information on the websites for both the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC. So, do your research and talk to your doctor or healthcare provider, because the sooner you stop, the sooner your body can begin to recover.
5. Get Your H2O
Seems like a no-brainer, right? But surprisingly, most people don’t drink enough water on a daily basis. Why does drinking enough water matter in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle? Consider this–your body is approximately 60% water and that water ensures that the fluids inside your body stay balanced. If you don’t have enough water, then you not only can become dehydrated (which can lead to headaches, dizziness, organ malfunction and even death), the fluids that regulate things like digestion, absorption, saliva and even body temperature can get out of whack. It’s recommended that you drink at least 13 cups or 104 ounces of water per day. If that seems like a lot, you’re probably not drinking enough. Luckily, this is one healthy habit that you can easily add into your life, just fill your cup and drink it up.
5 Healthy Habits For Your Soul
1. Carve Out Some YOU Time
It may sound silly, but taking some time just for you can do worlds of good for your emotional health. Whether it’s sitting under a shady tree with a book, drawing, listening to music or whatever relaxes you, even just 15-20 minutes of alone time is a healthy habit that will make a positive impact on your life. The key is to be consistent and make time for yourself on a regular basis.
2. Start Journaling
Starting a journal may muster up memories of your sticker-clad childhood diary that you kept tucked away in an underwear drawer, or remind you of when you snuck into your sibling’s room to sneak a peek at theirs. But journaling is far from that old-fashioned diary where you penned your deepest, darkest secrets. It’s a safe space for self-expression that offers numerous health benefits including reducing stress and anxiety, boosting your mood, improving your memory and more. Spending 15-20 minutes a few days a week or even 5 minutes every day writing down what you’re grateful for, what went well or what didn’t, goals, obstacles you’re facing, concerns and even fears can help you work through issues, gain new perspectives and manage your feelings. All you need to do to incorporate this healthy habit is grab a notebook (of any kind) and a pen and begin by writing a single line, you’ll soon find yourself scribing all your thoughts, ideas and feelings.
Meditation dates back thousands of years and has become a healthy habit for people of all ages, all over the world. It’s easy to do, can be done anywhere and at any time! And here’s the best part–meditating actually helps both your mental health and your physical well-being. Its benefits include reduced stress, anxiety and depression and increased positive emotions and the ability to deal with negative thoughts and emotional reactivity. Taking a few minutes to meditate each day is easy–and there are tons of apps and videos available online to help you get started and discover what works best for you.
4. Get Creative
Creative hobbies and interests can have a positive impact on your lifestyle by challenging your mind and allowing you to express yourself in new ways. Consider what you enjoy, whether it’s music, photography, art, poetry, cooking or baking–incorporating some creativity is a healthy habit that can improve your life. And remember, you don’t have to be an “artist” to get creative, it’s all about expressing yourself and/or learning about something that interests you.
5. Give to Others
Remember how good it felt the first time you saved up money and bought someone you love a gift? Or that surge of happiness you felt when you helped that kid who dropped all their books in the school hallway? Something amazing happens when you help others–and it’s clear that philanthropy is one healthy habit that can totally transform your life. Whether you want to help walk dogs at your local animal shelter, serve food at a soup kitchen or donate money to causes you believe in, giving to others feels good, which in turn helps to improve your physical and mental health.
Small, Simple Steps or Big Changes--You Decide
You can start living a healthy lifestyle by implementing some or all of these habits or finding other healthy habits that you feel will work best for you. Everyone is different so there is no one size fits all–the key is to start. And once you start, just make sure you keep going, the most important way you can stay healthy is to be consistent.
- What are some healthy habits that you already have?
- What habits listed above do you plan to implement in your life moving forward?