Everyone strives towards living a healthier lifestyle, but few of us know how to actually go about doing it. But fret not, all you have to do is to simply adhere to the following steps, and you’ll easily be living a healthier lifestyle in no time at all!
1. Take stock of your life
In order to get started, you first need to take stock of your current lifestyle in order to figure out what needs to be done.
How are you doing health-wise? Schedule a comprehensive health check-up to find out. In fact, no matter how you are doing health-wise at the moment, you really should schedule regular appointments with your doctor for routine check-ups.
Look also at your current activity level, both in terms of physical activity and social activity. Are you getting enough physical activity? Do you have a healthy social life? It always helps to have a supportive social circle, regardless of how you are currently doing in life.
2. Get any significant issues under control
If you have any chronic health problems, it is crucial that you have some sort of plan to get things under control. Ensure that you are receiving appropriate medical attention and treatment, and lose any habits you may have that could aggravate your condition. For instance, if you have chronic respiratory problems, you should avoid smoking.
Managing your stress levels well is also crucial. Develop some healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise or meditation, in order to keep your baseline stress level in check.
Regardless of the nature of the issues you are facing (be it physical, psychological or otherwise), it is advisable that you have a stable support system in place. The support of a medical professional and/or your loved ones could go a long way.
3. Increase your daily activity level
It is advisable to get at least one half hour of exercise at least three days a week. Getting regular exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. This is because it not only helps you to maintain a healthy body weight, build strong bones, and fight osteoporosis, but it can also help to prevent depression.
So mix things up, and make exercise fun for yourself. If you do not like jogging or swimming, go for a cycle around the neighborhood or at the beach. Pick up a new sport with a friend. Alternatively, you could work exercise into your daily routine. For example, opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you do this for an entire year, you could burn twice the number of calories you would have burnt by riding the elevator.
4. Regulate your diet
This is the part that a lot of people dread. But having a healthy diet really isn’t as bad as you might think it is. Don’t think of it as something you ‘should’ do. Rather, think of it as something you ‘choose’ to do. Your mindset can make a huge difference.
As most of you already know, you should aim to have 5 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Try to have a range of fruit and vegetables in order to get a good mix of micronutrients and vitamins. A good way to do this is to have a variety of colors (e.g. carrots and peas for orange and greens).
Also, try to avoid overeating. If you find that you have a huge appetite, try slowing down the speed at which you eat your meals. In addition, don’t work or watch TV whilst you are eating. These prevent you from fully enjoying your food, which makes you less psychologically satisfied with your meal. If you absolutely have to snack in between meals, go for a healthy snack such as a piece of fruit or a salad. Remember that the type of calories you consume is just as important as the number of calories you consume.
5. Get adequate rest every night
Getting enough sleep is as important as having a healthy diet and exercise regime. Lack of sleep can cause you to overeat and be less equipped to deal with stress. With that said, it is important that you do not ignore any chronic sleep problems you may have. See a sleep specialist if you are facing any sleep problems that you are unable to deal with alone.
The following are some tips for dealing with sleep problems. Avoid watching the telly or using the computer two hours before bedtime. This is because the light emitted from the screens tricks your brain into thinking that it is time to be up and about. Also, avoid doing heavy exercise close to bedtime. Vigorous activity causes your body’s core temperature to rise, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep. You should also try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. When your body has settled into a routine, you will be better able to fall asleep at night.
6. Avoid (excessive) alcohol/drug consumption
If you consume alcohol or any other additive substance on a regular basis, you will find yourself facing a multitude of health problems. This is especially so for the case of tobacco, regardless of whether it is consumed in the form of cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco. In fact, if you avoid (excessive) alcohol and/or drug consumption, you will be able to save yourself a ton of money.
If you absolutely have to consume alcohol, for work or other social reasons, ensure that you do not overdo it. Consult a medical expert to find out what is a reasonable amount.