With today’s rushed and busy lifestyle, you often forget to devote enough time to things that are important. You are always rushing from one place to another, always checking your phone for something new – and in the process, neglecting things that matter.
One most commonly neglected aspect of your life is your health. A sound mind and body are the basis of your entire functioning but somehow, one of the most important things in life is what you most commonly ignore.
Oh yes, there are all the excuses in the world. It’s too late now, you are too old, too busy, you don’t have access to facilities, it’s too much work etc. And for some part, you might have genuine reason.
See, all those health books and experts have probably led you to believe that taking care of your body and being healthy is an arduous task that involves spending hours at the gym and eating only boiled vegetables. But that is not true.
You can opt for a healthier lifestyle by just making small changes in your daily routine. You don’t have to go full on vegan; you can still eat your meat. The process of being healthy is not something that will turn your lifestyle upside down; it is small changes that can make a significant difference in your life.
How to do that? Well, read on to find out.
- Be Active and Exercise
A lot of your problems can be solved if you just get up and exercise. You have probably heard this a million times but that’s only because it’s true.
Exercise improves your physical health by making the body more active and flexible. It improves blood circulation, reduces risk of heart diseases and ensures you have a better life in your old age.
You don’t have to spend hours at the gym. Start with a 30 minute brisk walk or jogging thrice a week. Eventually, increase it to 5 days a week. That’s all the time you have to devote – 30 minutes for 5 days a week.
- Take Time to Meditate
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t just mean a physically fit body; it also means a sound mind. Your everyday lifestyle means your brain is constantly working.
This constant buzzing of your brain makes you inefficient – both physically and mentally. You need to spend some time in silence and meditate.
Meditation helps calm down your mind from the over worked state throughout the day. It enables you to think clearly and help manage your emotions such as anger or sadness.
Take 15 minutes from your daily routine and spend it in silence without any distractions or noise. Do it every day. You can eventually increase the time to 25 – 30 minutes if you want.
- Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleeping allows your mind to recalibrate and make space for new things that you will learn the following day. It also enables your body to rest completely and get rid of any fatigue or tiredness of the previous day.
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential for your mental and physical well being. It improves brain functions, enhances learning power, repairs blood vessels and helps boost the immune system.
On an average, you should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night. Teenagers and highly active adults should get 10 hours of sleep. It is also a good idea to catch a half an hour siesta in the afternoon that provides you with a jolt of energy.
- Limit your Intake of Alcohol
When it comes to alcohol, moderation is the key. Drinking alcohol in moderate amounts can be beneficial for your heart, although not completely risk free.
Drinking large quantities of alcohol can harm the liver and cause liver related problems like cancer or cirrhosis.
But you don’t have to cut out alcohol completely. In fact, a glass of wine with dinner is actually touted to be good for your health.
World Cancer Research Fund advises 2 units a day for men and 1 unit a day for women. This is because women are more prone to liver disease than men.
- Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Eating a healthier diet is as easy as munching on a few delicious fruits and vegetables or by sneaking them in your diet.
Fruits and vegetables contain loads of vitamins and minerals that are required by your body to become strong and function efficiently.
These foods can be added in your breakfast smoothies, yogurts, desserts or just eaten raw. It is recommended that you eat ½ a cup of fruits (like blueberries, grapes, cherries, mangoes etc.) at least twice a day.
Also, have large salads with or before your meals. These will not only help you fill up faster, thereby preventing you from eating fatty foods, they will also provide you with much needed nutrients.
- Quit Smoking
Lung cancer is the leading cause in case of cancer related deaths, and about 80% – 90% of lung cancer is caused directly by smoking.
This is a hard and difficult thing to do, we know. But there are different ways and methods to help you quit smoking. You can opt for e – cigarettes which are not completely harmless but still better than the real thing, chew nicotine gum, get nicotine patches and talk to support groups.
Smoking cuts down your life span by an average of 10 – 15 years. That is a lot of years you’d rather like to spend enjoying life than being dead.
Don’t suddenly leave smoking and go cold turkey. That is not going to work. You need to work out a plan of action and start slowly, reducing and eventually eliminating smoking.
- Laugh Out Loud
Keeping yourself healthy can be as easy as laughing at your friend’s joke. Laughter has shown to be beneficial to health as it releases endorphin which is a natural pain killer.
Laughter has been proven as a way to combat stress by reducing the levels of stress hormones, some of which could also harm your immune system. Laughing also boosts your immune system as it promotes the production of antibody cells that help tackle infection.
A deep, hearty laugh is a great way to burn calories as it is a natural exercise for various muscle groups. It also increases blood circulation to various parts of the body and lowers blood pressure.
In short, laughing at your friend’s silly puns and jokes might have 2 benefits – it develops deeper friendships and keeps you healthy.
- Include More Fiber in your Diet
Typically, you should be eating about 25 – 30 grams of fiber a day. Fiber is an important nutrient for your body. It helps in digestion of food, lowers cholesterol levels, improves blood sugar levels and even aids in weight loss.
But the modern American diet does not include nearly enough fiber. When your body does not get enough fiber, it leads to several complications. Your digestive tract can become constipated and lead to an unhealthy gut.
It is easy to include more fiber in your diet. Apples, beans, carrots, lentils, whole grain products – all of these food items contain relatively sufficient amounts of fiber and can be easily sneaked into your regular meals.
- Spend More Time Outside
Going out and spending time with nature can be greatly beneficial for your health. With all these gadgets and smart-phones around you, you probably spend a lot of time looking at screens.
Being under artificial light all the time can be very bad for your health. Spending long hours looking at screens can cause headaches, moodiness, dry eyes and brain fog. It is also bad for your physical health as you are not active during long stretches of time.
Spending time outside in the sun, breathing in fresh air and looking at greenery can be extremely refreshing for you. It can relieve brain fog, provide rest to your eyes and help you remain active by jogging or running.
- Keep yourself Hydrated
This point just cannot be stressed enough. Drinking sufficient amounts of water is necessary for your body to function properly. Water is the most important substance for your body.
Water balances the liquids in your body, aids in digestion, enables efficient working of kidneys, moisturizes your skin and improves brain functions.
Drink at least 8 – 10 glasses of water every day. You can add fruits to your water to make it flavored. This will give you added benefits of hydration as well minerals and vitamins from fruits.