Being healthy. It’s something that we all aspire to, right? We all want to lead a healthy lifestyle. We all aspire to be that person who spends most of the week in the gym, and eats fruits and vegetables all the time. In fact, resolutions related to losing weight, getting in shape and eating more healthily are some of the most common that people make on New Year’s Day every single year. We want to be the best version of ourselves, after all.
Here’s the thing. These resolutions are the most popular, but they’re also the most frequently broken. People get bogged down with the idea that in order to be healthy, they need to run on a treadmill for 4 hours a day, or they can only eat salad from now until the day that they die. Leading a healthier lifestyle is an admirable goal to have, but it’s often not easy to attain because people don’t know how to do it in a way that’s sustainable for them, so they just fall into old habits.
If you’re looking to lead a healthy lifestyle though, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to guide you to lead your best life in a way that’s sustainable for you. Are you ready for a healthier lifestyle? Read on!
What Is A Healthy Lifestyle?
According to the World Health Organization, a healthy lifestyle eis ‘a way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early.’ This is the most basic answer, but there’s more to it than that.
A healthy lifestyle is about more than just eating an apple once a week and taking a walk, calling it a day. A healthy lifestyle is one in which you feel balanced both in your physical and mental wellbeing. There are a lot of things that can go into creating a healthy lifestyle, too. It involves eating more healthily with balance in your diet, exercising on a regular basis, and staying away from substances that can harm your health. Likewise, it’s about things like getting enough sleep and practicing self care.
A healthy lifestyle can mean something different for any given person. Perhaps for your friend Sarah down the street, a healthy lifestyle is going for a jog every other day of the week for around an hour. She may choose to limit the amount of times that she eats fast food, and she may spend some time each day with a face mask in a warm bath. For Paul the plumber, maybe it’s heading to the gym every day for a great sweat session then coming home and spending time with family over a delicious meal. It’s all about what works best for you and how you want to lead your life. It’s not a matter of sacrificing everything that you love in order to be healthy and prolong your life.
Ultimately, it’s a lifestyle in which you are looking out for your wellbeing – and we mean your entire wellbeing, not just one particular aspect of it. As such, you can feel happier and healthier in the long run.
Healthy Lifestyle & Healthy Body: An Association
So now that you know what a healthy lifestyle is, you may be wondering what exactly is the point. After all, perhaps you may enjoy your life a lot more sitting in front of the TV, not moving and eating takeaways. There’s nothing wrong with relaxing in your own way, but cultivating healthy habits and lifestyle choices comes with a wide variety of benefits. Here are just a few of them.
Improves mental health
You may be surprised to hear this, but having a healthy lifestyle can truly work wonders on your mental health. Healthy body, healthy mind!
This can come down to a number of different reasons. For instance, let’s talk about exercise. Getting plenty of exercise is a big part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and in a biological sense, it can do wonders for your mental health. When you are exercising, your body creates and lets out chemicals known as endorphins. You can pretty much call these happy hormones, since they can make you happy. It’s one of the main reasons why you may feel so accomplished and positive after a successful running session. Exercise is also known to make you feel less stressed, to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety, make you feel more confident and can make your sleep better. All of these things contribute to positive wellbeing.
Things like self care and your diet can also go a long way in helping you to improve your mental health, too. You feel good when you eat healthy things like fruit and vegetables – plus, if you experiment with cooking healthy meals it can make you feel accomplished. Self care can help you to give back a little to yourself and unwind, which is always good for wellbeing.
Having a healthy lifestyle can also cost less money. Did you know that the average American spent $9,596 on healthcare back in 2012? By leading a healthier lifestyle, you minimize the chances that you are going to need to pay for healthcare since you reduce your chances of getting serious medical issues.
It’s not just that, either. Eating healthy can sometimes cost a lot of money when you start out, especially when you’re still experimenting. Eating junk food, on the other hand, can cost a lot more. By eating less junk food and eating more things that are organic, you are likely to save more money in the long run.
Less health issues
When you are following a healthy lifestyle, you are significantly less likely to get health problems and diseases. For instance, there’s a study that shows that adults that have more fruit and vegetables in their diet are much less likely to get cardiovascular disease.
In addition to this, it is a well known fact that exercising more and eating healthier can add years to your life. Even just a little bit of exercise can have a pretty big impact on your health and wellbeing. Ultimately if you want to improve your health in general, getting into a healthier lifestyle is the way to do it.
Your Journey To Living A Healthier Lifestyle!
So now you know the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. It’s time to get into the good stuff – the how of your new upcoming lifestyle. So, how do you lead a healthier lifestyle? Well, here are some of the key things that you need to do and keep in mind.
Get enough sleep
You probably thought that we were going to start out with exercise and diet, huh? Well, we’re going to go into those later on because they are important, but your sleep is important too. In fact, your sleep is one of the most fundamental parts of your overall well being, since it can have a big impact on other aspects of your life.
Exercise is important for your healthy lifestyle. Okay, but what if you don’t have the energy to exercise? What if you’re feeling lethargic and run down? The answer is obvious – you are less likely to do it.
Not only that, but your sleep can actually have an impact on your appetite. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body creates something called ghrelin. This is a kind of hormone in the body that links directly to your appetite. Increased levels of ghrelin make you feel hungrier. You will also get decreased amounts of leptin in your body. Both of these things combined ultimately mean that you are more likely to overeat, and the things that you overeat aren’t likely to be healthy in nature.
In summary, getting enough sleep is vital if you want to create a healthy lifestyle, because it will help to keep your hormones in check and it will give you the energy to efficiently tackle the day!
Getting enough sleep is easy to preach, but not easy in practice. So, how do you get more sleep? Here are some things that you should do.
- Have a schedule – by having a sleep schedule, you train your body to sleep at set hours of the day. Your body will automatically start to get tired around that time, making you more likely to drift off to sleep. Sometimes it may be difficult to sleep automatically when you get into bed, in which case you should leave your bed, do something to relax yourself for around 20 minutes and then come back. You should hopefully be more tired by that point.
- Make the right environment – you need to be sleeping in a location that’s designed for sleep. Find a place that’s dark, not very noisy and has a cool temperature. . Try to stay away from any bright lights in the room.
- Eat the right things – it’s not a good idea to fall asleep when you are hungry or you are feeling full. Don’t have a heavy meal right next to bedtime, and avoid things containing alcohol, nicotine and caffeine in the couple of hours before you plan to sleep, since they can keep you awake.
- Exercise in the day – exercise can make you more tired, meaning it’s perfect for sleep. More on that later!
Eat a variety of food
You can also create a healthy lifestyle for yourself by making sure that you have a balanced diet. Contrary to popular belief, having a healthy lifestyle does not involve extreme restriction. You don’t have to completely cut out carbohydrates, deprive yourself of potatoes or never eat takeaway again. Instead, it’s all about creating a balance of foods that are good for you. It’s also okay to splurge on some of your favorite comfort food every once in a while, so long as there’s balance.
Base your diet on on plenty of foods, high in carbohydrates
When you’re building your plate, there are three primary things that you need to consider. These are the macronutrients in your diet.
Your macronutrients include the following:
These are the key nutrients that you need in order to function properly. They all have their own roles in your body and metabolism so it’s important to have a balance of the three. In most cases, it’s a good idea to have a particular emphasis on carbohydrates since they can give you short energy boosts. If you are looking to build muscle though, getting more protein into your diet is generally best. You can find all of your macronutrients in foods that you may eat anyway. For instance, protein can be found in things like legumes or in lean meat, fats in red meats and carbohydrates in things like potatoes.
Enjoy lots of fruits and vegetables
Let’s face it. We all turn our noses up every now and again when people tell us that we need to get plenty of fruits and vegetables into our diets. Fruit and veg isn’t always the most exciting thing. Nevertheless, fruit and vegetables are vital for your wellbeing. They contain lots of important micronutrients that your body needs such as vitamins and minerals. Some of them are also antioxidants, which have a lot of powerful properties.
Now, if you don’t like the taste of fruit and vegetables, you’re not alone – a lot of people don’t! They don’t have to be boring or eaten on their own, though. There are a lot of ways that you can incorporate fruit and vegetables into your meals and sometimes you may not even notice that they’re there. For instance, you could make a stew or a soup. You could bake some strawberries into an oat breakfast bake in the morning, or you can make spaghetti out of peeled zucchini. The possibilities are endless, and you are sure to find something that will help you to get your five a day into your diet with just a little bit of experimentation.
Reduce sugar and salt intake
You should also try to reduce the amount of salt and sugar in your diet. Salt and sugar should only really be in your diet in small doses, since they aren’t good for you in large amounts. Having too much salt and sugar in your diet is bad for your teeth, can put you at higher risk of health complications like stroke and can even cause insulin resistance.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t have any salt and sugar, of course. You just need to have it in moderation. That means maybe limiting yourself to one takeaway or fast food meal per week. That way you aren’t totally restricting yourself, and you can have something to reward yourself with at the end of the week.
Another thing that you can do is cook some healthy alternatives to your favorites at home. Make your own KFC chicken but without all of the salt and sugar. There are all sorts of ‘fakeaway’ recipes online that you can look into if you’re feeling particularly creative.
Eat regular & controlled portion sizes
Eating in moderation is key when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle. When you’re cooking, make sure that you are eating controlled portion sizes. When you just heap food onto your plate, you are more prone to overeating, which may not make you feel very good!
So, how do you control your portion sizes? There are a number of things that you can do. For instance, you can use smaller plates. You’ll be less likely to put a tonne of pasta on your plate that way because the smaller plate will make you automatically put less food on your plate since any more won’t fit. You can also use your hands and fists as a size guide. For instance, if you are male, you will need two palm sized portions of foods high in protein.
When you’re eating out, you can also ask the waiter if you can have a half portion. This can be helpful as restaurants are known for giving significantly larger portions than you necessarily need. If you need any help, it’s worth checking the label on the back of the food container too since that will give you an indication of the serving sizes.
Replace saturated fats, with unsaturated
It’s really important that you get fats into your diet – they’re one of your macronutrients. They can get a bad rep, but things like avocados and lean meats are sources of fat that are good for you. What isn’t so good for you is saturated fats.
This is why you should be trying to replace the saturated fats in your diet with unsaturated fats. For instance, swap out that Big Mac for some avocado on toast.
Changing the cooking process that you use can also help you to limit the amount of saturated fats that you put in the food too. For instance, try to steam or bake your food instead of frying. This will help you to reduce the number of oils that you have. Alternatively, using an air fryer is a particularly good idea because it has fewer calories.
Prepare your meals
Sometimes eating healthy can be quite the challenge, especially when you are surrounded by temptations such as takeaways everywhere you go. For that reason, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit of time throughout the week on preparing your meals in advance. Preparing your meals when you have a little bit of spare time can be useful in a number of ways. For starters, it will mean that you are far more likely to make healthy choices. You aren’t as likely to get lazy and buy fast food because you don’t want to go to the effort of cooking.
It can also help you if you get an air fryer, since you will find meal prep far easier if you do this. The best thing to do is to batch cook large meals, put them in a container and then freeze them until you need them. You can then take them out when you’re ready and serve them. They work well as quick meals for lunch too!
Drink Lots of Water
Never underestimate the importance of H2O! It may seem like a fairly minor thing, but drinking enough water is vital for your wellbeing. There are a number of reasons for this.
For starters, if you are trying to manage your weight, then you are in luck. Drinking plenty of water has benefits in this respect. By drinking more water you are more likely to feel full. It’s one of the reasons why people often recommend that you drink a whole glass of water before you eat a meal, since you are less likely to need to eat more food afterwards as you will feel satiated. Our brains often can’t tell the difference between thirst and hunger, after all.
When you drink enough water you are also more likely to perform better when you exercise. Being dehydrated isn’t good for your body, and it can make you pretty sluggish. This can lead to poor athletic performance.
It’s good for your body in regards to your bowel movements and your bladder. Water helps to keep your urinary system moving, allowing you to get rid of anything that shouldn’t be in your bladder much more easily. It can reduce your risks of certain conditions like urinary tract infections and kidney stones. It can also help you to prevent constipation. Water keeps your blood pumping too.
Ultimately, there are a lot of different reasons why you should drink water, and many people simply aren’t drinking enough of it every day. This can lead to all sorts of health problems.
So how much water do you actually need for your health? Ideally, you should be getting roughly 15.5 cups of water a day if you’re male, and 11.5 cups of water a day if you’re female. Your fluid intake will probably need to be adjusted depending on your lifestyle too. For instance, if you exercise a lot and find yourself sweating more than the average joe, it’s probably a good idea to get more water in you. Likewise, certain health conditions may mean that you need more fluids. Pregnant women, for instance, tend to require more fluids in order to stay hydrated, as do women who are breastfeeding.
If you are struggling to get enough fluids through drinking, you may also find it helpful to get more fluids through other means, such as through eating foods rich in water like fruits and vegetables.
Get Plenty of Exercise
You knew this one would be here! Yes – exercise is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. It’s good for your mental and physical wellbeing – you are likely to feel a lot better after a good workout that’s been done right.
There are numerous different benefits of exercise. For starters, it can reduce your chances of getting a lot of illnesses like heart problems, diabetes and more. As we have already established, it can also make you feel a lot better mentally thanks to those endorphins that you get when you exercise. Exercise even tends to make you feel more strong and confident, which can go a long way. Ultimately, spending less time sitting down is important, regardless of who you are, your age or your gender.
How much exercise do you need, then? Well, ideally you should be trying to get a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day. You can also cut down on the time by doing some vigorous activity, though this may be more challenging at first when your body isn’t used to intense exercise.
Exercise can often be a difficult thing to get into. We’ve been trained into thinking that exercise automatically equals a trip to the gym, but that’s not necessarily true. You don’t have to spend hours on an exercise bike to get some movement into your day. It can often be something simple, like just taking a 30 minute walk a day. You can go hiking with your family if you live near some hills, or you can do something a little more outside the box. See if there are any exercise classes in your local area that pique your interest, for instance. You may also find some classes that you can do online from the comfort of your own home. YouTube has plenty of classes, and there are some that you can attend live on Zoom.
In addition to cardiovascular activity, you should also try to get some resistance training into your week, too. This involves things like weight lifting or yoga. It helps you to build muscle which is also important for your wellbeing. Just beware – the day after a resistance training workout, your muscles may feel a little bit sore for a while. It’s worth it though since you’ll feel stronger and it will change your physique in a way that you may like.
Practice Self Care
Finally, in order to have a healthy lifestyle, you should be practicing self care. Looking after your mental wellbeing is important. We can’t always be on the go – it’s not good for us. Sometimes we just need some time to unwind. That’s where self care comes in. Self care is when you make an active effort to do things that are going to improve your health, whether it’s mentally or physically. We’ve already talked about physical activity which is one part of this equation, but this is about the mental side of it.
There are a plethora of benefits to self care. It is great for reducing your anxiety and stress, for one. This is especially true for activities like listening to some soothing music or taking a warm bath. It can help to uplift your mood, making you feel more equipped to tackle the days ahead. It helps to protect you from mental health issues too, since you are actively looking after yourself. Some people also use therapy with a licensed professional as their time for self care for exactly this purpose.
In addition to this, self care is very good for your confidence. It helps you to change the way you look at yourself and it allows you to be kinder to yourself. It allows you to handle life’s stressors more easily. It’s even good for your relationships.
So how do you practice self care? Well, we’ve highlighted some of the key ways that you are practicing self care above – getting plenty of sleep, eating well and exercising. There are a few other things that you can do, too. For instance, you can soak in the bath. Light some candles, put some bubbles in and just unwind, detached from the world for a little while. Take some time to list some things you like about yourself, or watch a film that you love.
Self care can be what you want it to be, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. It’s just a matter of doing the things that you love that will make you feel good.
Leading a healthy lifestyle can sometimes appear to be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. There are a lot of ways that you can make it easier for yourself, and you will certainly be thankful for it in the long run. Follow the advice in this article, and you’ll be living your best life in no time.