5 Good Habits That Can Help You Stay Healthy
You can give many meaningful gifts to yourself – and committing to healthy lifestyle choices is one of them. These choices have several long-term benefits, including reduced risk of acute and chronic medical conditions, a youthful appearance, reduced medical expenses, and improved longevity. If you want to serve as a role model for your friends, family, and colleagues, start caring for your health. Here's a handy list of five habits that can help you stay healthy.
1. Get sufficient sleep
Our well-being is dependent on our sleep. When we sleep, our brain gets rid of the day's stress, restoring and resetting nerve networks to ensure they function well when you're awake.
We're all aware of the negative consequences of getting little to no sleep – forgetfulness, lack of focus, fatigue, drowsiness, etc. However, the adverse effects don't end here. In fact, they'll be affecting your brain function and physical activity in the long run. If you don't sleep well consistently, your brain may slowly destroy itself.
In a study, some Italian researchers experimented with mice. Some were subjected to extreme sleep deprivation, while others were allowed to sleep as much as per their routine. During the experiment, the researchers observed glial cells' activity (the caretakers of the brain). The glial cells keep the brain functioning normally by getting rid of brain junk (brain cell connectors that aren't needed). The findings suggested that the glial cells were pretty active within mice that weren't allowed to sleep. In humans, this destructive, hyper-sweeping activity may result in brain disorders like Alzheimer's disease.
However, you can avert this potential threat by developing a habit of getting at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you find it difficult to doze off because of pain, anxiety, or other health conditions such as cancer and hepatitis C, consult the doctor immediately. A healthcare professional will prescribe medication to manage pain and insomnia or suggest a plan to address a poor sleep pattern.
2. Stay hydrated
Since every organ, tissue, and cell in your body needs water, drinking the right amount of it is very important. Previously, experts used to recommend drinking at least eight glasses of water regularly. However, this advice didn't substantiate medically to date. So, how much water should you actually drink? Well, enough to urinate once every 2 to 4 hours. Plus, your urine shouldn't be dark in color.
Developing and keeping this habit is easy in today's world. Choose from a ton of different apps to remind you when to drink or use smart bottles – they'll help you remain hydrated.
3. Eat healthy throughout the day
Eliminate snacks and sugary drinks from your diet and replace them with nuts and fresh fruit juices and smoothies. The American Heart Association recommends people eat at least a serving of fish a couple of times per week. Fatty fish (albacore tuna, sardines, herring, lake trout, salmon, and mackerel) aren't just a great source of protein. They also consist of omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce the risk of heart disease and significantly increase steroid hormone production.
Read about portion control too. If you want to live longer, eat larger portions of fruits and vegetables, especially those rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Also, eat smaller portions of foods containing high amounts of calories and contain considerable amounts of fats and low-quality carbs.
Here's another pro-tip. Don't just swallow your food; chew it. According to many nutritionists, you need to chew every mouthful at least 20 to 30 times. Otherwise, digesting it would be tough. Some studies suggest that chewing slowly can reduce calorie intake by approximately 10%. Why? Because your stomach takes around 20 minutes to tell your brain that it's full, and the chewing process ensures you stuff less in your mouth.
4. Never skip breakfast
According to research, people who eat breakfast take in less fat, less cholesterol, and more vitamins and minerals. By eating foods rich in proteins and fiber, you'll feel full, and your energy levels will also increase. Some examples of healthy items to include in your morning meal include yogurt, fruit, low-fat milk, and whole-grain slices of bread and cereals.
Eating a healthy and nutritious breakfast also keeps you full throughout the rest of the day. You can pack some healthy snacks for lunch and ditch greasy takeout. The improved energy levels will also enable you to carry out your day's tasks more efficiently, leading to better productivity at whatever it is that you do.
5. Exercise 3 to 5 times a week
Finding a fountain of youth to halt the body's natural aging process is impossible. But regular exercise can get make a considerable difference in keeping you physically fit and looking young. If you start exercising regularly, you'll reduce the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. You'll also have healthy joints, muscles, and bones and proper weight. In fact, 676,000 people die every year because of little or no physical activity. That's a shocking number, isn't it?
While many options are available, most experts recommend 30 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week. The exercise we're referring to here doesn't have to be an iron-man type, gut-wrenching experience. Even a simple 30-minute walk can add years to your life and do wonders for your health. You can also supplement a regular walk by having a small pedaling device at your desk, a 15-minute walk after lunch, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. The idea is to do an activity you enjoy; it shouldn't feel like an ordeal. But of course, if you fancy lifting weights at the gym, then why not!
Making healthy life choices have several long-term benefits. The five tips mentioned above can be a great start towards leading a healthy life. Sleep well, eat healthy, stay hydrated, never skip breakfast, and incorporate some form of physical activity into your routine. Stick to these, and you'll start seeing improvements in your health, wealth, and life in no time!
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