Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce stress, improve self-esteem, lower blood pressure, fight disease, promote positive moods and extend your life expectancy. Deciding you will start a healthy lifestyle is easier to say than it is to do, however. You need to drop bad habits, pick up good habits and -- most importantly -- keep looking forward. If you stay committed, in just a few short months, living a healthy lifestyle will feel more natural and be easier to do.
Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy and lean meat at every meal. This change alone will balance your nutrition and begin improving your health. Loading your plate with these five food groups doesn't leave room for sugary treats or other unhealthy junk. When possible, eat home-cooked meals instead of pre-made foods.
Drink more water. Staying hydrated can reduce hunger, increase your energy levels, improve your mood and yield a myriad of other benefits. The general recommendation is eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, though ideally women should aim for nine while men should aim for 13. Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go and refill it whenever it is empty. Replacing other drinks with water makes staying hydrated easier.
Exercise frequently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a minimum of two-and-a-half hours of exercise weekly. A 30-minute exercise session five days a week will ensure you reach this goal. Hiking, jogging, swimming, cycling and other similar physical activities count as exercise. If you think you don't have time to exercise, look for opportunities to do some while you are doing something else. You can do squats while you brush your teeth, a full exercise routine while you watch the news or calf raises while you do the dishes. Go for a jog on your lunch break.
Examine your life for bad habits you need to break. These may include tobacco use or excess alcohol consumption, for example. Decide how you want to tackle these habits and take action. Seek professional help if you do not think you can stop the habits on your own.
Eliminate stress in your life wherever possible. Keep a positive outlook on life, sleep at least seven hours a night, take time for yourself, seek support from your friends and, if necessary, go to counseling for anger or depression management.
Schedule a checkup with your health-care professional at least once per year. Your doctor can check your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and more to ensure that your new lifestyle is having a positive impact on your body.
Take a comprehensive multivitamin that targets your gender and age. This will ensure that, even if your regular diet lacks a specific nutrient, you are providing your body with everything it needs to thrive.
- If you find yourself slipping into old, unhealthy habits, pick yourself up and get back on the path to living a healthy lifestyle right away. Every day is an opportunity for a fresh start and it's never too late to live healthier.