Trying to live a healthy lifestyle seems like it would be a constant struggle. And sure, it’s going to require some effort. But trying to live healthy shouldn’t be something to fear.
If you break it down, there are a few things you can do to set yourself on that hallowed healthful path. At its most simple, these things boil down to two things: exercise and food.
I’ve compiled a collection of the 10 most useful health tips; let’s get into the specifics.
I’m sure you’ve all been told before not to stay up too late, because it’s important to get a good night’s sleep (probably by your mom). We’ve all heard something along the lines of that.
And it turns out, Mom’s do know everything.
The importance of sleep is something that never goes away. Getting enough sleep is one of the best ways to improve your physical and mental health.
Sleep deficiency, besides making you feel crappy, can increase your risk for developing chronic illnesses, depression, and suicide.
Sleep makes sure your brain is working right, like a nightly oil change, which improves your capacity for learning during the day.
Sleep also heals blood vessels, maintains a healthy hormonal balance, and allows for healthy development.
Lack of sleep increases your risk of obesity and diabetes, while weakening your immune system.
In tandem with that, you should avoid using your technology right before bed. The blue light from your phone, laptop, or tv may block production of melatonin, the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle.
Further, whatever you may be looking at or watching keeps your mind engaged when it should be starting to calm down in preparation for sleep.
This could result in insomnia, or could simply lessen the quality of your sleep, putting you at risk for a whole slew of health issues.
#2 Go Nuts
Nuts sometimes get a bad rap, mainly because of their fat content.
Decades of the low-fat fad diets have made people scared of fat. But nuts are also loaded with nutrients, protein, vitamins, and unsaturated (healthy) fat.
Nuts are a great combatant of heart disease and obesity, as they increase your levels of good (HDL) cholesterol, lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
They also fill you up very quickly, and so make for a good snack to have in addition to a meal. This keeps you eating less, reducing your chances of gaining weight.
Nuts are also really easy to eat; you can toss some in salads, in yogurt, or just eat them out of a bowl.
Nut butters are also really easy to make; oven roast some lightly salted almonds, peanuts, cashews, etc. and toss them in a food processor. Give it a few minutes on high speed and you’ll have homemade peanut, almond, or cashew butter, without added preservatives or oils.
These nut butters make for a great snack, spread on toast, bagels, spooned in yogurt, or spread on apple slices.
They’re good for your body and your taste buds.
#3 Water, Water, and More Water
Water is perhaps the most vital substance we have. Our bodies are made up mostly of water.
Water is needed to flush out waste, carry nutrients throughout your body, and keep up general bodily functions.
Further, a lack of water (dehydration) can result in dry lips and tongue, general fatigue, and dark yellow urine that might burn slightly.
The amount of water you need will depend on a few key factors.
Are you engaging in physical activity?
If you are, is this happening outside, on an incredibly hot day?
Are you a person that happens to sweat a lot?
Answering yes to any of those questions calls for more water. But in general, humans need 2-3 liters of water per day.
If you have trouble drinking enough water to stay hydrated, you can even try hydration therapy. For example, Drip Hydration IV therapy in Louisville can help. Treatments last 30-45 minutes, and deliver hydrating fluids and electrolytes directly to the bloodstream. Vitamins and nutrients can also be added to help support whole body wellness.
Water can also aid weight loss. New research shows that drinking a glass or two of water a half hour before a meal results in increased weight loss, as it boosts your metabolism and suppresses your appetite.
#4 Fruits & Veggies
This one may seem a little more obvious than some of the others that made this list.
Fruits and veggies have always been the pinnacle of healthy eating. Both are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they fill you up, they (generally) taste pretty good, they have no cholesterol, and they’re low in calories and fat.
The best way to eat your veggies is raw, as when cooked, they hold less nutritional value.
Regardless, fruits and vegetables are known to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, all while keeping your body loaded with the sort of raw vitamins you need to function best.
Here’s another obvious one, but it begs mentioning nonetheless. This can be broken into two categories: cardio and weight lifting.
Cardio is great for a lot of things; improving heart health, helping you fall asleep easier, increasing the quality of your sleep, and boosting your mood throughout the day through a release of endorphins in your brain.
Stretch, warm up, run, swim, or bike, cool down, stretch, and do it again. Cardio is fantastic.
Lifting weights, as long as you do it properly and carefully, also has tons of benefits; it builds muscle which reduces fat, it helps your bone health, reducing your risk of osteoporosis, it improves your mental state, and improves your heart health.
There’s really no such thing as excessive exercise (as long as you stay hydrated, stay limber, and don’t lift weights that are too heavy for you).
#6 Smoking, Vaping, Drinking, and Drugs (Don’t Do It)
It has been known for years now that smoking will kill you.
Smoking cigarettes heavily increases your odds of getting lung cancer, which can metastasize into other forms of cancer.
The chemicals you inhale with every puff are incredibly debilitating; carbon monoxide replaces oxygen and weakens bodily functions, and tar coats the lungs making breathing difficult.
Vaping has recently come into popularity, as a ‘safe’ smoking option, advertised with fun flavors such as mango and cinnamon.
In reality, E-Cigs and Juuls were designed to help smokers break their habit.
Are they safer? Maybe.
Are they safe? Not at all.
The nicotine levels in a vape may be even higher than in a cigarette, resulting in addiction and a shift in brain chemistry.
Further, vapes are unregulated; the FDA doesn’t really know what it is that is being inhaled. What we do know is that you are inhaling chemicals and micro-particles of plastic with every puff.
Vaping might not seem as bad as smoking, but reality tells a different story.
Alcohol is also severely damaging, more so the more you consume. Besides the known side-effects of lack of coordination and impaired judgement, alcohol consumption damages your organs.
If you don’t get injured in a freak alcohol-related accident, your odds of cancer and liver damage go up if you drink alcohol.
So, if you’re going to drink, drink in moderation.
Drug use, depending on the type, quality, and amount, have varyingly negative effects on your body, including cancer, organ damage, psychosis, insomnia, infection, baldness, mood swings, and accidental overdose.
There are less severe drugs (marijuana) that are highly vilified, despite their health benefits.
But, unless directed by a doctor, its best to stay away from drugs in general.
#7 No More Sugar
Interestingly enough, the long-term effects of sugar consumption are similar to those of alcohol consumption.
Sugar damages organs, morphs production of insulin, increases cholesterol, damages the liver, increases blood pressure, and increases inflammation.
These can all lead to heart disease, cancer, worsened arthritic symptoms, obesity, and diabetes.
Does this mean you shouldn’t have any sugar at all? No, that’s physically impossible.
You should just do your best to reduce your consumption of processed sugar; try to cut out soda and store-bought juice, sweets and other ’junk’ food.
Naturally occurring sweeteners like honey and maple syrup are fine in moderation.
I know, I know, ice cream is delicious. But if this health thing was easy, everyone would do it.
#8 No More Diets
Fad diets have experienced random spikes in popularity over the decades. Social media has made them more popular than ever before.
They are definitely attractive; fast, easy weight loss. The problem is that rapid weight loss is almost always incredibly unhealthy, as you lose muscle content and nutrients as well as fat.
In addition, weight lost on a fad diet generally comes right back on the moment you stop the diet.
All the products, pills, shakes, and teas that are popping up across social media don’t actually work.
The best option is to live a healthy lifestyle; the slow, patient road is going to grant you much more long-term success than these fad diets.
#9 Take Care of Your Relationships
This might seem like one of the more obscure tips. This fits more into the realm of mental health.
The biggest thing to know about health is that the mind and body are connected. Healthy relationships means a healthy mind, which translates to your physical health.
Strong relationships are known to reduce stress.
Further, studies have determined that people with healthy relationships simply live longer.
Friends, significant others, and family are all there to help you out, in keeping you company, fighting depression, and keeping you committed to a healthier lifestyle.
Yoga consists of two things; meditation and relaxation, through stretching and deep breathing.
Scientific studies have proven the benefits of yoga; it reduces stress, anxiety, inflammation, and chronic pain, while also improving heart health, quality of life, general mood, and sleep quality.
The practice of yoga also helps fight depression, improve cardio health, and may reduce symptoms of cancer and migraines.
Yoga can also play a huge role in the life of an athlete, as the repeated practice of mind-to-body connection, combined with constant stretching, reduces the risk of injury and betters performance.
Yoga may seem like a hippy’s hobby, but it’s not. The benefits are almost unbelievable, and definitely attainable.
This list isn’t all inclusive. There are hundreds of things you can do to live healthy. The more you look, the more you’ll find.
But these ten tips are a good place to start, as they show that everything is connected.
Mental health connects to physical health, and vice versa. Keeping your mind healthy is part of keeping your body healthy, and eating right, exercising, and sleeping benefit both the mind and body.
Take it slow, be patient, and stay focused.
The first step was reading this article. What you do with this information, well, that part’s on you.
I’m a personal trainer based in Denver (Matrix Gym) and a true fitness nerd. If I’m not training clients or working out at my home gym, I’m probably skiing, cycling or hiking with my dog Rufus.
Get in touch: email@example.com