You’ve heard it repeatedly: Starting a healthier lifestyle is possible. But what does that mean? How do you start making healthy habits a part of your daily routine? There are many ways to incorporate new practices into your life — even if you’re already busy with other things. Here are nine healthy habits that can help improve your wellness in 2023 and beyond!
Exercise is one of the most important habits you can incorporate into your daily routine. It’s free, it’s easy to do, and it has so many benefits!
As a general rule of thumb, try to exercise for 30 minutes at least thrice weekly. However, if you have trouble finding time during this timeframe (or want to increase your intensity level), make it longer—as long as it’s still within the range of activity recommended by this article.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Eating various foods is essential to getting all the nutrients your body needs and maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
- Take in more natural nutrients by upping your intake of fresh produce. Vegetables and fruits are a great way to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which contribute to better health and increased vitality.
- Try to eat only a few processed meals. Instead of eating processed meats like hot dogs, which can raise your blood pressure (and your risk of cancer), choose leaner types of meat.
- Sweetened drinks like soda and fruit juices should be avoided because they contain empty calories and are unhealthy. Instead, try quenching your thirst with water spiked with lemon or lime juice; you won’t gain weight from the fruit’s natural acidity.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Eight hours of sleep per night is the magic number, or so you’ve heard. Every night, adults require seven to nine hours of sleep, as the National Sleep Foundation recommends. If you’re consistently sleeping less than six hours per night, it’s time to reevaluate your habits and routines.
You may employ several strategies to enhance the quality of your sleep, leading to more rejuvenating evenings and, who knows, maybe even an extra hour or two each day. Some suggestions that may be useful are as follows.
- Remember to turn off all lights at least one hour before bedtime (no smartphones allowed).
- Play some soothing music in the backdrop of your Netflix binge (we recommend “Stranger Things”) or your time spent reading.
- Don’t eat a big dinner within three hours of bedtime if you don’t want to spend the night thinking about food.
4. Drink Alkaline-Forming Beverages
A straightforward strategy to enhance your consumption of alkalizing substances is to drink alkaline-forming liquids like green tea and water. These beverages are beneficial because they neutralize acidity in the body and supply antioxidants. Studies have also indicated that they improve insulin sensitivity, lowering the risk of cancer and diabetes.
5. Avoid Canned Food, Processed Foods, and Sugary Drinks
Both canned and processed foods tend to be heavy in sodium and sugar. Despite their lack of nutritional value, sugary drinks pose health risks if consumed in large quantities.
The best way to avoid the unhealthy choices of canned products and frozen dinners is to make your meals from scratch or to buy fresh produce. You can reduce your intake of red meat by switching to chicken. Caffeinated beverages should be avoided, although unsweetened tea or water with a squeeze of lemon juice are acceptable substitutes.
6. Spend time in nature
One of the best ways to improve your health and mental state is by getting out into nature. Science has proven that recharging your batteries in the great outdoors is good for your mental health and your creativity.
After a long day at the office, many people who live near forests or mountains report feeling more rejuvenated upon returning home. Because their muscles will have relaxed from being outside for so long, they may even be able to sleep better. If you aren’t fortunate enough to live near an abundance of parks and other green spaces, try walking in the city; even an hour-long stroll around your area has health benefits.
7. Start Meditation or Mindfulness Training
Meditation and mindfulness training are both great ways to manage stress. However, meditation is a more traditional practice that involves sitting in silence or with a focus on your breath. Mindfulness training (mindfulness-based cognitive therapy) centers around paying attention effortlessly, without judgment or expectation. This can be done through yoga, tai chi, or walking through nature.To start meditating, find a quiet space where you can sit comfortably and undisturbed for some time. This could be a corner of your bedroom, a dedicated meditation room, or even a natural spot. Set a timer for a duration that feels manageable for you, whether just a few minutes or longer. Focus on your breath, letting your thoughts come and go without judgment or attachment.
8. Get regular check-ups
By scheduling regular checkups, you can ensure your recovery is going smoothly and catch any potential issues early on. Additionally, getting regular checkups allows your doctor to monitor your general health status, which can help prevent future health problems. Proactively staying on top of your health through regular checkups can save you from dealing with potential health issues that require treatment or monitoring later.
9. Maintain social connections
Social connection is a key to happiness and well-being, but it’s different from what you can decide to do. You need support from others to feel connected — from family and friends, colleagues at work or school, and even your pets! Social connection improves your physical and emotional health: It reduces stress levels and decreases heart rate variability (the difference between regular heartbeats). These benefits are associated with longer life spans too! The more people you have around who care about you and want the best for you, the better off your mental health will be.
We must never forget that every approach will only work for some. Everyone has a unique path to health, which can be discovered through adjusting one’s lifestyle and getting tested for various conditions. Do these routines independently, but talk to your doctor before making any significant alterations.