A lifestyle change doesn’t happen overnight, nor is there a single foolproof way to achieve better health. On the contrary, one needs to account for multiple factors to create meaningful lifestyle changes and promote good health. Though one has no control over them, an individual’s DNA makeup and environment play a significant role in determining one’s health. Still, making well-informed choices concerning diet, physical activity, and sleep can increase future life expectancy and decrease current health risks.
There’s no shortage of research articles and academic papers regarding factors that promote healthy lifestyle habits and, in turn, affect one’s physical and mental well-being. And some of them have more compelling evidence than the rest. Following are some lifestyle changes that are scientifically proven to maximize vitality and good health.
Exercise Regularly And Keep Moving
Regular exercise is a well-known contributor to sustained health and longer lifespans. Just dedicating 30 minutes daily to physical activity can lead to a lower risk of cardiovascular diseases, reduced heart rate, and decreased osteoporosis-related bone loss. Around 10% of total colon cancer and 9% of breast cancer cases in Europe occur due to a lack of physical activity.
Besides being the most cost-effective option to enhance one’s health, engaging in physical activity can help make considerable savings. For instance, you can incorporate movement into your routine and save on hiring help by mowing the lawn or cleaning the windows yourself. If you want to understand the health impact of lifestyle changes better, enrolling in a masters in public health online can resolve some queries.
Researchers recommend moderate-intensity activity five times a week, but what does that mean? You can choose from various activities, make sure it’s something you will enjoy doing persistently. Brisk walking, gardening, dancing, biking instead of commuting, and swimming are a few examples. Moreover, older individuals can benefit by incorporating flexibility and balance exercises in their lifestyle.
Manage Your Stress
The way you manage your daily worries and stressors affects the overall functioning of your body. In our fast-paced world, most individuals struggle to get out of the fight-or-flight state. The reason behind this condition is setting unrealistic expectations for ourselves and others. And though a typical response in emergencies, constant irritation, negativity, and complaining can indicate that one is overstressing. You’re not managing your stress well if, instead of letting go, you keep mulling over negative thoughts day in day out.
Practicing relaxation and cooling down is key to getting through our hectic everyday lives. Start by shifting the focus from external kindness to being kind to yourself first. Set breathing reminders. Sit down and evaluate what’s causing the stress and then work to solve or distance yourself from that issue. Learn to go easy on yourself and live in the present moment. By indulging in such practice, you set the foundation for a healthy and long life.
Pay Attention To Your Diet
Besides overall health, a balanced diet and a healthy gut have a close connection with our emotional well-being. Instead of focusing on the number on the scale, a positive eating approach focuses on the satisfaction, flavor, and nourishment you gain from your meals. Review how many low-calorie and nutrient-dense foods you’re consuming and steer clear from any calorie-dense but nutrient-poor foods. If you aren’t already, try eating more fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and legumes. Also, for longer-lasting satiation, include a good amount of lean proteins and healthy fats like omega-three fatty acids in your diet.
It’s innate in human nature to extract pleasure from all sensory experiences. Eating is no different. Therefore, along with the nutritional value of your food, pay attention to how much relaxation, tension, fatigue, and satisfaction your food brings you. As you eat, identify your level of hunger and fullness. This technique can help you be more mindful of your eating habits.
Watch Your Sleeping Patterns
The detriments of inadequate sleep are too severe to be taken facetiously. An adult who skips even an hour of normal sleep increases their risk of obesity by 23%. For your body’s sustained, long-term health and vitality, you must get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. And yes, you can skip your morning run once in every blue moon to catch up on your shut-eye.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, consider relaxation techniques like bedtime yoga or deep breathing. Additionally, eating snacks/foods that help ease the mind before sleep can prove beneficial—for instance, warm milk, oatmeal, and chamomile tea. Make a habit of jotting down any bothersome thoughts or daily stressors on a paper before sleeping. This practice can help you stop worrying about them while in bed. Learn to determine your sleep patterns and see if they’re disturbed or not. A smartwatch or fitness tracker may come in handy for this purpose.
Focus On Hydration
Nothing deserves more emphasis in your life than proper hydration. After all, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of water as, without it, most species on the planet won’t survive. To maintain good health, ensure that your water intake remains sufficient. Ideally, an adult should consume at least eight glasses per day, each of eight-ounce. Better hydration can improve skin health, boost energy levels, and kickstart slower metabolisms.
A lifestyle change begins with the individual’s mindset. Start by listing down your desired changes and setting goals for each of them. Keep track of your daily progress by journaling and connecting with like-minded people to keep going. However, avoid pushing your body over its limits and learn to listen when it tells you something is wrong. This article went over some helpful lifestyle changes that can guide you towards a life of longevity and vitality. These include focusing on hydration, managing stress, paying attention to eating habits, etc.