Image Source: Envato
It’s difficult to adopt a healthier lifestyle because most of us are set in our ways, and we’ve become accustomed to our unhealthy habits. The thought of making drastic changes is frightening because it may lead to a lifestyle we don’t find enjoyable. However, there are plenty of changes you can make that won’t seem so overwhelming, yet these changes will have significant, positive effects on your health.
Eat Healthy Foods You Like
One of the first steps to adopting a healthier lifestyle is to begin following a personalized diet and exercise program. When it comes to your diet, your goal should be to begin eating a primarily plant-based diet and to reduce your consumption of processed foods. While that seems like a daunting project, you shouldn’t feel forced to take on too much at once. Little things, like switching from white to whole wheat bread, don’t necessarily have to involve giving up the foods you love. Similarly, look for pasta made from whole grains or try zucchini pasta. Instead of ice cream, eat frozen berries. Each one of these changes will bring you a step closer to eating a healthier diet.
Physical Activity Can Be Fun
While you should be getting at least 30 minutes of moderate to high-intensity exercise every day, getting more exercise is preferable. If you’re going to stick to a physical activity routine, it’s also important to find things you like to do. Perhaps you’ll only go to the gym three days a week for your resistance training. The rest of the week can be spent playing tennis, jogging, swimming, or playing team sports with some friends. By adding more variety to your workouts, you’ll be keeping up an interest in exercise. Additionally, that broad range of exercises will strengthen and tone a variety of muscle groups throughout your body. If you’re the type of person that tends to procrastinate, there are small things you can do to stay motivated. Try teaming up with a friend, adding your workouts to your day planner, or laying an exercise mat out in the living room. Most people find that once they get started on a workout, they feel more motivated to do more.
Relieving Stress is Also Important
While physical activity does relieve stress, you should also add some activities to your daily routine that are specifically designed to relieve tension and relax your mind. If you don’t take the time to alleviate stress, it will continue to build up. As your brain releases heavier amounts of stress hormones, your stress levels will rise accordingly. This can lead to inhibited cognitive functioning, emotional instability, a comprised immune system, and poor health in general. Reducing stress is simple. You can practice yoga, meditate, take a warm bath, or read a good book. For some people, taking a leisurely walk around the park is enough to relax and get rid of built-up anxiety. Any hobby that you find relaxing will be enough to eliminate the stress they experience day by day.
Get Enough Quality Sleep
Getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night shouldn’t seem like a difficult thing to do, but many people have trouble with it. Unfortunately, research has found that getting fewer than seven hours of sleep on a consistent basis will adversely affect your emotional, cognitive, and physical health. Even one night of poor sleep can leave you in a mental fog, raise the risk of depressive episodes, and drain your energy for the day. Long term effects include higher risks for cardiovascular disease, metabolic disease, and mental health disorders. If you’re not getting sufficient sleep, stop drinking caffeinated products six hours before bed, put away electronic devices one hour before bed, and improve the comfort of your bedding. If you have tried to improve your sleeping environment and you’re still struggling, discuss your sleeping difficulties with your doctor.
Making healthy choices doesn’t have to consist of a series of sacrifices. In fact, as you look around at your life, you can probably find many easy changes that will provide you with longer and more rewarding life. As you add more healthy changes, you’ll soon forget why you put off living a healthier lifestyle for so long.