January 08, 2016
We all know someone who never seems to get sick, who always seems vital and vibrant. How do they do it? There’s no secret vitamin or magic formula. Good health is really the end result of lots of tiny habits, which combine for a happier, longer life.
Don’t get overwhelmed trying to become superhuman. Instead, focus on small tweaks to your diet, exercise, and mindset, and over time you’ll have more energy and find yourself taking fewer sick days.
To get you started, here are some of the habits shared by people who are super healthy — emulate them, and you’ll reap results, too!
Everyone’s heard the old adage “You are what you eat,” and it’s true. Eating right improves your mood, your body and your life.
Choose foods that make you happy without the guilt. A few easy swaps will satisfy your natural cravings for salt, sugar and fat. Choose oil-based salad dressing over creamy dressings, kale chips, dried seaweed, or sunflower seeds over potato chips, and placate bacon cravings with avocado or peanut butter. Sate your sweet tooth with berries sprinkled with cinnamon or a small piece of dark chocolate instead of cakes, cookies and ice cream.
Start with just one healthy meal a day, and pay attention to how you feel. In your first week, you’ll notice you don’t feel sluggish, bloated, or stressed after eating healthy food.
And don’t forget to stay hydrated! When you’re bored, you may find yourself reaching for a snack. Instead, reach for a glass of water, which will keep you fuller and eating less.
Changing all your habits at once — attempting to go from couch potato to Olympian — will likely get you nowhere. Instead, find small ways to be more active, injecting new energy and inspiration into your life and preparing you for more strenuous athletic challenges.
If you work in an office, use your allotted lunchtime to be active: Go for a quick walk or, if possible, hit the gym. Stretching your legs will give your mind time to wander, and will revitalize you for the rest of the day. If convenient, walk or bike to work — the extra activity is a great way to easily introduce physical activity into your life.
Though beneficial, training at the gym can get monotonous, or stressful if it’s overcrowded. You can add exercise to your life by doing more of the things you already love. If you love nature, exercise by paddling a kayak, hiking, or volunteering on a farm. Animal lovers can get plenty of exercise in by volunteering at shelters, and music lovers will find that dancing to music in their own homes is a great way to let loose, laugh and burn some calories.
Simply staying active is more important than working out; research shows that just 20 minutes of activity will give you a happiness boost every day.
While losing 10 pounds or finishing a marathon will make your body healthier, you still need to care for your psyche. Changing your outlook, and promoting internal optimism will revolutionize your perspective on life and mental well-being, and ultimately lead to a happier, healthier you.
Be present. Make time for calming activities that let you focus on tranquility and peacefulness. Instead of reaching for the remote after a stressful day, soak in the tub with a scented candle or meditate for 15 minutes. Maximize waiting in line by stretching your legs or breathing mindfully. Practice yoga regularly. Spend more time with people who make you laugh, and emulate the people who you want to be like.
Revisit your objectives and aspirations weekly to stay focused; keep a journal or list in your phone to write down what you’re grateful for — this exercise will help you stay focused on the positive and keep you happy.
Anyone can achieve a healthier lifestyle if they set realistic goals and start small. Even baby steps will make a big impact on your health over time, and there’s no better time than today to begin incorporating them into your life.
A year from now, you’ll look back and thank yourself for starting when you did!