To be honest, living a healthy lifestyle can almost be like having a full time job. Between the incredibly difficult and specific diet requirements to follow as well as exercise regimes, this common New Year’s resolution can be more stressful than basic day to day living.
What can be done about this? Well interestingly enough, there are many ways that you can improve your health simply by changing a small habit, or taking five minutes out of your day to complete an action. These next few tips are the easiest and simplest ways to get a start on a healthy lifestyle!
The Importance of Water
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Water is the secret ingredient to the start, or maintenance of a healthier life. As everyone probably knows, water keeps you hydrated when consumed in the right proportions. On average, the typical person should be drinking 6-8 glasses of water a day. If you would like to be more specific, you should match your weight in kilograms in ounces of water.
We must also take into consideration many factors that will affect this number such as lifestyle, climate you live in, or other beverages you drink. If you live an active lifestyle or play sports, obviously you lose much more water than just sitting around, so you need to drink more than normal to make up for that. People in a hotter, more humid climate will have to drink more water than people in a cooler one. Other beverages such as coffee, which is very common in many peoples diets, can be a diuretic when drank in sufficient amounts (3-4 cups a day). This means that it causes your body to release more water through urination, increasing the level of dehydration.
So after all this, why is it important to stay sufficiently hydrated every day? Once again there are a few aspects that need to be considered to really answer this question fully. When hydrated, the body’s plasma volume is ideally at the perfect, balanced amount allowing better transport of nutrients and oxygen through red blood cells (RBC’s) to the rest of the body. This increases daily performance even in simple activities such as walking. Also, because of this increased blood flow, it allows your brain to be at peak performance as well, increasing concentration and brain activity.
Water also decreases those pangs you feel when you start getting hungry. Many of us, myself included, eat more than we need to at meals, simply because we feel hungry, when in reality we could stop before the second helping of mashed potatoes or chicken and still receive more than adequate amount of nutrients our bodies needed during that meal. Drinking a glass of water before a meal decreases the urge to eat, therefore increasing the chance of accidentally eating too much. A conscious effort to not go overboard will still be needed, but drinking water before should make it easier.
Water can also increase the BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) of an individual, or the amount of energy their body uses when sitting still. By drinking a glass of water immediately after getting up, you activate your digestive system early in the day which gets your body up and moving from the fasting state you have when you are sleeping. So even though water is non-caloric, it causes your body to “wake up” when you do, instead of an hour later when you eat breakfast. One glass of water when you wake up can boost your metabolism by up to 27% in the morning.
Eating a healthy breakfast is another key aspect to keeping healthy. Just like a glass of water, food also activates your body early in the day, which is why skipping breakfast actually is worse for you when trying to lose weight than not. Fruit such as a banana or an apple, along with a whole wheat carbohydrate option like a bagel or toast provides the body a great quick energy source to start the day.
Cutting Your Diet
Soft drinks are one of the main items to cut if you are looking for a healthier lifestyle. A 12oz serving of soda contains about 140 “empty calories” and 33 grams of sugar. That much sugar elevates blood pressure and that can lead to other serious health complications. “Empty calories” are calories that hold no nutritional value to the body. Drinking a can of soda every day can contribute up to 15 pounds gained a year!
A very important aspect to keep in mind is that diet is critical in staying healthy. You can’t expect to eat junk food and fast food every day and be as healthy as a person who follows the correct guidelines for a healthy diet.
Vegetables are very filling because of their high fiber content. This makes them a great snack because a small plate between meals can very easily tide you over until the next meal and it is also very good for you. This being the case, eating vegetables also prevents you from snacking on less healthy options throughout the day as well.
Take the Stairs!
Every little chance you get choose the option with more exercise. There is no such thing as an exercise not worth it! Every stair and every extra step counts. If you are within 10-15 minutes walking distance of your destination, and it isn’t an emergency, allow enough time to walk and enjoy the outdoors! As a benefit, you will also get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun but don’t forget sunscreen!
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One of the easiest and most advantageous things to do to lead a healthy life is to keep busy! Develop a hobby such as gardening or basketball; the real idea here is to take up free time and prevent you from eating because you can. Boredom eating is real! This is an aspect that leads to serious extra caloric consumption and weight gain for many people.
Following these very simple tips, keeping healthy shouldn’t be a problem! Implement them into your daily habits and you will love the changes and improvements in the day to day living that you experience!