Stuck in a rut and have no idea how to start living a healthier life? Here are eight healthy living tips that can help you to feel many times better with some tweaks in your daily lifestyle. Some of these tips are easier to incorporate while some (e.g., quitting smoking) would require extra effort!
8 Healthy Living Tips For You
Guide Me Fitness Tip #1 – Chug plenty of water
Not only is drinking water good for your body, but it is also great for your skin. Also, drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day will help cut out unhealthy sodas, energy drinks, etc. Are you going for a workout? A hydrated body will allow your muscles to function correctly.
How? Bring a big water bottle to work and make an effort to sip from this bottle continuously. You can also increase your water intake by consuming foods with high water content, such as soups, vegetables and fruits. If you like your water to have some flavour, put some lemon or grapefruit slices for a zesty taste. Steer clear from flavoured bottled water as these usually contain artificial flavours and sweeteners.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #2 – Bulk up on vegetables at your next meal
Vegetables contain antioxidants are high in certain vital nutrients, such as potassium, folate (folic acid), vitamin A and vitamin C.
People who incorporate vegetables as part of their daily diet have been shown to suffer lower risks of chronic diseases. Vegetables are also filled with fibre which helps you stay full for longer (making it a good weight loss food) and improves your GI health. If you are aiming for weight loss, making a conscious effort to eat more vegetables can reduce hunger and cause you to be less likely to reach out for that chocolate bar.
How? When eating out, order salad as a main, or as a side dish (with a special request for dressing on the side). Ask the restaurant to swap any french fries or potatoes with a side of steamed vegetables. If you are eating at home, do a weekly grocery shop and fill up your basket with a range of healthy vegetables. You can also save significant prep time by buying frozen vegetables which have been proven to retain more nutrients than freshly bought vegetables.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #3 – Don’t eliminate, but watch your carbs
Carbohydrates have been the public enemy of dieters and health experts for many years. There are even popular diets (think Atkins) that promote the elimination of most forms of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are an important source of nutrients and should never be totally eliminated. However, and especially if you are not a particularly active, limiting your carb intake can do wonders for your mental and physical health. Sugary snacks and other forms of refined carbs cause big spikes in your blood sugar and can result in extra belly fat.
How? Swap out your main forms of carbohydrates with vegetables. For example, order a salad instead of a sandwich. Ask for steamed veggies instead of potatoes when dining out at a restaurant. Avoid sugary snacks and reach out for a controlled portion of healthy nuts instead. Eat carbs selectively by eating more carbs on days when you are working out and less when you are not.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #4 – Get your ZZZZs
Sleep should be one of your priorities. Getting adequate sleep allows your body to heal and repair itself. It also affects your performance and ability to retain information during the day. A lack of sleep can be linked to depression, behavioural problems and weight gain.
How? Track your sleepover a week or two to monitor how many hours of sleep you are getting. If you suspect you can do with more rest, decide on time by which you should be sleeping and set the alarm for one hour before this time. When your alarm rings, transition your mind and body for bed by staying away from your electronics and social media. Browsing through Facebook and even reading the news online have been shown to affect sleep quality as compared to other pre-bedtime activities such as reading a paperback.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #5 – Make human connections
Socialising is a great way to improve your mental health. Mental health is as important as physical health, and it can be even more challenging to resolve mental health issues as compared to physical health. Socialising can also have a substantial impact on your physical health. Studies have shown that people with more social connections were less likely to fall sick, more likely to get better sleep, are sharper during the day and have a better chance of living a longer life.
How? Call a friend during lunch. Organise social events to meet up with your ex-school mates. Make an effort to talk to people whom you casually come into contact with. Sign up for networking events and try to make a personal connection with someone at such events.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #6 – Squeeze in some exercise
There are so many benefits to exercise that you should invest time and effort to incorporate exercise in your daily life. Exercise controls weight, improves mood, boosts energy, reduces the risk of health conditions and illnesses, promotes sleep and actually can be fun! Different types of exercise can help various benefits: running and other cardiovascular exercise promotes a healthy heart and can combat depression. In contrast, less intense exercise such as yoga can improve anxiety and strengthen your core. Lifting weights helps improve your metabolic rate, decrease the rate of muscle loss, and maintains your bone density as you age.
How? The key is to build a sustainable exercise habit. Make exercise a non-negotiable aspect of your life by setting aside time on your calendar for exercise. Most people find that exercising in the mornings before work is the best time for exercise since this is usually the only time of the day when work or family commitments would not get into the way. Instead of meeting your friends for dinner, you can also use exercise as a way to socialise.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #7 – Be grateful
Being grateful is an underrated topic that should be discussed more often. Being thankful daily (and not only during special occasions) has been shown to generate many benefits, both physical and mental. People who practise being grateful everyday experience fewer aches and pains, harbour less toxic feelings which can be linked to depression and anxiety, have the stronger mental fortitude, sleep better and obviously, report higher levels of happiness.
How? Start by keeping a gratitude journal. Every night before going to bed, spend time writing or thinking about events which you were grateful for during the day, people whom you appreciated or had to help you during the course of the day, and achievements (whether big or small) which you should be proud of. Express gratitude to your family and friends simply by saying thank you and appreciating the effort that they have put in.
Guide Me Fitness Tip #8 – Quit smoking
If you are a smoker, it is time to think seriously about going cold turkey. It takes about 7 minutes to smoke a whole cigarette – if you smoke a pack a day, you could suddenly find yourself with more than 1 hour of free time for other activities. You probably already know the unhealthy effects of your smoking habit. Still, in case you need a general reminder, smoking harms almost every organ of your body and reduces your health in many ways. Amongst others, smoking is the cause of approximately 90% (or 9 out of 10) of all lung cancer deaths. By quitting smoking, you can add years to your life and not to mention: save tons of money which you can spend towards more beneficial things.
How? Given that many smokers have tried to and wish to quit smoking, there are several resources and methods in the market which you can access. Some people go cold turkey without any form of help. Still, it would be helpful to formulate a plan for quitting which could involve going for the behavioural therapy and relying on nicotine replacements. One way to increase your chances of success is to have a support network of friends and/or family to give you emotional support. It also helps to list out the various reasons why you wish to quit smoking. So that this can serve as a reminder in times of temptation.