Adulthood makes it incredibly easy (tempting, even) to put your health on the back burner. You’re busy working, socializing, and doing the ‘Big Things’ in general. But… Here’s the truth. The effects of an unhealthy lifestyle will catch up with you one day, leaving you staring at a health report full of issues. The best way to avoid that? Healthy lifestyle changes. Thankfully, there’s no need for a complete lifestyle haul. There are many little things you can do that'll make a massive difference in the long run. Here are 5 of them.
#1 – Stay active throughout the day
Making time for physical activity provides some serious benefits for the body and mind. Don’t enjoy sweating it out for a full 60 minutes? Here’s a hack. For every hour you spend sitting, get up and walk briskly for 5 minutes. Following this rule while sitting for 8 hours a day helps you walk for 40 minutes. Peppering your days with brisk walks goes a long way in ensuring you hit the minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly.
#2 – Turn into bed earlier
A consistent lack of quality sleep can wreak all kinds of havoc on your health, including a higher risk of stroke, some cancers, diabetes, heart disease, and dying younger from any cause. Eeks. Now, there’s no need to head to bed the moment the clock strikes 10 pm. Slowly work your way till you’re in bed at least a full hour earlier than your typical turn-in time. Give your body the physiological cues (e.g. avoid bright lights at night) it needs to sleep so you can gradually work toward hitting 7 to 9 hours of sleep nightly.
#3 – Pack in the fruits and vegetables
High in vitamins, minerals, and fibre, your fruits and vegetables not only promote good health but can also strengthen your immune system–helping to fight illnesses. Their high-fibre content also brings about a separate set of health benefits; for example, optimal bowel health, lowered cholesterol levels, and healthy weight management. So, you want to get more fruits and vegetables into your meals. Start with adding one piece of fruit to your meals, then build your habit over time.
#4 – Check in with a primary care doctor once a year
Regular health screening is essentially preventive medicine; it looks out for risk factors that make an individual susceptible to certain diseases. Thankfully, you can prevent silent lurkers (e.g. high cholesterol, cancer, plaque buildup in the arteries) from catching you blindsided with annual health check-ups.
#5 – Carve out time for regular stress relief
Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can upset your digestive system, suppress your immune system, increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and speed up the aging process. It can even hurt you mentally – leaving you more susceptible to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. And that's why it's so essential for you to practice relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness practice (including deep breathing), to reduce the pressure you feel.
Whew. These habits do sound like a lot, don’t they? If you’re someone who needs guidance, the Daily Routine Journal is perfect for you. Filled with useful reminders (e.g. ‘Today’s Positive Habits’ and ‘Food + Water Focus’), each day you spend with the journal gets you closer to the healthiest version of yourself. See how others have changed their lives for the better here.