In this article, you’ll learn and discover healthy lifestyle changes to stick with this year.
There’s never a bad time to make a change and start living a healthier lifestyle. However, it can be difficult to figure out where to start and what changes to make, especially if you’re new to healthy living routines. The mistake many people make is to dive headfirst into a completely new routine without first making gradual adjustments. Doing this reduces the chance of forming new healthy habits and, instead, it makes your new lifestyle more difficult to stick to. To make these changes easier, here are the top three ways you can change your current lifestyle to receive the greatest payoffs.
Daily Exercise and Mindfulness
Exercise and meditation each have their places within a healthy lifestyle. Both can help reduce stress and improve sleep; however, the key to adding these to your routine is dedication and pacing. If you add new exercises and meditations to your lifestyle expecting too much right off the bat, you’ll only be setting yourself up for failure.
To prevent this, begin by gradually adding light exercises and meditations a couple of times each week. Start slow and work your way up to completing these activities every day. By doing this, you can help solidify these actions as habits that you will be more likely to stick with long-term.
Benefits of Daily Exercise
Once you’ve worked up to adding light exercise into your everyday routine, here are some of the benefits you can expect to see.
A sedentary lifestyle is one of the biggest factors in weight gain. Daily exercise can help combat this by steadily burning excess calories every day. If losing weight is one of your reasons for pursuing a healthier lifestyle, this is something to keep in mind.
Stronger Muscles and Bones
As we age muscle and bone density decrease. This can make injury more likely unless something is done to fortify these areas. Daily exercise is one of the best ways to do this and it has been proven to help guard against the development of conditions such as osteoporosis later in life.
Exercising daily can also help fight feelings of fatigue and give you more energy throughout your day. For this reason, many people choose to schedule their light workouts first thing in the morning. Those who do swear it works even better than coffee to wake them up and get them going.
Better Sleep Quality
Daily exercise can also help if you have trouble getting a restful night’s sleep. One study found that after 16 weeks of increased physical activity, participants reported better quality sleep, with 17 participants stating it helped combat their insomnia. This, in turn, led them to feel even more energized during the day, with most reporting increased levels of energy.
Workouts can take many different forms, from running on a treadmill to lifting weights. Whichever exercises you choose to incorporate, the most important thing to remember is to start slowly and gradually work your way up. This is especially true if you’re working with weights, as you can risk injury if you push yourself too far at the start.
The Benefits of Meditation
Meditation is also a great activity to incorporate into your new healthy lifestyle. Similar to exercising, it’s important to take the process slowly and not expect immediate mastery. The biggest reason why people give up on mediation is that they feel they cannot clear their minds well enough to succeed.
Truthfully, meditation isn’t about turning your mind off, it is about being mindful in the here and now. The trick is to allow thoughts to flow through your mind like water, ungraspable, and constantly moving. Try not to latch on to any particular thoughts and instead allow them to come and go without dwelling on them. This in and of itself is a learned process that takes time and dedication. However, even in the beginning stages, you can start to experience some incredible benefits, such as:
Stress can contribute greatly to many issues, including depression, insomnia, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even inflammation. Meditation helps control stress and mitigate these issues allowing you to feel better both physically and mentally.
Mediation can be practiced before you go to sleep. This allows you to settle your mind and puts you in a clearer headspace so that you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. This is because meditation helps prevent latching on to stray thoughts that can contribute to insomnia, as well as relaxing your body so that sleep can come easier.
Reduces the Risk of Memory Loss
Meditation has been found to decrease the risk of age-related memory loss. This is because meditation is essentially a workout for the brain that can help fortify memory and focus. One study also found that meditation can even benefit memory in those already struggling with conditions such as dementia.
In another study, participants were monitored under MRI as they experienced painful stimuli. Those who had been practicing mediation were found to have increased activity in the center of the brain that controls pain. They also reported having experienced less sensitivity than those who had not practiced meditation. For this reason, meditation is often suggested as an aid to those suffering from chronic pain.
For those looking to combine mindfulness and exercise, yoga is an option to consider. In the United States, over 36 million people practice yoga, making it one of the most popular physical activities available. Yoga combines both physical exercise with meditation and mindfulness. When practiced in the morning, it can help you to wake up and feel more focused.
Healthy Eating Choices
When it comes to reading the nutritional information on product labels, 72% of consumers say that they always check a product before purchasing it. Reading labels is important because without that information you could be consuming more calories, carbs, and sugars than you would like. In many cases, consumers can benefit from looking into natural and organic substitutes of favorite foods which will be more nutritious overall. Staying away from processed foods is one of the most important things to do if you’re considering investing in a healthier lifestyle.
A diet is healthiest when foods are consumed in their natural unaltered states. Processing can remove a lot of the nutrients in exchange for making things more self-stable. Processed foods often also have added sugar, trans fats, and sodium, which can lead to weight gain, cardiovascular diseases, and diabetes if eating consistently over a long time.
Removing these foods from your diet and replacing them with wholesome alternatives can have many benefits; however, your body will need time to adjust to your new diet. In the first few weeks of switching, you can experience fatigue and irritability, in addition to some mild gastrointestinal discomfort. Many times this is what causes people to switch back to their normal unhealthy diets and give up on eating better. However, if you stick out the first couple of weeks your body will start to feel better, even more so than before.
Removing processed foods can help you lose weight and feel more energized than ever. This is because your body will be getting the nutrients it needs to run as it should. When switching over to healthier foods, you may find it beneficial to start slowly, as with your new exercises. Slowly phasing out processed foods for organic and natural alternatives gives your body time to adjust without shocking your system. This gradual adjustment can also make it easier for you to stick with long-term.
To get started, the best foods to stock up on include:
Bananas, apples, avocados, blueberries, oranges, and strawberries. All packed with essential nutrients such as fiber, potassium, and vitamin C, fruits like these are perfect for breakfast and as a snack.
Broccoli, bell peppers, carrots, kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cauliflower. Each of these veggies can be combined and cooked up in delicious ways that allow you to get all the nutrients you need daily.
Lean beef, chicken, and lamb. These meats are the best to consume on a healthy diet. All high in protein, these three options are the way to go if you don’t want to remove meat from your diet.
Salmon, shrimp, tuna, trout, and shellfish. These are also amazingly healthy choices to incorporate into your new diet. A fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids and protein, adding a fish dish to the weekly menu is a must.
While this is by no means a comprehensive list, food items like these are some of the most essential when beginning to plan out your new eating habits.
Lastly, when beginning a new healthy lifestyle, it’s important to remember that healthy habits also translate to the upkeep of your home. Incorporating these steps can prevent illnesses and also help keep your home more tidy and organized. A clean, well-maintained home also goes towards mitigating stress and anxiety, further expanding upon the benefits wrought by exercise and meditation.
Some important changes to consider include:
Taking Off Your Shoes
One of the most important things to start doing is taking off your shoes as soon as you enter your home. Shoes can track in all sorts of dirt and germs, contributing to stains and illnesses. Invest in a mat or fiber rug for your entryway that can hide dirt and absorb moisture.
Cleaning as You Go
Cleaning as you go and putting things up after you use them can help you reduce clutter and keep your home cleaner and healthier. Wipe down surfaces after cooking and clean dishes immediately without waiting for them to pile up. Likewise, you should aim to clean bathrooms and kitchens thoroughly at least once every week. This helps prevent a build-up of grime and bacteria that could otherwise take a long time to scrub away.
Washing Laundry More Often
On average, most people switch out their bed sheets every two weeks. This helps keep your bed sanitary and healthy. Similarly, bath towels should be cleaned at least once every two weeks, preferably once every week. It’s also a good idea to stay on top of all laundry to ensure nothing builds up. Try to schedule a day for this so that everyone in the family knows when to turn in their laundry baskets.
Tidying and Getting Ready Before Bed
One of the surest ways to have a bad morning is to wake up to a messy house. To prevent this, try and spend 10 minutes every night before bed tidying and preparing things for the morning. This can be as simple as wiping down counters and setting up what you’ll need for breakfast. Getting everything set out neatly the night before can help get you moving easier in the morning.
Little steps like this can go a long way towards keeping your home healthier and more organized.
Healthy Choices For Healthy Living
If you’re looking to begin a healthier lifestyle, these are the top things you need to incorporate to reap the greatest benefits. While it may sound like a lot to change, the key is to gradually begin adding changes so that you can start to form habits that you can stick with. Don’t overwhelm yourself down by trying to change everything overnight, the healthiest changes are those that come over time. With all of this in mind, it’s time to get started and make a change for the better in your life.