Tips for Staying Healthy. Your Step-by-Step Guide to a Long, Healthy Life. Your first step to wellness can be as simple as switching from white bread to wheat bread. In fact, here's a bunch of little ways to boost your longevity.
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Guide: How to Be Healthy. A healthy lifestyle can help you thrive throughout your life. Making healthy choices isn’t always easy, however. It can be hard to find the time and energy to exercise regularly or prepare healthy meals. However, your efforts will pay off in many ways, and for the rest of your life. Many people think that being healthy is a difficult task that involves lots of dieting and time at the gym, but that’s not actually true! By making some simple tweaks to your routine and setting small goals for yourself, you can be on the path toward living a healthier, happier life. Start a daily habit of making healthier choices when it comes to eating, relaxing, being active, and sleeping. Soon, you’ll start to see your healthy life taking shape!
Part#1: Having a Healthy Diet
Drink more water. Adults should drink 2–3 liters (0.53–0.79 US gal) (or roughly eight 8 oz glasses) of water per day, while children should drink 1–2 liters (0.26–0.53 US gal) (or roughly five 8 oz glasses). That is in addition to other drinks like tea or coffee. Water keeps bodies at the correct temperature and removes toxins and maintains homeostasis.
Water also clears your skin, helps your kidneys, helps to control your appetite, and keeps you energized.
It also keeps you from drinking unhealthy beverages like soda and juice, which are high in calories. The body barely registers the intake of these unhealthy drinks and yet you still feel thirsty hundreds of calories later.
Drinking hot water (aka tea) can help stimulate your digestive system. Hot water also helps your body naturally detoxify itself. Make sure the water is comfortably hot and won’t burn you.
Tip: If you dislike the taste of water, splash some lemon, lime, or 100% juice into your water. You can also choose to replace water with sparkling water mixed with juice in order to trick your brain into thinking that it’s soda.
Eat breakfast. A light, healthy breakfast is sufficient enough to reap the benefits of eating early. If it’s comprised of lean protein and whole grains, then it will keep you from gorging at lunch. Research shows that breakfast-skippers actually eat more! So, to curb your appetite, don’t skip the first meal of the day.
Instead of two chocolate doughnuts and a coffee that’s more cream than anything else, opt for eggs, fruit, and for a beverage like skimmed milk, fresh orange juice, or tea. The healthier and filling your breakfast is, the more energized you’ll feel throughout the day.
Eat well throughout the day. If half of your plate is vegetables and fruit, you’re on the right track.Add in lean protein, low-fat dairy, and whole grains. Once a steady eating pattern has been established, your body will feel more comfortable. There may be a period of time when your body is wondering where the sugary foods went, but once you’re over the hump, you’ll feel better than ever.
Remember that not all fats are bad for you. Good fats can be found in fish like salmon and tuna, avocados, nuts, and olive oil. These are essential to a well-balanced diet.
Make an effort to eat regularly timed meals throughout your day. However, avoid grazing all day.
Eat at the right times. A good time for a healthy, easy-to-digest evening meal is between 17:00 and 20:00 (5:00 pm and 8:00 pm); it’s best to avoid late night snacks because they fill you with unnecessary calories and can disrupt your sleep. If you do need that midnight snack, stick to unsalted nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies.
Try not to eat 3 to 4 hours before you go to bed if you find that eating at night is causing you trouble sleeping.
Snacking isn’t bad for you if you do it right. In fact, eating “constantly” can keep you from feeling deprived and going for that third piece of cheesecake when the cart rolls around. Just make sure it’s all in moderation.
Consider going meatless at least a few days a week. Being vegetarian is a good way to reduce your calorie intake and get loads of vitamins and minerals. It can also improve your cardiovascular health. If you don’t want to go fully vegetarian, you can improve your health by eating less meat. Choose a few days a week to go vegetarian, and switch out red meat for chicken, turkey, and fish.
When you eat a vegetarian diet, base your meals around non-starchy vegetables rather than grains like pasta or rice. When you do eat grains, choose whole grains. Eat protein at every meal, such as eggs, low-fat dairy, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, or other meat replacements.
For example, you might eat scrambled egg whites with tomatoes and spinach in a whole grain tortilla for breakfast, black bean soup with a small side salad for lunch, Greek yogurt for a snack, and vegetable lasagna for dinner.
A high-fiber diet is easily had without meat. Fiber has been shown to lower your cholesterol, control your blood-sugar levels, improve your bowel health, and make you less likely to overeat. The recommended fiber intake is 30g a day for men and 21g for women; after the age of 50, this jumps up to 38g for men and 25g for women. Some good sources of fiber include fruits and vegetables (with the skin), whole grains, and legumes
Limit simple sugars in your diet. While carbohydrates are an important part of your diet, simple sugar can be harmful to your health. It provides a quick energy spike that then bottoms out, causing you to feel hungry faster. Simple sugars, except for fruit, are also high calorie and lacking in nutrients. It’s best to avoid sweets and added sugar, but you can include them in moderation.
Fruits are technically simple sugars but can still be a healthy part of your diet. They’re full of vitamins and nutrients. Whenever possible, eat your fruits with the skin.
Read food labels to make the healthiest choices. Processed foods get a bad rap, and often for good reason. However, you’ve got to choose your battles. That frozen bag of broccoli isn’t nearly as bad as that boxed mac and cheese. In short, avoid processed foods when you can — but if you can’t, read the labels and watch for added bad stuff: salt, sugar, and fat.
Food that stays on the shelves often has added sodium, words that end in -ose, and trans and saturated fats in the ingredient list. If you see these on the label (especially if they’re in high amounts), avoid them. You can find a healthier alternative elsewhere. It’s not worth it.
Just because it says it has no trans fat doesn’t actually mean it has no trans fat. Negligible amounts can be legally ignored — so if you see hydrogenated vegetable oil on the list, you’ve found one of the masked culprits.
Talk to your doctor about incorporating supplements in your diet. Supplements can make sure you get all of the vitamins and nutrients you need. Take your supplements with a meal to help them absorb better. You might choose to take a multivitamin every day, or you can supplement particular nutrients that may be low for you, such as calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin B12.
Don’t start taking any supplements without first talking to your doctor, especially if you’re taking medications.
Keep in mind that taking supplements is not a replacement for a healthy diet.
Use intermittent fasting to control calories and boost endurance. Intermittent fasting means going without food for 12-16 hours at a time. You may do this every day or on certain days of the week. This can help you burn your fat as a source of energy and improve your energy endurance. It may also help you manage your calorie intake.
For example, you may eat breakfast at 6:00 a.m. and then not eat again until dinner at 6:30 p.m.
As another option, you might eat normally on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday but restrict on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
This diet is not right for everyone, especially people who have diabetes or hypoglycemia. Talk to your doctor before starting any new diet plans.
Part #2: Having a Healthy Exercise Plan
Get in shape. In addition to helping you lose weight and gain confidence, exercising has a host of other benefits for your body and mind. Having good cardiovascular health has been linked to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s, just to name one. So hit the pool for a swim, the pavement for a walk or jog, or the park for a hike as often as you can.
Exercising boosts your immune system too; even a change as minor as walking briskly for 20-30 minutes a day, five days a week can improve your immune system by increasing both your antibody and T-killer cell response.
Exercising is also one of the absolute best ways to sleep better at night—which can help you lose weight by keeping you from overeating. Read How to Get Fit for more details.
Maintain a healthy weight. Our physical frames vary in size and weight. An individual with a large frame can carry a little more weight while a person with a light frame will be able to carry less.
Being underweight isn’t a good thing either! Do not use any form of crash diets. There is no magic bullet for weight loss—and even if there were, starving your body of vital nutrients wouldn’t be it. A slow change in your eating habits is much safer and the long-term benefits for your physical health are greater.
If you don’t want to go on a diet, read How to Lose Weight Just by Exercising. Just remember that only serious athletes are able to burn off enough calories to be able to enjoy massive indulgences—and even so, they tend not to because it’s hard on the body. Even if you do consume more calories than are recommended for you, be sure that they are nutritious; your heart, brain, muscles, bones, organs, and blood can’t run forever on empty calories.
Cross train. Just because you can run 5 miles (8.0 km) without stopping doesn’t mean you’re healthy—same goes for lifting weights the size of a small car. If you only do one activity, you’re only using one set of muscles.You’ll be shocked when you go swimming or do core workouts that you can’t keep up!
What’s the answer? Cross training. Not only does doing several different activities work all your muscles (which can help prevent injury), it also keeps you from getting bored. That’s the ultimate exercise killer! So include aerobic and strength training workouts to your routine. Your muscles will be glad you did.
Exercise wisely. It should go without saying that there are bad ways to work out. Every time you get moving you put yourself at risk for injury, so make sure you’re doing it right!
First things first, stay hydrated. You should always be sipping water during your workouts. Getting dehydrated can lead to dizziness or headaches during your sweat session (or lack thereof).
Take breaks! It isn’t being lazy, it’s being healthy. You can’t go-go-go forever. After 30 minutes or so of exercise, grab your water bottle and lighten up. Your body needs a second to catch up. You’ll be able to go further in the long run.
Take advantage of opportunities to be active. Being physically active isn’t about pounding the pavement or joining a gym—it’s a lifestyle that can be had 24/7. If you can add extra 10 steps to your day here and there, they add up.
Don’t have any ideas? Park a bit farther away from work, the mall entrance, or the grocery store. Ride a bike to work or school. Take the stairs. Walk the dog every day. Take lunch to the park. Bike to work or the local coffee shop. Little opportunities are everywhere.
Part #3: Being Emotionally Healthy
Think positively. It’s amazing how much power our minds have over everything in our lives. A simple positive twist on a situation can turn an obstacle into an opportunity. Not only will you have more gusto for life, your immune system can fight off colds and heart disease better! Harvard wouldn’t lie.
To start this difficult step, focus on gratitude. When you start thinking about the bad thing swirling around you, stop. Cut it out. Think of two things you’re grateful for. Eventually, your mind will notice the pattern and stop the negativity before you have to consciously do it
Be satisfied. This doesn’t mean “be content with your life” (well, it does, but give it a sec)—it sort of means “satisfy yourself”. If you’re on a diet, allow yourself a (small) bit of what you’re craving. If watching the Golden Girls for three hours on a Friday night sounds like heaven, do it. Whatever the small things are that make you happy, do them.
Your happiness is invaluable, but so is your health. If you’re not healthy, you’re not fully happy. It’s when we’ve got our mind and body in top shape that we can attack everything else. If work, family, friends, a relationship, and money are wearing you down, making a small choice like opting for that whole wheat bagel instead of a hot pocket can build the foundation for a long-term difference in your health. Then, when the going gets tough, you’ll be ready to take on your challenges with a healthy body, mind, and conscience.
Think small. When we concentrate on unattainable goals, we get daunted, frustrated, and lazy. After all, why try to achieve something that will never happen? A healthy mindset has to be in the here and now. It should have concern for the future, sure, but it shouldn’t be preoccupied with what hasn’t happened yet or won’t.
Being emotionally healthy (and happy) is easier to attain when you focus on the steps of your journey as opposed to the destination. If you want to make it on Broadway, focus on getting your next audition. Then focus on becoming equity, then focus on moving, etc. Now will always come before the future—focus on them in order!
Manage stress. This one is huge. When stress takes over our lives, everything else falls apart. Our homes get cluttered, our minds get cluttered, and our relationships get strained. Take yourself aside for five minutes and think about your stress levels—how are you managing it? What could you do to be more calm and relaxed?
A very healthy way of managing stress is doing yoga. If that doesn’t sound appealing, how about meditating? No? Then simply make sure to take ten minutes out of your day to just power down. Sit with yourself and just breathe. Make a point to get centered every day.
When you feel stressed, do breathing exercises or breathe deeply to calm yourself and relax your body.
Choose your friends wisely. We all know those people that seem to drain us, but yet we’re friends with them anyway because they have a nice TV or because, well, we get bored. Unfortunately, for our emotional health, they’ve got to go. They do us no good and we know it — we just ignore it to maintain consistency and avoid awkward situations. Do your mental health a favor and tear off that band-aid. In the long-run, you’ll be happier.
Not sure how to recognize a toxic friend? How to end a toxic friendship? We’ve got you covered.
Spending time with your friends can improve your life. Be social as often as possible with the people who enrich your life.
Be productive. One of the best feelings to easily come by is that feeling of “I got so much done today!” For that moment, you feel virtually unstoppable. Your mom saying “If you put your mind to it, you can do it” is no longer a lie! Now imagine riding that high constantly.
Start by creating a to-do list. A calendar or planner is a good idea, too. And remember: think small. Attack a few small things to get you going. You’ll get on a roll before you even realize it.
Incorporate learning into your day so that you’re always learning something new. This will help prevent cognitive decline.
Take a break. This is similar to the “Be Satisfied” step; you need to do what’s right for you sometimes, regardless of what the world seems to be demanding. Without feeling guilty, take that proverbial Kit Kat Bar. Spend a night in. Take a morning off. You’ll be twice as energized when you get back to it.
This goes for exercise too. If you do the same thing over and over, your muscles get used to it, you get bored, and you end up plateauing. So instead of pounding the pavement on Wednesday, go hit the pool. You’re not being lazy—you’re being logical.
Find emotional balance. Even if you master every other aspect of health, it won’t feel complete if you’re suffering from inner turmoil. Everyone needs a pick-me-up sometimes, and there are many small things that you can do to feel better about yourself. If the problem extends deeper, you may need to learn to cope with emotional pain or even depression.
Once you have worked on yourself, you should work on your approach to interpersonal relationships. Learn how to recognize a manipulative or controlling relationship and, if necessary, deal with emotional abuse so that you can have a healthy relationship.
Include the arts in your life, such as music, theater, and visual arts. Art can improve your enjoyment of life and your health. Listening to or playing music, dancing, participating in theater, and making your own art can improve both your physical and mental health. Express yourself creatively and enjoy the creative expressions of others.
Start a creative hobby or take a class.
Enjoy the arts with friends.
Travel as much as you can. Traveling can improve your physical and mental health, as well. It allows you to grow creatively, relax, and experience new things. Traveling keeps you active and lowers your risk of depression.
Traveling is often difficult if you’re living on a budget. If this is the case for you, try going on a day trip or a short road trip.
Part #4: Having a Healthy Routine
Create a daily routine. A routine can help you stick to your eating, exercising, and stress reduction goals. It also ensures you have time to do the things you want to do, such as hanging out with friends or engaging in a hobby. Create a routine that works for you!
It’s okay to have a different routine on certain days if that’s what you need to do for your life.
Try out different routines until you find one that works for you.
Stop engaging in risky behavior. Taking unnecessary risks is hard on the body and mind. It can also have devastating long-term consequences. Serious or established patterns of risk-taking can also be indicative of deeper psychological problems, in which case you should talk to a healthcare professional who specializes in a relevant field. Start by setting your sights on one or more of the following achievements:
Have Safer Sex
Stop Binge Drinking
Quit Drinking without Alcoholics Anonymous
Beat Drug Addiction
Things like wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle and wearing your seatbelt when in your car.
These things are easy to do. While they are definitely daunting, they’re doable. Often if one of these is accomplished, other things seem much easier and will fall into place.
If you already don’t engage in risky behavior, congratulations!
Exercise several times a week. We’ve stressed the “get fit” part already, but now we want to make it a little less ignorable. Your daily/weekly routine needs to include exercise. It will increase your metabolic rate, control your weight, and you’ll feel fresh the whole week. Triple win!
Here’s something concrete for you: aim for 150 minutes of aerobic activity every week (or 75 minutes of vigorous activity) and strength training twice a week.Even mowing the lawn counts!
Get a good night’s rest. When you sleep, your body produces cells that fight infection, inflammation, and stress—which means that getting too little sleep or poor-quality sleep not only makes you more prone to getting sick, but also increases the time you need to recover from illness. When you sleep well, you can wake up ready to go and be more active all day. Sleeping properly is very important for your health!
On top of that, a study conducted by The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that men who slept for 4 hours consumed 500 more calories than they did after sleeping for 8 hours.If you’re looking for an easy diet, here it is!
Learn how to cook. Cooking your own meals is a wonderful experience as you can try out different recipes while saving money at the same time. What’s more, you get to control every little thing that goes into your body. That’s really the only way to turn your diet around!
When you cook, avoid using fatty oils and extra add-ons. Stick to olive oil instead of vegetable oil, butter, or margarine and keep the extra salt and cheese to a minimum. If it doesn’t taste good without it, try cooking it differently!
Maintain your personal hygiene. Wash your hands often, especially after visiting the bathroom at home or using the restrooms in a public place. Germs can spread like wildfire and bring us down in the blink of an eye. And as if it wasn’t already clear, taking a shower is a good idea too.
When it comes to your mouth, floss and brush your teeth and tongue after eating; food particles are often the cause of bad breath and gum disease. Visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and to catch any problems before they become serious.
Bolster your immune system. Maintaining healthy habits and a high level of energy is difficult for anyone who constantly battles fatigue, colds, infections, or any other effects of a weakened immune system. Read How to Develop a Strong Immune System for more information.
If you can help it, try to get all your necessary vitamins and minerals from your diet. If you can’t naturally, supplements should only be used as a secondary measure.And of course, talk to your doctor before you undergo any significant changes.
Other Steps you can take to Be Healthy:
Be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week. Break this up into three 10-minute sessions when pressed for time. Healthy movement may include walking, sports, dancing, yoga, running or other activities you enjoy.
Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in sugar, salt and total fat.
Avoid injury by wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and using street smarts when walking alone. If you own a gun, recognize the dangers of having a gun in your home. Use safety precautions at all times.
Don’t smoke, or quit if you do. Ask your health care provider for help.
Drink in moderation if you drink alcohol. Never drink before or while driving, or when pregnant.
Ask someone you trust for help if you think you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
Help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS by using condoms every time you have sexual contact. Condoms aren’t 100 percent foolproof, so discuss STI screening with your provider. Birth control methods other than condoms, such as pills and implants, won’t protect you from STIs or HIV.
Brush your teeth after meals with a soft or medium bristled toothbrush. Also brush after drinking and before going to bed. Use dental floss daily.
Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s harmful rays are strongest. You are not protected if it is cloudy or if you are in the water — harmful rays pass through both. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays.
Maintaining a Healthy Outlook
Women today have busy, demanding lives. You may feel pulled in different directions and experience stress from dealing with work, family and other matters, leaving little time for yourself. Learning to balance your life with some time for yourself will pay off with big benefits — a healthy outlook and better health.
Steps you can take:
Stay in touch with family and friends.
Be involved in your community.
Maintain a positive attitude and do things that make you happy.
Keep your curiosity alive. Lifelong learning is beneficial to your health.
Healthy intimacy takes all forms but is always free of coercion.
Learn to recognize and manage stress in your life. Signs of stress include trouble sleeping, frequent headaches and stomach problems; being angry a lot; and turning to food, drugs and alcohol to relieve stress.
Good ways to deal with stress include regular exercise, healthy eating habits and relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or meditation. Talking to trusted family members and friends can help a lot. Some women find that interacting with their faith community is helpful in times of stress.
Get enough sleep and rest. Adults need around eight hours of sleep a night.
Talk to your health care provider if you feel depressed for more than a few days; depression is a treatable illness. Signs of depression include feeling empty and sad, crying a lot, loss of interest in life, and thoughts of death or suicide.
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