When it comes to worldwide health, the statistics aren't promising. Obesity is on the rise, as are common illnesses and diseases caused by poor health, like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. If society wants to continue to thrive, it's clear that developments need to be made, and fast.
Fortunately, if you are concerned about your own health, you need only make 3 simple lifestyle changes that will help you to drastically improve it going forward.
How can I change my lifestyle?
Changing your lifestyle doesn't have to mean abandoning your entire previous way of living for a replacement model that you just can't stick to. Healthy lifestyle changes need only be small to be effective - there's no need to push yourself too far out of your comfort zone.
So, what can we do to be healthy? It can often seem like there's too much advice on the subject these days: what to eat, what not to eat, what's good for you, what isn't. It's confusing, and to make matters worse, it seems like the experts can never make up their minds when it comes to what really makes us healthy.
You don't have to overcomplicate things, though. Stick to what you know, and you're less likely to go wrong. Below is a breakdown of 3 simple indisputable changes you can implement in your daily routine if you want to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.
1. Be more active
There are so many ways to increase your day-to-day activity, and it's one of the easiest things to do to live a healthy life. If you can't - or don't want to - fit regular sessions at the gym into your daily routine, you can still benefit from simple exercises such as walking or cycling to work, or even taking the stairs instead of the escalator whenever you get the opportunity.
Another fun, easy way to stay active is to take up a sport, which you can do with a friend or family member if you're not comfortable going alone. Sports bring enjoyment, encourage teamwork and communication, and keep you fit without you necessarily realising it. Many people go onto make good friends with fellow sportsmen and women, so there really are advantages aplenty to taking up a sporting hobby.
The benefits of regular physical activity are countless, and it's likely that you're not even aware of most of them. Some of the top reasons to take up exercise today are:
- To manage your weight; shed excess fat (if combined with a healthy diet)
- To strengthen the bones and muscles
- To prevent common health conditions such as heart disease
- For healthier, clearer skin
- To boost energy levels and reduce fatigue
- To improve mood and mental health
- For better quality sleep
Incorporating physical activity into your lifestyle doesn't have to be hard, even if you don't have the time to dedicate to a full-on daily exercise regime. Making small changes, like going for a walk on your work lunch breaks or investing in a standing office desk, will help you to gradually improve your fitness levels with very little effort involved.
2. Eat 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables
Eating more fruits and vegetables is another easy lifestyle change that can benefit your health in the short and long term. You can incorporate five servings of fruits and vegetables per day into your diet for a healthy way of living with minimal effort required, and it doesn't have to be unenjoyable for you, either.
If you're not a fan of certain textures of fruits and vegetables, you can always blend them up into a healthy morning breakfast smoothie with whatever other ingredients you fancy. An alternative would be to drink fruit juices - although you may be asking yourself, 'Does orange juice count as a serving of fruit?' This is disputable, as some people think fruit juices contain too many sugars to count as one of your five a day, but in essence, they are still considered to be part of the fruit group.
Fruits and vegetables provide a whole range of essential vitamins and minerals. Here are the main benefits of making sure you get your five a day, every day:
- For maintaining a healthy gut and digestive system
- To boost energy levels
- To reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes
- To prevent nutrient deficiencies
- To reduce bacteria levels in the body
You can easily incorporate your five a day into your daily diet by making small changes to the foods you already consume. Try adding fruits to your breakfast cereals, or switching some of your more carbohydrate-heavy foods, like pasta, for easy-cook vegetables. Go for vegetable-based soups for lunch, and opt for easy snacking fruits or veggies, such as apples or carrot sticks, whenever you're feeling peckish.
3. Drink more water
It's surprising how few of us drink the recommended amount of water a day, with even fewer of us even understanding why water is so important for our health. It's far too easy to switch up a glass of water for a cup of tea or coffee, which, while they have their own benefits, can lead to dehydration and prevent your body from functioning as it should do.
It is recommended that you drink a minimum of two litres of water a day, which is more than manageable when you put your mind to it. A good way to make sure you're hitting your daily target is to purchase a two-litre water bottle and drink from it until you've reached the bottom - that way you know if you're falling behind and you need to drink more. There are even water bottles that give you pointers on exactly what times you should be drinking what amounts, which is a great way to stay motivated.
The benefits of drinking water go above and beyond simply keeping you hydrated. You can also drink water for healthy skin, better sleep, and improved health on the whole. Making sure to get your two litres a day will also ensure:
- Your appetite will be suppressed, making you less likely to reach for unnecessary snacking foods
- You will be more alert and less fatigued during the day
- Your skin stays clear and healthy
- Your joints stay lubricated
- Your digestive system can function correctly
- You can maintain your blood pressure
- Your airways stay clear
You don't have to find drastic ways to drink more water. If you're worried about having to use the toilet too often while at work or out and about, just pick times in the day that are best for you. One of the most beneficial times to drink a glass or two of water is in the early morning, when your body needs replenishing the most.