We all know that health is a lifelong work in progress. It is not a finite ‘thing’. It can’t be checked off of a To-Do list. There comes a point, however, when you have educated yourself and have enough knowledge to live in the world. Feeling, intuition, and awareness need to be introduced and merged into technique for real growth to happen. Certain people have an innate ability to fuse their knowledge into their daily practice. Others must remind themselves daily to follow healthy habits and make smart choices. Whether you fall into the first category or the latter, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help you to live longer happily. Here are seven things that healthy people do regularly to nurture their bodies and minds.
1. They get plenty of sleep. Sleep is vital for good health. Inadequate sleep makes a person more irritable and cripples their ability to concentrate. What you may not realize is that sleep also impacts your immune system, your weight, and your risk for serious medical illnesses. Studies have shown that those who suffer from lack of sleep and sleep disorders are less productive, spend more on health care, and have an increased likelihood of accidents compared to healthy people. Most healthy people not only exercise every day, they make sure to get the sleep they know they need. When we sleep, vital hormones are produced and regeneration occurs. It is imperative to vital daily function. Some people function great on six hours a night—some on eight. Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but don’t get caught up in the number.
2. They prepare healthy meals ahead of time. Making the commitment to live a healthy lifestyle means taking the time to do it right. One of the downsides of eating healthy is the time and effort that it takes. It is much ‘easier’ to eat poorly. There are fast, cheap, unhealthy foods available all around us. Healthy people spend time prepping healthy meals so that they do not succumb to the fast-food fix. This can mean preparing a healthy lunch the night before you go to work so you don’t have to go out to eat; cutting up veggies to take as snacks when you’re on the go; and freezing healthy foods to use at a later date. Choose a day of the week to dedicate to food prep.
3. They Have Fun With Fitness. If variety is the spice of life, why not apply that to your fitness regimen, as well? Whether your preference is running, lifting weights or cycling, it is always good to branch out and try something new and exhilarating. Give Cross Fit a go. Try a Zumba class. Or sweat it out in a hot yoga session. Even if they are not doing a full routine at the gym, healthy people find time to exercise daily, whether it’s a walk around the block or a four-mile run. When you’re in a rut, exercise can feel more like a have-to than a want-to. Introduce something enjoyable and exciting to your routine every few weeks to keep you engaged and excited about your workouts.
4. They have goals. Healthy individuals set goals of what they want to achieve and they create an action plan to actually achieve it. While they are fully aware of their failures, they don’t allow those failures to set them back. Rather, they serve as a learning curve that only motivates them to reach their goals even quicker. They don’t beat themselves up about sticking to the same plan every single day, but they know that if they dedicate themselves to a few days a week at the gym or following a meal plan, they are far less likely to deviate from their goals. Procrastination is stress inducing and draining. Tackling nagging tasks can set us free and help us feel happier. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and ineffective about the things you need to accomplish, just take one step today. Tomorrow, take the next step. The forward motion is encouraging, and will help you get things done. Set a goal, create a game plan, and work towards it.
5. They drink water. Our bodies are made up primarily of water. It is vital that we drink a lot of it to maintain our health. Many of us are chronically dehydrated despite our abundant access to clean, potable water. Water is essential for proper circulation, digestion, and healthy skin. It also transports other nutrients to the rest of your body. So how much should you drink? Cut your body weight in pounds in half, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink each day. If your exercising regimen has you sweating out your H20, you will need to drink more. Try to have an extra 8oz for every hour of exercise you partake in. While it is okay to enjoy a morning or evening coffee or even an occasional glass or two of wine with dinner, for the most part, water is the healthy person’s primary drink of choice.
6. They Go Offline. While social media has its place in today’s world, there is a science to actual, face-to-face interactions. Technology has some wonderful benefits, but the constant stream of incoming emails, text messages and social media posts can take its toll, leaving us feeling distracted, stressed and even depressed. Simple changes in the way we use technology can help. Healthy people limit checking email and social media to only a few times a day and deactivate alerts on their cell phones whenever possible. They try to unplug from all electronics at least 30 minutes before bed and make their family members do the same. So read a book, go for a walk or chat with your neighbor. Do whatever it takes to put the electronic device down and connect with the world around you.
7. They surround themselves with other healthy people. Healthy people have a tendency to participate in healthy behaviors with others who share their outlook. Having close friends and family has far-reaching benefits for your health. A strong social support network can be critical in helping you through the stress of rough times. You will often find healthy people exercising with their other healthy friends. We all have enablers in our lives, but healthy people make it a point to balance it out with other friends who also participate in a healthy lifestyle.
The key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is balance. Imagine your body is a scale. You want the two sides to be in a state of equilibrium. When you lead a life filled with healthy habits, you give your body the tools in needs to reach its ultimate sense of balance.