Make these 4 key health goals into daily habits
When we set new lifestyle and health goals, especially around New Year’s eve, we usually make them all about losing weight, dropping x pounds or dropping a couple of pants sizes, but leading a healthy lifestyle extends far beyond the “traditional” going on a diet route.
Evolving into the new and best you doesn’t necessarily entail a weight loss routine. Sometimes it’s all about adopting a healthier way of living through a more quality diet, taking up a new sport or a hobby, becoming more physically active, embracing the little joys of life, or just seeking mental clarity and achieving a better work-life balance.
Every little thing counts and can help improve our quality of life, and in turn, your mental and physical health.
1) Set aside time for meditation and self-care
Most of us live in a very fast-paced, high-pressure world, and our daily routines leave no time for us to relax, take some time for ourselves and feel at peace.
Our wellness depends on our mental clarity. One way to achieve a much better mind and body balance is through meditation.
Meditation as a field has been increasing in popularity in the last couple of decades and with good reason. There’s a slew of benefits for meditating, which is the natural process of training your mind to focus and control your thoughts and impulses.
Even setting 10 minutes aside every day to meditate, it has been found to reduce stress, help control and decrease anxiety, improves emotional health, enhances self-awareness, can reduce age-related memory loss, can decrease blood pressure, and even improve your sleeping habits.
Thankfully there are numerous resources you can tap into to learn more about meditation, how to integrate it into your daily routine and make it into a habit. And remember, meditation doesn’t have to be a long-drawn daily activity that frustrates you - after all, that would defeat the purpose of doing it. Even 5 to 10 minutes per day will suffice, and you’ll notice huge differences after just a week.
We’d recommend looking into the Calm app, which is available for iOS and Android; it’s the most popular meditation app with a vast user base and active community.
2) Get enough sleep.
We can’t stress enough how important quality sleep is. According to a study by the National Sleep Foundation, a staggering 35% of Americans have “poor” sleep quality, and up to 20% claimed that they feel tired right after they wake up.
Overall, health and wellness are tightly associated with sleep quality. 67% out of those Americans who don’t get enough sleep or their sleep quality is poor, have reported being in poor health in one way or the other.
Getting enough sleep is crucial for your body; the lack of sleep can cause a plethora of problems:
- Weight gain
- Harder to control appetite
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating
- Higher risk of heart disease and stroke
- Increased type 2 diabetes risk
- Higher chances of depression
- Weaker immune system
- Increased inflammation
- Negative effect on emotional health
- Poor social interactions
- Hindering growth in young people
If you have trouble sleeping or if it takes you a long time to fall asleep, we’d recommend trying some calming exercises before going to bed or putting on some soothing ambiance sounds like water running, forest sounds, etc. All these have proven to work wonders.
3) Fall in love with exercising
Ok, first things first - we need to stop perpetuating the myth that exercise = losing weight. That’s far from the only reason to start exercising and working out. Not everyone is working out to lose weight, and even if you do, there are so many other benefits that you can reap at the same time.
Even if you don’t need to lose weight, working out is one of the best ways to improve your quality of life on every level.
Also, exercising doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to hit the gym 5 times a week and become obsessed with all things fitness. Exercising can take many forms - from taking the stairs instead of the elevator to simply getting off 1 stop earlier when coming back from work and walking home. There are tons of little additions and tweaks you can do to your day to increase your physical activity and become more fit.
I don’t think there’s enough time to explore all benefits of working out (that have nothing to do with weight loss), but here’s some noteworthy ones:
- Reduce the risk of heart diseases
- Better management of sugar and insulin levels
- Helps you quit smoking (or other vices)
- Improves thinking, judgment skills, and learnings
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Improves sleep
- Improves sexual health
- Improves your mental state and mood
- Helps fight depression
- You live longer
- Strengthens bones and muscles
So there’s not a single reason why you shouldn’t take up some form of exercise and integrate it into your daily routine. Just start small - start walking more every day and take the stairs instead of the elevator; then you can move on to some quick and easy home workouts without equipment, maybe play some sports with friends, and if you want to stick to a more intense training regime join a gym or a sports club.
The point being, there’s no excuse not to exercise as it can cost nothing literally, and you can do it anytime and spend as much or as little time as you want.
4) Drink plenty of water
When you realize that our bodies are made up of 60% water, then the importance of staying hydrated and drinking enough water every day shouldn’t come as a surprise. We can go up to 3 weeks without food, but no longer than 3 days without water, that shows how much our bodies need it.
How much water do you need? According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, adequate daily fluid intake is:
- About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids for men
- About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women
Drinking enough water boasts plenty of health and wellness benefits:
- Helps maintain energy levels and brain function
- Can help in the prevention of headaches and migraines (which are quite often caused due to dehydration)
- Helps treat kidney stones
- Makes you feel satiated
- Controls your appetite
- Helps to lose weight
- Can improve memory and mood
- Helps prevent constipation
- Reduces sugar cravings
- Improves exercise performance
- Helps manage anxiety