Does heart disease, diabetes and cancer run in your family? Do you want to beat the odds and adopt a healthier lifestyle? There is good news – this is easier than you might think. Sure, it’ll take sacrifice and determination, and you may occasionally fall off track. But healthy habits can become second nature. You just have to know what to do.
1. Get plenty of sleep.
How many hours do you sleep each night? Seven hours? Five hours? Sleep requirements vary by age and individual, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average adult needs between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. This is recommended for optimal brain function, and regularly sleeping fewer hours can result in poor concentration, irritability and low energy.
Sleep is how your body recharges and repairs itself, and long periods of sleep deprivation can have serious implications on your health – obesity, high blood pressure, depression, etc.
Aim for at least eight hours of sleep each night – more if necessary. To encourage sleep, create a comfortable sleep environment. Turn off the television, radio and lights. Keep the room cool, and avoid stimulating activities before bed, such as playing video games or working on the computer.
2. Exercise on a regular basis.
It only takes about 30 minutes of exercise three times a week to improve your health. Regular exercise is the number one thing a person can do to keep their body in optimal shape, says Dr. Chris Pellow, a chiropractor with Pellow Family Chiropractic in Greenwood, Colorado..
Exercise not only control weight and helps boost energy, it helps you manage and avoid a variety of health conditions, such as heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer.
Regular activity releases brain chemicals which can improve mood and reduce stress, plus it promotes better sleep. Go for a jog, walk, ride your bike or join a gym.
3. Drink water
Sure, juice and soft drinks are flavorful. However, these beverages are loaded with sugar and caffeine, which can add pounds and interrupt your sleep, respectively. Not that you have to completely give up your favorite drinks, but make water your beverage of choice and drink at least eight glasses a day.
The benefits of water go beyond quenching thirst. Water protects your organs and tissues, helps prevent constipation, lubricates joints, and regulates your body temperature, explains the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Additionally, water flushes toxins and removes excess fluids from your body, and carries nutrients and oxygen to cells.
4. Ditch the junk food
It may taste great, but it does nothing for your health. Skip the fatty foods and sugary snacks and treat yourself to four to six ounces of protein at every meal, and five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. You’ll feel better and your body will thank you.
5. Let go of stress
Stress can lead to heart disease, reduce the quality of your sleep and trigger emotional eating. Although you can’t eliminate all stress from your life, you can build your coping mechanisms. Don’t procrastinate, know your limitations, ask for help and learn how to accept the things that you cannot change.
You can’t always control genetics and your age, but fortunately, many things regarding your health are within your hands. Get serious, develop a plan and watch your health improve.