When it comes to everyday health, there are so many little things that can improve our overall well-being – but many of us tend to put them on the backburner unless we’re going through times of heightened awareness (like after receiving a diagnosis or during flu season). While understandable, it’s important to realize that making your health and wellbeing a priority on a daily basis will not only keep you feeling good, but will also help you live a healthier, happier life.
Here are our top tips for living a healthy life year-round!
Make time for a daily dose of exercise
While it may seem daunting at first, don’t let the idea of daily exercise be intimidating. There are countless ways to exercise, with different variations for people of all ages and athletic ability. Whether you’re doing 30 minutes of daily cardio, lifting weights, going for a daily 10-minute walk, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, keeping active is key to staying as healthy as possible.
Make a conscious effort to eat healthy
We all know the saying, “you are what you eat!” Well, it’s true. Eating a balanced diet is such an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it’s easier than you might think. You don’t need to deprive yourself of the occasional cookie or slice of cake, but making a conscious effort to make better choices – for example, a bowl of fruit instead of ice cream, water instead of soda, or a home-cooked meal instead of fast food – will put you on a fast track to a healthier lifestyle.
Don’t underestimate the power of Vitamin D
It’s something many of us don’t think too much about, but vitamin D plays an important role in the body. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and is also critical for bone growth, keeping them from becoming thin, brittle or misshapen. And together with calcium, vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis. To get your daily dose of vitamin D, sun exposure is best, but it can also be provided by some foods, including mushrooms, and through supplements.
Keep a clean home
Keeping your space clean and disinfected is a great way to stay in tip top health. To make sure your cleaning is effective, first wipe the surfaces clean then follow with a disinfectant wipe or spray, and pay special attention to high-touch surfaces like tables, countertops, doorknobs, bathroom surfaces and the like.
Get your beauty rest
We all love sleep, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it. A good night’s sleep is essential to overall health and wellness, and the goal is seven to eight hours of quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. According to health.gov, getting the right amount of sleep has a number of benefits. You’re more likely to: get sick less often, stay at a healthy weight, lower your risk for serious health problems, reduce stress and stay focused.
It might be obvious, but it’s worth reiterating – proper hydration is crucial to a balanced body. According to Harvard Health Publishing, a healthy person needs 30 to 50 ounces of fluids per day. Additionally, drinking fluids helps maintain the function of a variety of different systems in the body, including the heart, brain and muscles, and also assists in carrying nutrients to cells, flushing bacteria from the bladder, and even preventing constipation.
Wash. Your. Hands.
While most of us are vigilant hand-washers during cold and flu season, it can be easy to get lax throughout the rest of the year. That said, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), handwashing is one of the best ways to protect from getting sick. To wash your hands effectively, follow these five steps
- Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
- Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
- Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
They also recommend washing your hands during the following key times, when you are most likely to get and spread germs:
- Before, during, and after preparing food and before eating food;
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick;
- Before and after treating a cut or wound;
- After using the toilet, changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet;
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing;
- After interacting with an animal or handling pet food;and
- After touching garbage.
Take time for yourself to support mental health
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, make yourself a priority. A healthy mind leads to a healthy soul (and body). So, make sure you’re taking some time to clear your mind, relax and pamper yourself. Whether you block off 30 minutes a day to read or schedule a weekly massage, just make sure to spend some time on yourself.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seem like a big time commitment. But once you’re able to establish a routine that works for you, it becomes much easier and ingrained into daily life.