Were you one of the millions who resolved to adopt new healthy lifestyle habits a few short weeks ago? Have those habits already fallen by the wayside? I know, I know, believe me I know that leading a healthier life is not easy, but it’s so important. Not only do we want to feel good, but taking care of ourselves leads to more time (longer life) and more money (fewer medical bills). Certainly all that should be a good enough incentive. So if you’re motivated, but still find yourself falling short on some of those big health goals—I’m looking at you, diet and exercise—perhaps you should begin with some simpler healthy habits. Best of all, these cost you nothing…no organic foods or gym membership required.
4 Healthy Lifestyle Habits to Adopt
If you’re reading this, I’m fairly sure that you’re breathing. But unless you have a respiratory problem, most people ignore their breath and breathing process. Proper breathing enables the diaphragm, the strong muscle between your chest and abdomen, to inhale and exhale properly. When the diaphragm moves up and down it allows the expansion of the lungs to properly oxygenate and expel carbon dioxide. When your breath is shallow, your diaphragm can’t get enough oxygen into your system and you can feel short of breathe and anxious. Full deep breathing allows your heartbeat to slowdown and reduces your blood pressure.
Keep things simple. With practice, you can take a few minutes each day to breathe deeply and fill your longs properly or check out these simple breathing exercises. If done every day it will be like pushing the relax button on your body and taking a health break!
Take a Walk
Less than 50% of all people get enough physical activity in America today. The number’s even lower for women and senior citizens. This raises the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other health issues. The good news is that walking daily, as little as 10 minutes moderately (around 2.5 mph), can improve your health dramatically. Whether you walk in winter, spring, summer or fall make sure you are dressed appropriately and with good walking shoes. Pick a safe neighborhood route and do it every day. You can even take a friend and share the benefits. Or if it’s nasty outside, try walking around at a local museum or shopping mall (just stay away from the shopping part to keep it free!).
Get Enough Sleep
Try to never skimp on your sleep because of your workload, family, or stress. Long days and insufficient sleep are now linked to insulin production resistance, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. It can also lead to increased hunger and stress.
In addition to getting enough sleep, you’ll also want to think about the quality of your sleep. Practicing good “sleep hygiene” can help immensely. Stay away from the computer and smartphone screens before bedtime. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Avoid caffeine and other stimulants before bed. Learn more tips at Sleep.org.
If you get a good night’s sleep, your energy level will increase and you will get more done during the daytime hours.
Drink Enough Water
Water is found in every tissue, organ and cell within your body. It flushes the toxins out, transports nutrients, and keeps your ears, nose, and throat moist. While you don’t necessarily need eight 8 oz. glasses of water per day, you do need to make sure you drink enough water.
If you fail to take in enough water into your system, you can become dehydrated fairly easily. Symptoms of dehydration are dry and or cracked lips, constipation, dry skin, and fatigue. Even mild dehydration can contribute to falling down from dizziness and a swift drop in blood pressure. This is especially true for older people.
Coffee drinkers are especially prone to dehydration since coffee is a diuretic in itself. If you’re drinking more than a cup a day, have water afterwards to offset the diuretic effect.
So there’s four free habits you can develop fairly easily. Master those and then move on to the bigger challenges of eating right and getting enough exercise. Health is one of those treasures that we often don’t think about until we lose it. Don’t wait for that to happen, start now!
Are you doing these simple tasks to improve your health? What other tips do you have to establish healthy habits that are simple, easy, and free?
Image courtesy of nenetus at freedigitalphotos.net (with changes)