Quick and easy tips for healthy living

6 09 2010

So you want to experience the benefits of being healthy.  A healthy lifestyle leads to having more natural energy, getting sick less, being proud of your appearance, and just feeling better in general. The problem is, there are only 24 hours in a day, and there are other things to worry about.   A family to provide for, bills to pay, friends to see, and interests to catch up on.  How can you possibly fit another commitment, a lifelong one for that matter, into your schedule?

Maybe you’ve tried to live a healthier lifestyle at times in the past, but your attempts to resist the pizza, the beer, and the tube were all futile.  Perhaps you worked out for a few weeks, and when the results weren’t immediately evident, you went back to the comfort of your lazy boy recliner.

Sometimes taking on an overwhelming change in lifestyle can doom you for failure.  Sometimes its the small things that will make the biggest impact in the end.  Here are a few small changes you can make to your everyday lifestyle that will make a lasting impact on your health and your overall quality of life.

Prepare yourself mentally. Having the right mindset is half the battle.  Before you start your journey toward a healthy lifestyle, take a day or so and ask yourself why do you want to pursue a healthier future?  Are the sacrifices worth the gains?  (hint: they are!)

Lose the sodas. Sodas are one of the leading contributors to obesity in our country today.  Soda is extremely high in sugar and calories, has absolutely no nutritional value, is a large contributor to tooth decay, leads to caffeine dependency, weakens bone strength, and highly contributes to weight gain.  The diet alternative is of no more nutritional value, either.  Drinkers of diet soda are still vulnerable to the acidic effects of soda.

Meditate for 5 minutes a day. Meditation is widely associated with weirdos and hipsters, but it would be foolish to ignore the benefits that even a small amount of it offers.  Meditation is great for stress relief, helps with relaxation, increases blood flow and reduces the heart rate, reduces anxiety, decreases muscle tension, and enhances the immune system.  You don’t have to be sitting cross-legged on the floor to meditate effectively.  Just straighten your spine, keep the crown of your head straight up, close your eyes, and focus on breathing slowly and steadily.  If meditation interests you, the internet is crammed full of useful information on how to get your feet wet.

Floss daily. Flossing on a regular basis helps decrease your risk of gum disease.  Some research has linked chronic gum disease to stroke, heart disease, erectile dysfunction, and low birth weight in newborns.

Swap the elevator for the stairs. Choosing the stairs over the elevator on a daily basis will result in reduced blood-sugar levels, which can help reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.  Also, climbing stairs burns seven times the number of calories expended standing inactive in an elevator.

Drink skim milk instead of whole. Skim milk has 60 fewer calories, 7.5g less fat, and more calcium than whole milk, making it much better for weight loss.  If you dislike the taste of skim milk, slowly work your way down from whole milk.  Go from whole to 2% for a week, then down to 1% for a week, and eventually to skim.  Just like anything else, it will take getting used to, but you will get used to it.  I now prefer the taste of skim milk to whole.

Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime. This tip is a bit of a two-way street.  Eating and snacking before bed is not good for you unless you burn at least 600-700 calories a day and your metabolism is amped enough to burn the calories during your sleep.  If your metabolism is ready to tackle late night eating, a protein shake just before bed can actually be healthy for you.  So take this step according to your current amount of physical activity.

Sleep better. It is recommended to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  Sleep is actually a connection between your mind and body, and both aspects can suffer from a lack of sleep. Unhealthy sleeping habits can also make you prone to high blood pressure, diabetes, and a lower metabolic rate.

Swap butter for cholesterol free butter. Butter Buds is my weapon of choice here.  There is very little difference in taste, and Butter Buds has no fat and only 5 calories per serving.

Of course there are many other simple and effective ways to live a healthy lifestyle, but these are just some of the things that can be done with a minimal amount of time, effort, and expense.  If you are wanting to get on track to a healthy future, but don’t know how or when is best, these tips are a good place to start.  No more excuses!


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