10 Achievable Healthy Habits to Improve Your Health and Wellness
Taking care of your health and fitness can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. The key is to start with small, achievable steps that work for you. This gradual approach is more effective than trying to make big changes all at once.
Making small changes, like gradually increasing the distance you run, will help you establish healthy habits at your own pace. It's important to prioritise your physical and mental health, as both are crucial to long-term health and happiness.
Many trendy wellness approaches focus on appearance, but it's important to consider what it truly means to take care of your health. To help you thrive both mentally and physically, here are our top ten tips:
1. Get more active
2. 5,000 Steps a DAY
3. Eat Well and Increase Your Vitamin Intake
4. Limit Your Screen Time
5. Practice real self-care.
6. Prioritise Your Physical and Mental Health
7. Get outside everyday
8. Be Consistent
9. INCORPORATE MOBILITY EXERCISES
10. Stop Weighing Yourself
GET MORE ACTIVE
The primary focus for many individuals is to become more physically active each year, and this is not surprising. Physical activity can benefit your heart, lungs, mood, energy levels, and sleep, while also reducing the risk of disease, injury, and stress.
Exercise is often used as a tool to improve mental health, in addition to enhancing physical fitness. Our sedentary lifestyles are contributing to poor health, and more movement is needed to care for our mental health. You may have noticed that you feel much better after getting up from your desk and going for a walk.
When you exercise, endorphins are released, which are the "feel-good" chemicals in the brain. As a result, you feel a sense of euphoria or energised after working out.
Increasing your level of activity will also help you achieve weight loss goals, and the benefits of exercising regularly are endless. Despite this knowledge, it can be challenging for individuals to maintain a consistent exercise habit. That is why it is essential to add exercise to your routine gradually so that it becomes a lifestyle habit rather than a passing phase.
Increasing your daily steps, committing to 2-3 workouts per week, whether at the gym or at home, or opting to walk to work instead of driving are some of the ways you can incorporate more activity into your daily routine. You want to make your fitness goals manageable, so find any way to enhance your daily activity, as this can contribute to improved health and happiness.
5,000 STEPS A DAY
Sounds like a lot? There’s been a saying in the health industry to take 10,000 steps daily to stay healthy, but this was believed to be more of a marketing tactic created by a Japanese company in 1965 than a scientific one.
Several researchers found that women who averaged 4,400 steps daily had a 41 percent lower mortality rate than those women who averaged 2,700 steps. It was also shown that mortality rates even lowered the more steps one would take, and eventually tapers off at 7,500 per day.
EAT WELL AND INCREASE YOUR VITAMIN INTAKE
Eating a healthy and nutrient-rich diet is essential for improving your overall health and wellbeing. A healthy diet supports bodily functions, immune system, mood, recovery, energy levels, and maintaining homeostasis. However, there are several barriers to enjoying a nutrient-dense, whole-food-rich diet such as time, health issues, money, accessibility, education, and convenience.
To make it easier for you to eat healthily, here are some health tips:
- Food preparation is essential as it saves time, is cost-effective, and helps in portion control.
- Purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables, which expands the variety in your diet and keeps costs down.
- Buy frozen fruits and vegetables as they are cheaper and often have higher nutrient density than fresh produce.
- Reuse healthy recipes to save time and keep you on track.
- If your focus is on lifting in the gym, it's crucial to eat enough protein and carbs, especially after weight training, to aid in muscle recovery and replenish depleted glycogen stores.
Supplements may be necessary to increase vitamin intake due to dietary requirements or location. In such cases, it's advisable to do your research or seek professional advice on which vitamins and nutrients you may be deficient in. This way, you can create a supplement routine that is beneficial to your health and helps you hit your targets.
LIMIT YOUR SCREEN TIME
Reducing your screen time can be an excellent way to make room for healthy habits while also potentially improving your mental health. Excessive screen time, however, may cause various issues such as eye discomfort, neck and shoulder stiffness, sleep deprivation, and increased insulin levels, leading to fat buildup in the bloodstream.
Moreover, a study indicated that cutting screen time to only 30 minutes each day (outside of work) resulted in a significant improvement in the well-being of participants.
PRACTICE REAL SELF CARE
Self-care is more than just indulging in hot baths and entertainment like Netflix, according to psychiatrist Dr. Poojah Lakshmin.
PRIORITISE REST AND RECOVERY
Getting quality rest is crucial for our overall health and wellbeing, yet it is often overlooked or deprioritised. Physical rest is one of the seven types of rest our bodies need to fully recharge, consisting of both active and passive elements. Passive rest is when your body completely shuts down during sleep or napping, while active rest is when you engage in activities such as stretching, yoga, or massage therapy to aid in restoration.
A good night's sleep is essential for muscle growth and recovery, which occurs through protein synthesis. It is especially important to get enough REM sleep, where the body releases the growth hormone necessary for muscle repair. The more sleep you get, the better for muscle growth.
Active rest, including stretching, hot or cold water therapy, and massage, is also important for muscle recovery, promoting circulation, flexibility, and reducing muscle soreness. To prioritise muscle recovery, it is essential to incorporate enough physical rest, engage in active rest activities, and fuel the body with enough protein and carbs. Don't forget to avoid skipping rest days to ensure optimal physical rest and recovery.
GET OUTSIDE EVERYDAY
From a gentle walk around the park to hiking up a mountain, getting outside every single day is a really healthy habit to get into.
It not only rises your vitamin D levels, it can also help to improve your mood, reduce stress or anger, aid relaxation, improve your confidence, make new connections and obviously be more active.
The phrase "consistency is key" is a well-known adage for a reason. Consistency is essential in accomplishing any goals, whether they are related to fitness, career, or skill development. Consistent effort allows for momentum to build and facilitates progress.
Furthermore, consistent behaviour helps foster self-trust and creates a sense of accountability, enabling you to track your progress and make adjustments as necessary.
INCORPORATE MOBILITY EXERCISES
You've been putting off addressing your shoulder problem for a year now, and while you once committed to ankle mobility exercises to improve your squat, that habit didn't stick.
Good mobility is necessary for everyday activities, such as climbing stairs or lifting heavy objects, as it enables functional movement. Mobile joints offer a full range of motion, which can help prevent injuries, reduce pain, improve posture, and enhance exercises like squats.
To incorporate more mobility exercises, take a 5-10 minute break from your screen and do some mobility exercises whenever you can. Additionally, you can add 5-10 minutes of mobility drills to your warm-up before your workout, focusing on the joints you'll use during your workout. This way, you'll end up having five mobility sessions a week if you work out five times a week. If you're new to exercise or don't have a workout routine yet, starting with mobility exercises is a great way to begin building physical activity into your routine.
For some simple and effective mobility exercises to include in your routine, you can check out Merakilo's recommended hip, shoulder, front rack, and desk worker mobility exercises.
STOP WEIGHING YOURSELF
Frequent weigh-ins can be a source of stress for many people, leading to feelings of elation or depression depending on the number displayed on the scale. However, striving for a healthy weight is a positive goal, and it is best achieved through regular exercise and healthy eating habits rather than constant monitoring of weight fluctuations. It's important to focus on overall health and well-being, rather than just a number on the scale.