We all know someone who somehow manages to eat healthy, exercise, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep…how do they do it? Living a healthy lifestyle can seem really difficult, and the rules about what’s considered “healthy” are always changing. One day, everyone is into pilates, and the next, they’re all signing up for crossfit. And it’s practically impossible to keep track of every “healthy” food trend. Is it some kind of rule that you have to throw a handful of kale in all your smoothies now? Plus, being healthy can seem really expensive. Gym membership, cute workout clothes, yoga classes, fresh produce…it could all add up pretty quickly.
But, there is some good news: being healthy really doesn’t have to be expensive, difficult, or confusing. There are a few general guidelines that can help anyone get in shape. Here are 15 simple ways to live a healthier lifestyle:
15. Get 8 hours of sleep
Getting enough sleep is crucial to living a healthy lifestyle. It can seem impossible for a million reasons, after all, you’re crazy busy with school and work and you just don’t have a spare hour, right? Wrong. Think of how long you probably spend scrolling through your phone right before you go to sleep and right after you wake up. It could easily add up to an extra hour, which could make a huge difference in how you feel the next day.
When we don’t get enough sleep, we’re more forgetful and less energetic, and it takes more effort to focus and perform everyday tasks. Getting enough sleep will make you feel refreshed and ready to take on the day! Start by planning a relaxing bedtime routine, and put away your phone well before your head hits the pillow. Try reading a book or writing in a journal instead. It’ll clear your mind and help you fall asleep!
14. Take the stairs
There are lots of easy ways to work a little bit of exercise into our daily routines without even thinking about it. You can burn extra calories without a single workout! Develop a “take the stairs” mentality. Think of all the times during the day that you take the easy way out. Maybe you take an escalator or elevator when you could take the stairs. Maybe you always buy white bread of wheat bread, or you love to add an extra spoonful of sugar (or two) to your morning coffee.
Are there any easy, healthy alternatives to any of your daily activities? If so, it’s time to start making changes! When you’re faced with the choice of taking the elevator or climbing a few flights of stairs, take the stairs! This mindset will help you make healthier choices every day that can bring real results without much effort. It almost feels like cheating!
13. Cook instead of eating out
Everyone loves going out to eat. You get a delicious hot meal with absolutely no effort on your part besides reading the menu, it’s convenient and tasty! But even if you order something “healthy” when you go out to eat, there could be lots of hidden sugar or butter in the dish that you’re unaware of.
Plus, lots of restaurants still don’t list the amount of calories in a given meal on their menus, so it’s hard to keep track of how much you’re actually eating. And restaurant portions are often enough for two meals! Add in that bread basket, the free refills on soda, that tempting dessert platter…it can really get difficult to eat healthy at a restaurant.
Your best bet is staying in to cook. Yes, it takes more time and effort, but it’s much cheaper. Everyone should have a few quick, healthy recipes in their back pocket. Going out to eat should be a rare treat.
12. Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated is essential to your health. So many of us are dehydrated on a daily basis. We know that your mom probably bugged you about drinking eight glasses of water each day, and you might be sick of hearing it but it’s true! Drinking enough water has tons of health benefits.
If you find drinking plain water boring, you could try adding some fruit like lemons, strawberries, or melons for a little extra flavor! Eating a healthy diet and getting more physical activity are both necessary to be healthy, but if you’re not drinking enough water, your body still won’t function exactly like it should.
One easy way to drink more water is to simply carry a reusable water bottle in your purse wherever you go. Fill it up as needed throughout the day, and keep an eye on how much you’re drinking. This will help you avoid buying sodas or juices while you’re out and about.
11. Drink green tea
Yes, drinking water is especially important to your overall health, but it’s not the only drink that belongs in a healthy diet. Green tea is practically a miracle worker, and it has a little caffeine to help wake you up on tough mornings. Green tea has lots of health benefits, and it’s packed with antioxidants, which help fight cancer.
If you’ve tried green tea and weren’t a huge fan of the flavor, that’s okay there are lots of ways to make it a little sweeter without sacrificing any of the health benefits. Adding a little honey turns it into a tasty treat that soothes your throat. Plus, you can get green tea mixed with other fruity flavors, like strawberry. If you drink lots of coffee, try replacing one cup with some green tea and see how it makes you feel. Who knows, you might decide to wake up with a big mug of it every day!
10. Snack wisely
Maybe you eat nutritious meals every day, but you struggle when it comes to snack time. It’s so easy to reach for candy or chips when we get hungry throughout the day. Sure, your fridge might be full or fruit, but when you’re craving something sweet or something salty, it’s tough to make the healthy choice.
The good news: there are tons of healthy and delicious snacks out there to choose from, and they’re just as fulfilling as that bag of potato chips but you’ll feel a lot better after you eat them! Berries are a good alternative to sweet candies, whole grain pretzels and nuts will feed your salt craving, and cheese and crackers can give you a crunchy calcium boost. The best way to stay away from unhealthy snacks is not to buy them in the first place. Stock your pantry with healthy snack foods after your next trip to the grocery store.
Does the idea of sitting quietly with your eyes closed sound a little…well, boring? Meditation can be tough to do correctly. After all, how do you silence your thoughts and focus on breathing without your mind drifting off to the million other things you could be doing? Meditating for even five minutes a day isn’t actually too hard, and it can help you stay relaxed and calm throughout the day.
It might not seem like it’s directly helping your physical health, but your mental health is just as important! And if you’ve tried meditating before and failed miserably, there’s still hope for you. Meditation has gained popularity in recent years, so there are lots of self-help books and apps that are designed to help you develop a meditation practice that works for you. Do a little research and give it a try you just might surprise yourself and really enjoy it!
8. Find an activity that doesn’t feel like exercise
Does the idea of working out fill you with dread? Do you cringe at the thought of even setting foot in a gym? Have you tried hopping on a treadmill or exercise bike only to hop off a few minutes later because you were completely bored? We often think that getting physical activity has to be a long, grueling affair and that only certain forms of exercise will really help us get in shape. But that’s simply not true.
There are lots of ways to work out that don’t even feel like exercising, but you’ll still burn calories, lose weight, and get toned! Have you thought about picking up a dance class, swinging by a yoga studio, or trying aerial silks? Is there an area where you’d like to go hiking? Did you love going swimming as a kid? If you live near the beach or mountains, surfing or skiing could be fun to try!
7. Walk or bike instead of driving
If you have a car, you probably use it to get almost everywhere. It’s faster and more convenient than walking. But walking instead of driving can help you burn a ton of extra calories without making a major lifestyle change.
Walking actually does count as a form of exercise! Plus, walking regularly will absolutely help you tone up your legs, no running or weight machines required! Maybe you live too far away from school or work to walk there, but how far is your grocery store? Your friends’ houses? Anywhere else that you have to go to run errands? You might be surprised to find that they might be within a reasonable walking distance.
Sure, you’ll have to leave a little more time in your schedule to get there, but it’s an easy adjustment. You could also replace driving with biking it will be faster than walking, and it also counts as exercise!
6. Eat the rainbow
Think about the food pyramid for a second. Each section kind of had a different color. Carbs were beige or brown, dairy was white and yellow, fruits were practically a rainbow, and veggies were bright green. Believe it or not, just looking at the color of food on your plate can help you determine how nutritious it is, you don’t even need to read the ingredients list.
Think about it, fruits and veggies are the healthiest things you could eat. So your plate at any given meal should look pretty colorful! If you want to have a truly healthy diet, you should aim to “eat the rainbow.” Think of all your favorite fruits and veggies and hit up your local farmers market and the produce section at your grocery store. It will probably be cheaper and tastier than you think, and once you get used to eating lots of fruits and veggies, your body will feel amazing!
5. Choose grilled over fried
Fried chicken, greasy potato chips, French fries…it seems like all the most delicious foods are fried. But frying adds a ton of unnecessary calories to potentially healthy meals. And be honest with yourself don’t you feel kind of bloated and gross after eating a ton of fried food? Sure, “Fried Food Friday” in the dining hall might seem like a good idea at the time, but when you’re lying on the couch feeling lazy and stuffed, you might regret it just a little bit.
Luckily, it’s easy to replace fried foods with grilled or baked options. For example, getting a salad with “crispy” chicken is tasty, but ordering that same salad with grilled chicken will really cut down on the amount of calories and harmful fats and oils that you would be consuming. Living a healthy lifestyle is all about balance, so treating yourself to something fried is okay once in a while.
4. Keep a food diary
Maybe the last time you kept a diary was in 7th grade when you would come home after school every day just to write about how your crush barely looked at you when you two bumped into each other in the hallway. But there’s a different kind of diary that can really help you stay on track with a healthy lifestyle. Keeping a food diary will allow you to see exactly what you’re eating throughout the day.
Having all of that information in front of you gives you the chance to look through it and see where you could make changes. For example, maybe you never realized how often you went out to eat or how many times you stopped at Starbucks in a given week. Keeping a food diary is simple you don’t even have to count calories. Just write down what you’re eating and when and use it to see where you could make healthier choices.
3. Take active breaks
If you genuinely wish you could work out more but you truly do not have any extra time to devote to the gym, you’ll have to get creative when it comes to working out. Here’s the thing: you don’t need a lot of time every day to squeeze in a little more physical activity. Think about all the little breaks you get your lunch break at work, for instance, or that half hour between classes when you try to nap.
Is there any way you could work in a few crunches, a walk around the block, or some push ups? Living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be a big sacrifice. You probably do have enough time for a quick workout of some sort every day. Get creative and think of how you can fit physical activity around your existing schedule. Once you start making an effort, you’ll see that you always had enough time.
2. Stock up on “superfoods”
You may hear the term “superfoods” thrown around and wondered what it meant. The term is pretty general and can easily be misused, but basically, a “superfood” is a single food source that has a ton of different vitamins, minerals, or essential nutrients packed in. Including a few “superfoods” in your diet is an easy way to eat healthier without much effort.
Lots of “superfoods” don’t even require any preparation or cooking! If you have a bit of a sweet tooth, dig into a box of blueberries at breakfast. If you’re looking for something to add to your salads or sandwiches, slice up a tomato. And if you’re looking to make a meal stocked with “superfoods,” grilled salmon with a side of veggies like broccoli is a tasty option. Adding just one or two “superfoods” to each meal can really make any dish a little healthier, and you might discover a new favorite food!
1. Find a workout buddy
Changing your lifestyle can be difficult. But everything is a little easier with a friend by your side, right? See if any of your friends are interested in working out with you or learning to cook some new healthy recipes. Or if you already have a friend that’s super into fitness, ask if you can tag along with them one day while they exercise or do some meal prep.
You can learn a lot and ask them all your questions! Plus, getting fit with a friend will help you stay motivated. On days when you think you just can’t drag yourself out of bed to go to the gym, or night when you’re so tired you’re tempted to get a pizza delivered, you can always shoot them a quick text for a pep talk. Plus, everything is more fun with a friend when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, the more the merrier!
StickeeBra believes in always improving ourselves, healthy and happy living, as well as maintaining close relationships with our family, partner and friends. Without the support of our loved ones, there wouldn't be us here today.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the (others) author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of StickeeBra, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that it features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied upon for specific medical advice.
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