We all desire to be healthy, but to achieve our best personal health, we have to be willing to commit to some specific healthy living habits. The great thing about going on a healthy living journey is that the keys to living well are much simpler than the diet and fitness industries make it seem. You don’t need expensive gym memberships or fancy powders and potions to achieve the healthy lifestyle you dream of. All you need is to commit to some simple and very achievable habits.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Our bodies depend on water. Well over half of our bodies are made up of water. So, it stands to reason that keeping our bodies hydrated is of utmost importance. We also know that staying hydrated is important for keeping your blood sodium down and naturally thinning out your blood. The right amount of water consumption per day can make a difference in your blood pressure and help protect your heart in the long term. Here’s the catch, when we say you need to drink plenty of water, we mean water. Not soda, juice, or coffee, but actual water. We know a lot of people aren’t in the habit of drinking water every day and we have a couple of tips that can help you increase your intake. First and foremost, invest in a reusable water bottle that you can take with you everywhere you go. Headed out to run errands, you’ll always have something in the car to quench your thirst. And, if drinking water just isn’t your thing, consider a product like TrueLemon which is pure, crystallized lemon. No sugar, caffeine, or processed junk to worry about. Add a little flavor to your glass of water and you may be surprised how easy it is to stay hydrated.
2. Prioritize Your Sleep
Along with a healthy portion of daily water, you simply cannot survive without sleep. Far too many of us are walking around like zombies because we have never developed good sleep habits and it is taking a toll on our heart health. If you want to focus on healthy living in your life, prioritize restful sleep. If you think there may be something medically causing you not to sleep as well as you should, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Sleep apnea, as an extremely common sleep disorder, is often linked to higher rates of heart disease.
For many of us, though, our sleep issues are connected to a lack of what experts call sleep hygiene. We are bombarded with blue light emanating from our devices all day long. Blue light blocks your body’s ability to create melatonin and therefore makes it nearly impossible for many people to enjoy good quality sleep. If you’re committed to changing your sleep habits in the name of healthy living, remove all of the blue light-emitting devices from your bedroom. That includes televisions, laptops, and cell phones. Turn your bedroom into a sanctuary for sleep and we truly believe you’ll experience long-term health benefits.
3. Move Your Body
If you’re not a regular exerciser, you may be intimidated by the idea of developing a fitness habit. Your mind probably brings up images of hulking personal trainers and extreme workout trends. But the truth is, even a little bit of added movement each day can increase your healthy living quotient. Forget the intimidating fitness classes, one of the best exercises for maintaining a healthy heart is walking. That’s right, walking. A regular habit of walking increases your heart rate strengthens your bones and muscles and increases the circulation in your body. Not to mention the number of mental health benefits that can be gained from getting outside and enjoying the fresh air.
Getting started on any new habit can be intimidating and even uncomfortable. The best way to start your new walking habit is in short, consistent bursts. It’s ok if you can’t walk a mile or two right off the bat. Commit first to walking around your block once a day. Then, after a week or so, try it twice a day. Before you know it you’ll be moving regularly and well on your way to healthy living.
4. Focus on Good Food
We find this is one of the healthy living habits that is most difficult for our patients to adjust to. Food is often associated with culture, your family of origin, and happy memories. Food is the first thing we turn to in times of celebration and for some the first thing we reach for when we’re feeling low. So what do we do when all of our strongest emotions are tied to unhealthy foods? We form new connections.
We’re not here to be the fun police and take away your favorite foods forever. But, we do want to encourage you, as you pursue this new healthy living lifestyle, to focus on swapping out some of the most problematic things you eat with healthier versions. You must confer with your cardiologist to know what diet will be best for your particular heart health. Some good rules to live by are to avoid foods that are high in sugar, fat, and salt and those foods that are highly processed.
5. Maintain Relationships
Finally, and this may be a surprise to you, but maintaining healthy relationships is very valuable to healthy living. Meaningful friendships reduce stress, improve self-confidence, and hopefully keep you accountable for your healthy living habits. The last year has proven difficult to maintain a normal social calendar, but as the world opens back up it’s important to make time for friendships.
One great way to pair your relationship maintenance with your healthy living efforts is to join your friends in fun, outdoor activities. Want to catch up, invite a friend on a walk rather than out for a drink. Want to start a new hobby? Try yoga or tai chi and include some of your favorite people.
Healthy living may not sound that thrilling, but it can be! And while the world of health marketing is pressuring you to buy more and more healthy living products, this list is packed with free tips to live your best life without the pressure to buy a single product. If you’re on a healthy living journey and need some help reaching your heart health goals, contact our office today, we’d be happy to help.