It’s very simple. The way you treat your body will determine how well it will function as you grow older. Most of us are aware of this and also of what exactly we should do to keep our body and mind healthy well into our golden years. So, why aren’t we all doing what we should? Mostly because it’s much easier to reach for fast food than to cook a proper meal, it’s faster to get somewhere by car than on foot, and sitting in front of the TV with a huge bag of chips is often more convenient than going jogging. Plus, when you think of all the things you should change about your lifestyle, you can get overwhelmed. The key is to do it gradually, one small but firm step at a time. Here are five steps towards better overall health and improved quality of life.
Keep your drinks sugar-free
When it comes to hydration, it’s very important for your wellbeing. However, not everything you drink is good for you. The best choice is, obviously, plain water, and about eight glasses of it per day. If the taste of water bores you and you want something different, you can always infuse it with some fresh fruit. Squeeze a lemon or a grapefruit, or even some pomegranate for that refreshing flavor. Another option is to boil some tea, especially green tea. Whatever you choose, just don’t let it be sugary drinks, such as soda or fruit juice. Those are loaded with sugar which can lead to obesity and some even more serious health issues, such as heart disease or type 2 diabetes. Even those drinks which are advertised as healthy and with antioxidant properties usually contain too much sugar to actually benefit you in any way, so try staying away from them.
Commit yourself to a physical activity
Regular physical activity keeps you fitter and improves your immune function, and that can lower your chances of getting hypertension, stroke or heart disease down the road. Also, it enhances your strength, flexibility, and stamina, allowing you to perform your everyday tasks with more ease. Exercise is also beneficial to your mental health, as it boosts your mood and your self-esteem. Therefore, if you’ve been living a sedentary life and haven’t been active for a long time, start with short walks and then keep adding distance and speed to them as you gain back your strength. Also, there are many types of workout which you could find joyful. If gym exercises aren’t your cup of tea, try yoga, dancing, or get a bike and ride it instead of driving your car whenever possible. Once you get a hang of it, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to start.
Reconsider your choice of protein sources
When you mention protein, most people’s minds instantly wander towards meat. However, there are some great options which don’t originate from animals. In fact, there are multiple vegan protein sources you can rely on for proper nutrient intake, and it’s a common misconception that vegans don’t get enough protein. For instance, soy products, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and beans are loaded with protein. If those don’t interest you, how about potatoes, spinach or broccoli? So, instead of gorging yourself on steaks and deep-fried chicken, try switching to these plant-based foods, which will most likely make you feel light and energetic.
Get enough rest
Sleeping enough is another requirement for good long-term health, but one that we often don’t pay enough attention to. This is something you should work on. Getting your eight hours of sleep is crucial for your body, and especially your brain to work normally. When you’re sleep deprived, you could easily become nervous, irritated and have trouble concentrating on anything, which then decreases your productivity. This can even lead to stress and anxiety. It’s up to you to create a routine which will have you in bed and out of it at the same time every day, including weekends, and one which won’t include you staring at your computer, phone or TV until the moment you close your eyes. The lights from those screens send your brain the signal that it’s not time to sleep yet, which can make it difficult to fall asleep. Instead, have a cup of chamomile tea and get some uninterrupted and restful sleep every night.
Choose fresh over-processed foods
Processed foods can be very tasty. Actually, that’s how they’re made. The companies who sell them want you to buy their products, so they make them so desirable to your taste buds, that you simply can’t resist them. However, these foods are usually full of sugar, or even worse, high fructose corn syrup, salt, bad fats, and various artificial ingredients. More often than not, they contain a high count of empty calories, meaning that they don’t contain the nutrients you need to stay healthy. They are the primary cause of obesity and they can damage your metabolism greatly. This is why it’s always a good idea to choose real food over the processed, especially fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, avoid eating junk food during the day and visiting restaurants that serve it. Rather make your own meals at home, from scratch. Nowadays, there are so many quick and simple recipes for healthy meals online, that you really don’t have an excuse to keep eating something which could harm you and eventually make you sick.
Nothing’s as precious as health, so invest your time and effort in yourself by following these five steps. You’ll be glad you did once you’re older.