If we looked at our lives objectively, most of us would have to admit that we can afford to live healthier lives. And the two main ways to lead a healthy lifestyle are good nutrition and regular activity. We are made to be active, and we need proper nutrition to not only help defend us from disease, but to give us the energy to get through the day. But with our busy lifestyles, we often don’t have time to think about our health, which is leading to some dangerous trends and serious medical issues down the line. So to make sure you are living a healthy and happy life, follow these tips on diet and exercise.
Do you ever think about how much time we actually spend indoors? There are some major issues that occur if we don’t give our bodies enough time outside, yet often our jobs force us to spend a good half of our awake time indoors, usually sitting at a desk. Not to mention all the time spent in closed transportation. And being outdoors usually means being active in some way. Instead of going to the gym, go for a run, or find an open-air class where you can get your exercise and some fresh air. Try to walk and bike to work as much as possible, and try to do small things, like running to the grocery store or running errands, on foot. If you have children, they should be going outside for walks and playtime every single day, and the same goes for having a pet.
Get active around the house
Yes, when we get home from work, we are exhausted and all we want to do is sleep. And it’s perfectly fine to take a nap! Naps are healthy for us and help us top off our energy levels during the day. However, taking a short nap shouldn’t turn to spending our entire day on the couch, watching TV. Instead, get active! There is always something to do around the house, from cleaning and cooking to small maintenance and improvements. Just like you are taking care of your body, take care of your house – they’re both your home. Active cleaning will burn around 150 calories per hour, and that just spells out a win-win situation.
Don’t skip snacks
Yes, you read that right. Snacks are not your enemy, and they are certainly not something that is making you unhealthy. The fact is, we often take too much time in between meals, and then obliterate our meals in a hurry, because we are so hungry and because we don’t have time to sit down and eat. In reality, you should eat when you feel hungry, because hunger is a signal that your body gives to your brain that it needs energy. However, choosing healthy snacks is imperative, and we need to be careful of the snacks we eat. If you don’t go out of the house prepared, or if you don’t have healthy options in your house, you will be tempted to eat unhealthy foods to satisfy your hunger. But even if you don’t have time to prepare healthy snacks – there’s no excuse, since you can find a catering service that brings healthy snacks right to your doorstep.
Staying on the topic of food, it is extremely important that we are picky about the things we eat. The food we consume is literally what our body uses to rebuild and fuel itself every day, so if you aren’t giving it anything to work with, you won’t be properly nourished. Saying that eating whole foods (products that have been minimally processed and that are without additives) is the be-all-end-all of healthy eating would just be wrong, but the reason why whole foods are recommended is because they help you avoid the certainly unhealthy foods, like processed chips, sweets, fried food and junk food in general. You don’t have to be giving all of this up completely, but the less of it you consume, the better it will be for your health. Buying fresh, locally sourced produce will always be better for you, as well as the environment.
We can’t talk about exercise and nutrition – and we certainly can’t talk about health – without mentioning the one thing that keeps us alive: water. Water is essential to all of our bodily functions and we can’t go on for very long without it. However, most of us don’t consume enough of it during the day. This means that we don’t have the energy and focus we need to get through our days, and it means that our bodies can’t process the food we eat properly, leading to bad digestion.
Switch up exercises
There is no exercise routine that is perfect and covers absolutely everything we need. If we are training only one part of our body – yes, we are burning calories and melting fat all over – but we are only exercising that one muscle group. Lifting weights won’t help you have better stamina, just like being a runner won’t help you carry your groceries. We need a combination of all different types of exercise – strength, cardio and stretching – to stay in good health and be ready for anything that comes our way. It’s perfectly fine to have a favorite exercise, but it should never be the only one you do every time you train. Switch it up, join a class that does something different every week or simply push yourself to find new things. If you don’t particularly enjoy doing cardio, you will hate going for a run – but play a game of basketball or football with friends and you won’t even notice that you are doing all the running. Have fun with your exercise and it will all be easier.
If you do feel like changes in your diet and exercise are causing abnormal pain or discomfort, don’t just give up. Talk to your doctor, find the reason you are feeling that way and find a new way to lead a healthy lifestyle that suits you personally. We are all different and our bodies need different things – but they all need good care.