With busy schedules at work and home, it’s not always easy to incorporate healthy habits into an everyday routine.
Trips to the gym, reading, or any type of “me time” is usually the first to drop off the calendar.
Being healthy doesn’t have to involve time-consuming activities or the stress of fitting another event into your day. Make it simple with our tips on how to incorporate healthful practices into your daily life.
Start Your Day in Silence
When life gets busy, it seems like you’re running from the second you get out of bed. But spending five minutes in silence when you first wake up is good for your brain.
When we pause in the morning and avoid jumping right into stress (hello smartphone, social media and email), the right side of our brain gets a rush of gamma waves. 1 Take five minutes to simply sit and breathe, and eventually you may want to practice meditation, or journaling, as a refreshing way to start each day.
Make the Exercise Habit Simple and Easy
And by exercise, we don’t mean a one-hour gym session every day. When time is tight, take a 10-minute walk. Even a short amount of time can boost cardiovascular health. 2
Go at your lunch or coffee break, walk to the store instead of driving, park far away from the mall, or walk the stairs in your office building when the weather is lousy.
Outdoor exercise is good for you, but so is simply being outside.
Spending time outdoors or being in nature can provide the following benefits: 3
- Improves your mood and focus: and can even decrease feelings of anxiety, depression and anger.
- Lowers stress and blood pressure: naturally lower the hormones that signal stress by simply enjoying the serenity of nature.
- Supports healthy aging: older adults can enjoy better sleep, fewer aches, increased mobility and other positive quality of life metrics.
- Helps healing: can speed recovery for those recovering from an illness or injury, and may reduce the need for pain medication.
- Boosts the immune system: by providing natural Vitamin D which can protect against osteoporosis, stroke, cancer, heart attacks and depression. Just be sure to use sunscreen or cover up if you’ll be in the sun too long.
Drink An Extra Glass Of Water
When you find yourself reaching for another cup of coffee, opt for water instead. Or drink a glass of water along with an evening cocktail.
Water is essential to your body, helping your brain function properly, circulating blood through your system and regulating your body temperature. 4 If you aren’t a fan, try adding fresh fruits, vegetables or herbs to your water. Carry a water bottle everywhere you go, and make it a goal to drink throughout the day.
This is one healthful practice that may take a bit more time, but will save you time in the long run.
Spend an afternoon each weekend doing meal planning and preparation, and your busy weeknights will be much less stressful. Instead of coming home to a debate about what to cook, you’ll have meals that are easy to put together.
You’ll also ensure you’re eating healthy, without the temptation to stop for fast food or order pizza instead. That will help keep you at a healthy weight while also reducing stress.
After all, we all know the benefits of eating a proper diet and maintaining a healthy weight. Combine those habits with regular exercise, not smoking, and limiting alcohol intake, and you may actually live longer than those who don’t practice those habits. 5
It may still seem overwhelming to add healthful practices into your daily life. If that’s the case, decide on a goal you want to achieve, and then pick one simple action that will get you towards your goal. 6 Choose something that you can do every day.
For instance, if your goal is to move more and sit less, then start with 10 minutes of walking each day. It should get easier over time, and you may find you soon want to add some other healthy habits.
If you need some advice on where to start, a physician or healthcare practitioner near you may be able to help.