The still-ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to live a healthy lifestyle. Aside from the list of problems presented by the virus itself, the need to work remotely and distance ourselves from friends and family has given way to the rise of sedentary lifestyles and mental health troubles.
However, there are a list of things each of us can still do during these times to improve and maintain our overall health. Keep reading to get our 10 tips for a healthy lifestyle.
What Can I Do to Have a Healthy Lifestyle?
A few relatively minor lifestyle changes can have you on your way to improving your overall health in as little as a few weeks. With our 10 tips for a healthy lifestyle, we recommend these steps:
Drinking Enough Water
Not drinking enough water can cause several health problems, such as fatigue, headaches, dry skin, a weakened immune system, and cognitive performance impairment. For a standard, 2,000 calorie diet, we’re told to drink at least eight glasses of water (64 oz) a day. This is definitely a good guideline, however research has suggested that this amount could be too much for some people, and not enough for others.
In fact, another misconception is that the water we get has to be liquid. Drinking is not the only way to get water into your system, though it is the fastest and most convenient way. Fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, cucumber, and lettuce are all also significant sources of water.
Eat a Variety of Healthy Foods
While we’re on the topic of fruits and vegetables, eating a properly balanced diet is our second tip for living a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies need a wide variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly, and different foods contain different amounts of each. As such, the best way to get everything you need is to eat a variety of healthy foods.
Next time you buy your groceries, look for whole-grain breads and cereals instead of processed and refined grains. Avoid unhealthy, saturated fats and instead try unsaturated fats like salmon, olive oil, peanut butter, and nuts (just to name a few).
Limit Your Salt and Sugar Intake
On the flipside, try to limit the amount of salt and sugar you eat. In large quantities, both contribute to developing health problems such as dehydration, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Generally speaking, daily salt consumption should not exceed 1 teaspoon, and sugar should be limited to 12 teaspoons (or less, ideally). Use salt conservatively when preparing meals, including salt-heavy condiments, and try to limit or remove the amount of sugary snacks and drinks like fruit juices and sodas that you enjoy.
Moderate Alcohol Intake
While there is nothing wrong with drinking a glass of wine here and there, excessive drinking is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. Binge drinking can lead to liver disease in the long-term, as well as other health problems. Not to mention the long list of problems that come with alcohol addiction.
On top of this, the calories and sugars found in some alcoholic drinks can cause problems of their own. Always consume alcohol in moderation; two drinks a day max for men, and one for women.
Get Physically Active Regularly
As mentioned above, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us into more sedentary lifestyles, which has previously been linked with an increased risk of certain health problems. The good news is, it only takes at least 20 minutes of exercise a day to avoid such troubles.
Be it walking the dog, going for a jog, or working out at home, find some time to fit physical activity into your day.
Get Enough Rest
A lack of sleep can negatively affect your immune system; studies have shown that those of us who do not get enough quality sleep are more likely to get sick. To make matters worse, people who do not get enough sleep also take longer to recover from any illnesses they contract.
Making sure you get seven or eight hours of sleep each night will help your immune system stay in shape, keep your mind sharp, and help your muscles recover and develop.
Manage Your Stress
On a similar note, finding time to relax and manage your stress is also important for a healthy lifestyle, for a lot of the same reasons. Stress suppresses our immune system, making us susceptible to health problems like migraines.
When people are stressed, they resort to a variety of coping mechanisms. For some, this could mean picking up alcohol or excessive amounts of salty/sugary snacks, which again, is not a part of a healthy lifestyle.
Reduce Your Screen Time
With many people now working from home and avoiding in-person gatherings, screen usage time is higher than ever before. While our phones and tablets help us keep in touch with friends and family, prolonged exposure causes several health problems.
Constant exposure to the blue light emitted by phones, as well as the constant stimuli provided by our various apps, disrupts our circadian rhythm, leading to less quality sleep. It is also worth mentioning the link between social media and mental health, which some studies suggest has a negative correlation.
Start Now, but Start Slow
The best tips for living a healthy lifestyle will not do you any good if you abandon them after two weeks, or only follow them haphazardly. Too many abrupt changes at once may be hard to stick to (especially when starting out), so work your way up, bit-by-bit.
Instead of cutting out sugars all at once, maybe just eat less and less each day. Or instead of trying to force yourself to eat a fruit salad every day, maybe start with having an apple during breakfast. Over time you will get used to the changes and be ready to incorporate more and more healthy lifestyle changes.
Consult Your Doctor
All of the above tips will help you get on your way to living a healthy lifestyle, but it is important to remember that the tips presented here are just general guidelines. To find out exactly how much salt or sugar you can eat, if you are drinking enough water, or how physically active you need to be, consult with your doctor.
Your doctor should have a familiar relationship with you and a solid understanding of your body to be able to provide you with specific medical advice.
Meet With the Health Professionals at Village Emergency Room
Now that you have reviewed our recommended 10 tips for a healthy lifestyle, if you are ready to get started on your journey to a healthy lifestyle, schedule an appointment with your healthcare professionals today, and get the medical advice you need.