Lifestyle changes are necessary for improving overall health. While there are no guarantees, staying on top of these changes can lead to better health outcomes. Making healthy lifestyle choices can help you reduce your risk of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes and can also help you manage conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.
Additionally, lifestyle changes can help reduce stress, increase energy levels, and improve overall well-being. Some changes that could help you improve your health include losing weight, adding more exercise, and avoiding smoking.
Here are a few other lifestyle tips that can add years to your life span:
1. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is as important as eating right and exercising. With the average adult needing between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, it’s essential to prioritize your sleep schedule. When you don’t get enough sleep, your body and mind can’t fully recover from the day, which can negatively impact your health. Most people need around eight hours of sleep per night. Consider going to bed and waking up simultaneously each day to help regulate your body’s natural sleep rhythm.
Even if it’s early, try to go to bed simultaneously every night. Set the alarm to wake yourself up at the same time every morning so your body gets used to it. Don’t keep your phone or other light sources in the bedroom. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, such as taking a hot bath or reading before bed. Avoid stimulants, such as caffeine and nicotine, three hours before bed. Blue light emitted from digital devices can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, causing you to feel tired. Try to avoid using your phone and computers before bed.
2. Eat Healthy Food
It’s no secret that eating well plays a role in good health. But aside from ensuring you get the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables, you should also consider what else is going into your body. Our bodies are incredibly complex machines, and we don’t always recognize the components that make them run smoothly. Eating nutritious foods helps your body to function at its best. Make sure to include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet.
Foods to eat: Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring are high in omega-3s, which have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease. Other healthy choices are lean red meats, nuts, beans, seeds, eggs, and yogurt. Choose lean proteins such as chicken, turkey, fish, and egg whites with as little as possible saturated fat.
3. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is an essential part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy heart, and improve memory and cognitive function. Still, many people are not physically active enough to reap the benefits of exercise. Exercise is vital for overall health. A moderate amount of activity each day can help to improve your cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility.
Add exercise to your daily schedule. There are plenty of ways to incorporate physical activity into your day-to-day life, even if it’s only for a few minutes. For example, instead of sitting for breakfast in the morning, have your meal delivered or make healthy choices at a fast-food restaurant. Or, instead of sitting at your desk all day, move around while you’re working.
4. Quit Smoking
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death worldwide, and it’s time to give up. Every year, 3 million people die from smoking-related causes. It’s the most significant cause of preventable death.
Smoking can seriously harm your health. It makes you more likely to get many diseases and infections and slows healing after injuries. It also affects how you look and how well you smell. As a result, smokers often feel guilty or blame themselves when they get sick. But it’s not their fault — it’s the people who designed cigarettes. If you smoke, here are some ideas for ways to quit that might work for you:
- Make an appointment with your primary care doctor. Tell them you’d like help quitting and ask for a referral to a stop-smoking program. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help ease withdrawal symptoms if you’ve been dependent on nicotine.
- Tell your family and friends about your plans to quit. Ask them to support you along the way by offering advice and encouraging you when you’re having trouble.
5. Limit Alcohol
Alcohol is a depressant and impairs your judgment, reaction time, and motor skills. In addition, alcohol use is associated with a higher risk of certain cancers, liver disease, and accidents. If you want to live a longer, healthier life, limit your alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol in moderation can have some health benefits, but limiting your intake is essential. Women should consume no more than one alcoholic beverage daily, and men should drink no more than two.
6. Reduce Stress
Stress has been linked to several serious health conditions. It can take a severe toll on your physical and mental health and interfere with your daily life. It’s essential to manage stress as part of an overall wellness plan. Stress is a normal response to life’s demands and responsibilities. You may feel stressed when you’re overwhelmed with work, school, or other commitments, or if you have a health problem that causes you to worry or anxiety. But prolonged or excessive stress can cause long-term health problems. It can affect your sleep, your weight, your outlook on life, and your ability to function every day.
Stress affects people in different ways. Some find it easier to cope than others. Some try to ignore the stressors in their lives and hope they’ll go away. Others face their stress head-on, look for ways to reduce their stress levels, and take steps to stay healthy. Managing stress requires more than just learning new skills. Ongoing stress management involves changing how you think, act and feel to help your body deal with constant stress. Many factors influence how you respond to stress, including your age, health, and lifestyle. Find ways to manage and reduce stress in your life.
7. Get Regular Checkups
Stay healthy starts with your health. Regular checkups help catch problems early, so you can get the treatment you need and return to a healthy lifestyle. Although most insurance plans cover screenings for many common conditions, it’s a good idea to arrange a visit with your primary care physician if you haven’t had one in the past two years.
Ask questions to learn more about what’s included in your plan, and consider getting a list of covered services and referrals to specialists where needed. See your doctor for regular checkups and screenings. This can help catch any health concerns early and prevent serious health problems. Screening for breast cancer is essential for women over 40, as it’s a leading cause of death in this age group.
It’s also a good idea to have annual wellness visits if you are at increased risk for specific health problems or conditions. Annual checkups include general blood work, cholesterol screening, and other tests recommended by your primary care physician.
8. Take Breaks During the Day
Taking breaks during the day can help you avoid burnout and improve your overall health. Try to walk around the block, do some yoga, or listen to upbeat music. Even just 15 minutes of rest can help you wake up refreshed and ready to take on the rest of your day.
Recreate activities you enjoy to help keep you motivated and get the most out of your daily breaks. You might take a morning walk before starting your day or try playing an instrument or doing something active in the evening. Find ways to take breaks during the day part of your routine so that it becomes easy to fit into your schedule.
9. Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
Spending time with family and friends is essential to a healthy life. Fortunately, there are various ways to improve your relationships with loved ones. Try these ideas to make time for the people you care about most :
- Listen to a story: Adults often find it difficult to express their feelings, especially with loved ones they haven’t seen in a while. Instead of arguing, tell a story that shows how you feel. For example, if you’re upset, share how you felt when your childhood dog died.
- Plan a surprise getaway: Maybe you and your best friend haven’t been on a girls’ trip together in years. Or, how about planning a weekend trip to your favorite vacation spot?
- Visit a museum: Let your imagination run wild and visit an art museum or historical site. You may not have time to see every exhibit in your lifetime, but planning regular visits to fascinating museums is a great way to connect with others and explore the world around you.
Final Thoughts on Best Lifestyle Changes
There are many lifestyle changes you can make to boost your health. Eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep are great ways to improve your overall health. Making these changes can be difficult, but the rewards are worth it. If you’re looking for a way to improve your health, start with these lifestyle changes.