What if being healthier could make you a lot happier?
As it turns out, it can. If you develop healthy habits, research shows you could live a much better - and probably longer- life.
Healthy people are active, energetic, and motivated. Because of that, they have the physical and mental stamina to create awesome memories and live meaningful lives. Healthy people reap the benefits of their health many times over.
Your health improves the moment you decide to make it a priority. It doesn’t take much effort. You can get healthier little by little every single day.
Here are seven ways to create a healthy lifestyle, one habit at a time.
7 Simple Healthy Habits
1. Get more sleep
Getting more sleep is probably the number one thing that you can start doing today that will dramatically improve your health.
If you're not getting enough sleep, you could have difficulty controlling other parts of your life, such as eating. According to the National Sleep Foundation "lack of sleep is linked to overeating."
If you only decide on one healthy habit to start, choose this one.
2. Stretch out
You've probably come across healthy lifestyle advice recommending more exercise. Exercise is essential, but you can start small.
Here's something you can do every day that is possibly even more beneficial for you than running or weight lifting: stretch.
As we age, we become less and less flexible. If you're inflexible, you have a higher risk of injury just from doing basic things, like loading groceries into car. Stay flexible by stretching out just a little every day.
3. Park further away
Another easy habit you can start right away is parking your car further away from an entrance than you usually do. Chances are you will find more parking spots as well!
Next time you go grocery shopping, park at least 5 to 10 spaces further from the door than you would have yesterday.
It's easy to do. Just stop looking for the closest parking spot.
You'll increase the number of steps that you take every day when you begin parking further away. The recommended number of steps to take every day is 10,000. 10,000 steps are equal to around 5 miles.
Need help counting your steps? I recently bought a Fitbit Alta and have been doing my best to hit that 10k step goal each day. Confession, I rarely do.
However, I did attain the Fitbit Snow Boot badge when I walked 45,000 steps while completing the Half Dome Day Hike.
4. Cut back on screen time
Screen time includes any time you spend staring at your phone, tablet, computer, or television.
Even if you’re doing something beneficial, like reading books in your phone, there are significant health benefits to cutting back.
First, cutting back is necessary to save your eyesight! A CBS news report showed that too much screen time causes eye strain, which is unhealthy and potentially damaging long term.
Here's even more reason to cut back on screen time: doing so can help prevent obesity. That’s why this is a healthy habit everyone should start.
5. Eat an apple every day
They say that if you eat an apple a day, you can keep the doctor away.
It may sound cliché, but it’s still true.
Apples are one of the best sources available in the world for soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is an incredible thing.
If you get enough of it, you can lose weight, fight cholesterol disease, keep your digestive system on track, and even effectively battle depression.
Plan to eat just one apple (or similar fruit) every day to boost your fiber intake.
6. Hug people more often
Yes, hugging someone - or several someone’s - many times throughout the day can improve your health.
Studies show that hugging releases oxytocin, which is a chemical that's produced in the brain. Your body needs regular release of oxytocin to be healthy and happy.
Perone research study, hugging every day actually lessened the likelihood of getting a cold.
Want to stay healthy? Make sure you're giving and getting those hugs as often as you can.
7. Let it go
"Let the storm rage on. The cold never bothered me anyway."
These famous lines from the Disney film Frozen's hit song, “Let It Go,” have probably been sung by toddlers, teens, and adults all over the world millions of times by now.To improve your health, you’ve got to let stress go.
Chronic stress is arguably more damaging to your health than just about anything else, so you must start reducing stress to be healthy. The symptoms of chronic stress include headaches and fatigue.
Gradually, stress buildup in your system could lead to much worse outcomes, such as a heart attack.
Fortunately, stress is manageable, both with medicine as well as basic physical activity.
Decide today to cut a least one stressful thing out of your life.
It could be as simply as spending a little less time on your Facebook feed, or staying away from people who stress you out.
Starting new healthy habits, even just one at a time, is always worth it.
It's never too late, and there's no minimum amount required. Just start.
Habits are built one day at a time. As the days become weeks and weeks turn into months, you'll look back and wonder how you ever lived any other way.