Every day we are inundated with the latest health fads, marketing gimmicks or scientific breakthroughs on ways to improve our fitness, get healthy and prolong our lives. Even in this blitz of information, though, we can identify a few common characteristics shared by highly healthy people.
To feel better and live better, here are 13 simple habits worth adopting:
Stay hydrated. The body is made up of mostly water, which helps essentially all bodily functions operate smoothly. Water helps you sleep better at night, feel less sluggish during the day and improves your skin.
Get plenty of sleep. Sleep is when the body recovers, regenerates and helps sharpen focus. Studies show insufficient sleep increases the risk of medical conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Aim for seven to nine hours per night.
Move it. Daily movement is the hallmark of good health, whether it’s structured exercise, a recreational sport, bike ride or even just walking. About 30 minutes helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers.
Build muscles. As we age we lose muscle mass, so it’s important to include resistance training and increase protein consumption.
Get outside. Enjoying outdoor time lifts our mood and helps us to soak up necessary vitamin D.
Eat well. Focus on a diet rich in whole foods with plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables. Eliminate as much processed and refined food as possible.
Avoid added sugar. Limit sugar to natural sugar, like that found in fruit. Eliminate added sugar to reduce and reverse diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.
Plan meals. This will not only save you money, but help reduce consumption of calories, fat, sugar and salt you get by eating out.
Quit smoking. The evidence of how tobacco harms your health is overwhelming.
Engage in hobbies. Look for outlets that you enjoy, make you feel relaxed and/or tap into your creativity.
Be mindful. Meditation and other practices are proven to improve mood, reduce anxiety and regulate emotions.
Find a purpose. Working toward causes bigger than yourself and volunteering can be extremely gratifying. Continuing to have a purpose as we age helps with independence, loneliness, cognition and memory.
Log off. Cutting down on screen time is beneficial for those suffering from depression and anxiety. Instead, prioritize time with family and friends.
Army veteran Jennifer Campbell is a certified personal trainer with a master’s degree in nutrition education. She is past commander of the California American Legion’s 24th District and Hollywood Post 43.