Living a healthy life isn’t about running a marathon, having 6-pack abs, glowing, flawless skin and long luscious hair down to your waist. Nor is it about depriving your body of ‘bad’ things by giving up chocolate, carbs, cheese, and a whole host of other foods. A healthy life is all about balance, and achieving that balance does not need to involve any large gestures or actions. Creating a healthier life for yourself can be as simple as implementing a few lifestyle changes that you can incorporate into your daily life with ease.
1. Get moving
No, this doesn’t mean getting an expensive gym membership, hiring a personal trainer or signing up to an unlimited package of bootcamp classes. It simply means getting off the couch and moving. Start with something as mundane as walking around your room while you chat to a friend on the phone, or grab a buddy and go for a stroll in a nearby park, play a game of tennis or toss a football around. You don’t need to play for a team, invest in expensive equipment or commit to a rigorous workout plan to be healthy. As little as 20-30 a minutes a day of simply moving around is enough to get you started!
As summer draws nearer and temperatures rise, so does the temptation to reach for a chilled Coke, iced tea or beer. While each of these is ok to consume in moderation, it would be prudent to remember that they are all loaded with added sugar (glycerin in the case of beer), and don’t really do anything to hydrate the body. Reach for a glass of cold water instead. Again, change can be small and manageable. If you normally drink two glasses of water every day, increase that to 3 by simply drinking one glass of water before every meal. Doable? We think so! This will keep your body hydrated, stave of fatigue and keep your internal organs and systems working better.
3. Eat healthy food
Processed and packaged food is a convenient and often very tasty option, particularly for those of us who are always on the go, but by trying to consume less pre-prepared and more fresh, healthy and nutritious food, we will all be doing ourselves and our bodies a great favour. Freshly prepared food is healthier and far more nutritious that packaged foods and by opting for more greens, vegetables, fruits and lean protein from natural sources we can provide our bodies with all the essential nutrients it needs, leading to a healthier and happier body and life. This definitely doesn’t mean giving up on pizza, burgers, chocolate cake or ice cream, it simply means, choosing a salad, some stir fried vegetables or grilled chicken instead 3 out of 5 times!
Start small. Even a minute a day of mindfulness is a great way to start building a meditation habit. You don’t need to chant long mantras or lock yourself away in a dark room burning incense for hours. Simply find a quiet spot, close your eyes and be with yourself for a few moments every day. It is a good practice to do this first thing in the morning, or before you leave home for the day because it is often hard to find time once the chaos of the day takes over. This way, you allow yourself a moment to centre your thoughts and attention before you take on what life throws your way.
Fiction, non-fiction, action, adventure, love stories, sci-fi, fantasy, biography, history, applied physics, whatever genre you choose, try and read at least a few pages every night before you go to bed. This will not only build a very healthy habit, it will tear you away from your electronic devices for a while, and we all know that using your phone or laptop too much just before bedtime can cause disrupted sleep patterns. So no matter how much Instagram calls out to you, or how much you want to check Facebook before you turn the lights out, grab a book and read a few pages instead, it will nurture your mind, and your body will benefit in return.
So there you have it ladies, a series of simple, very manageable changes you can make to your routine on a daily basis in order to try and live a healthier and by extension far happier life. Give it a try!