Most people want to become healthier, but they find it intimidating, if not nearly impossible. But the good news is that there are straightforward ways to make everyday living healthier. These strategies don’t take much effort—just a change in perspective and a few minutes of your time each day.
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Check Up on Your Healthcare Coverage
Ensuring that you have adequate healthcare coverage is the first step toward healthier living. Insurance is crucial for regular treatment for chronic conditions, emergency health expenses, and consultations when you have concerns. Preventative and follow-up care are especially critical, as you never know when a health condition may crop up.
Start Snacking (on Healthy Foods)
While most people stick to three meals per day, sources like Duke Health explain that smaller, more frequent meals are better for your health. Snacking throughout the day ensures your body has the fat and carbohydrates it needs. This way of eating also helps stabilize blood sugar levels, plus it promotes a healthy metabolism.
Of course, eating more fruit and veggies as part of your new routine is crucial, too. CBS News even reported that eating more fruit and vegetables can reduce your risk of serious health problems like stroke, heart attack, cancer, and even early death.
The magic number of servings? Ten, say experts—about 28 ounces—per day. It might seem like a lot, but it’s close enough to the USDA-recommended value of five to eight servings that you don’t have to change your entire lifestyle to make it work.
Make Sleep a Priority
Staying up late for work or just to watch TV or scroll through social media can severely impact your overall wellness. And for the nearly 70 million Americans who are sleep deprived, Cleveland Clinic says, symptoms include mood swings, neurological disturbances, stress, and many other issues.
While most people recognize how vital sleep is for children and adolescents, many adults keep burning the candle at both ends. Prioritizing your sleep—to achieve the expert-recommended seven to nine hours—should be high on your list of healthy habits.
Soak Up Some Sun
Although sunlight can pose health risks, humans also benefit from basking in the glow. Experts say that sunlight exposure increases happiness-inducing hormones in your brain. Sunlight also helps build up your body’s vitamin D stores and reduce the risk of depression.
Getting sunlight during the day also helps your body recognize the contrast between daylight and night. The distinction helps regulate your body’s melatonin production, which influences your sleep cycle. Just remember not to stay out long enough that you get burned—and invest in a quality sunblock.
Take the Stairs
Opting for the stairs instead of the elevator is one of the top tips people tend to parrot for getting in better shape. But choosing the stairs is a simple way to achieve other health benefits, too. Stair climbing may make your brain “younger,” sharpening your cognitive abilities and even staving off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Studies have also suggested a connection between climbing the stairs and better odds of living longer. One study confirmed lower mortality rates in populations of men who climbed stairs versus those who didn’t. If nothing else, the cardio can help burn calories—but at best, you may live longer and in better health.
You can monitor your stair climbing with a fitness tracker or smartwatch. There are tons of exciting models, but if you’re just tracking your workout, a fitness tracker should do the job. If you’d prefer a more advanced device, a smartwatch has safety features (e.g., emergency SOS, fall detection) and can connect with your smartphone.
Healthy habits can take a while to develop, and it might take even longer to see results. But luckily, these strategies are simple to incorporate into your daily routine. If you stick with it, you’ll start seeing positive effects that will encourage you to continue making smart and strategic changes when it comes to your health.