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7 Habits of Highly Healthy People

March 17, 2014

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Whether you’re making a belated New Year’s Resolution or setting goals for the week ahead, improving your health is probably on your radar. We all know that making perfectly healthy choices isn’t easy or possible 100% of the time. There always seems to be some special circumstance or distraction that takes the focus away from our health, and the “I’ll start tomorrow” mentality is all too common. 

However, leading a more a healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to mean dramatically overhauling your routine—it can easily be incorporated into your everyday life by taking small yet significant  steps toward creating better habits. Healthy living is a choice  that will make you feel and look better, and the best part about it is that it’s accessible to everyone.  For me, incorporating these seven healthy habits into my day-to-day life makes me a better friend, family member, co-worker, and participant of life. Perhaps the most important part of sticking to healthy habits is to remember that it’s okay to not be perfect! For me, I know that I don’t stick to all 7 of these habits all of the time, but finding balance is what helps me stay healthy, full of energy, and loving life!  To kick off a healthier, happier you, try incorporating these seven habits into your life:

1. Plan Ahead: On Sunday evenings I try to think about what’s happening in the coming days. If I have plans with friends after work, I know that I probably don’t need a home-cooked meal that night, and I’ll plan a morning workout.  For nights that I don’t have plans after work, I’ll try to fit in a yoga class followed by dinner at home.  You never know what your palate might be craving on a given night, but give meal planning a try. By planning meals ahead of time, I know that I won’t be wasting time going to the grocery store each time I need to cook.  Stock up on some of these healthy staples and try cooking big batches so you can have your leftovers for a couple of days.

2. Drink Water: Water makes up to nearly 75% of our body weight! Staying hydrated helps with alertness, appetite control, and fatigue, and will make your skin glow.  As someone who likes to exercise and gets dehydrated easily, I have to be extra conscious that I am getting enough water. On the weekends when I’m out shopping or running errands, I always carry a water bottle around in my purse, and during the work week I keep a huge glass full of H20 on my desk at all times

3. Move Your Body: A fact is a fact. Healthy people exercise regularly. Find a program that works best and feels best for your body.  Whether it’s a leisurely walk or a vigorous class, any movement is better than no movement. I like to work out 4-6 times per week, and try to mix up the types of workouts, from teaching spinning to taking calm yoga classes.  Not a fan of an exercise? Find a walking buddy and commit to taking a stroll together a few times a week so that you’ll be held accountable. And next time you have the choice between the stairs or elevator, take the stairs. Small modifications like this or parking a little bit farther away from the store can make a difference!

4. Sleep: Getting enough high-quality ZZZ’s, ones that aren’t interrupted by a buzzing phone or an LED screen, is a crucial healthy life habit. Not only does cuddling up in your comforter feel good, but the health benefits are endless.  Aim for about 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night. This simple change could result in better memory, weight management, a longer life, and lower stress. I really struggle with sleeping through the night, so I monitor my sleep patterns to see what’s affecting me and try to make adjustments so I get a full night’s sleep.

5. Eat Well:  Experience the rainbow – of fruits and veggies! I truly believe that what you put in your body is what you’re going to get out. Add more nutrient-dense foods like dark leafy greens, healthy whole grains, and vibrantly colored fruits, and you’re going to get a vivacious, energetic, happy person.  Think quality not quantity here, and don’t focus on calories.  If you’re feeding yourself wholesome food your body will know when to start and stop.

6. Cultivate Your Relationships: Studies have shown that people who engage with others socially and have close friendships are likely to have better cognitive health than those who feel socially isolated. I make my relationships a priority by setting time aside each week to connect with the people that I love. If I can’t see someone in person, I pick up the phone, write an email or a text message, or send a hand written note. 

7. Know Thyself: The only person who knows what’s best for you is you.  Make your daily decisions and choices to accommodate your lifestyle and needs, not the desires of others. By choosing healthy habits and making decisions based on your personality and what makes you happy, you’re more likely to turn an attempt at health into a full-time lifestyle change.  

What healthy habits do you practice? Share in the comments below!