Everyone knows that a healthy diet and regular exercise are important for both physical and mental health but many people have trouble sticking to a healthy lifestyle. Fad diets or exercise routines rarely work long term because they aren’t sustainable.
Incorporating healthy baits into your lifestyle is the best way to meet your long-term health goals, but you don’t have to make all of these changes at once.
Start by implementing these five practices to pave the way to a sustainable healthy lifestyle.
Make Healthy Food Swaps
Fueling your body properly can be a daunting challenge if you are trying to adopt healthy eating habits, but you can accomplish your goal by making a few simple food swaps.
Instead of focusing on the number of calories or carbohydrates you consume each day, make sure the foods you eat are nutritious and filling. Swap refined grains for whole grains and enjoy bagels, pasta, oatmeal and muffins without any guilt.
Instead of munching on potato chips when you’re craving something crunchy, opt for raw veggies with hummus or salad dressing. Reach for fruit instead of pastries when you want something sweet. By limiting your intake of highly-processed, refined foods and focusing on eating a varied diet of nutrient-dense foods, you can improve your overall health drastically.
Add Cocoa To Your Diet
While highly-processed chocolate is junk food that should only be enjoyed in moderation, the cocoa used to make the treat actually has many health benefits. Not only has it been proven to increase the production of dopamine in the brain, which reduces feelings of depression and anxiety, but it also helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce high blood pressure.
Enjoy a piece of dark chocolate each day or invest in cocoa extract capsules and powder to get these effects.
Exercise 30 Minutes a Day
Daily activity is important for a healthy lifestyle, but exercising regularly doesn’t mean that you have to hit the gym every day. There are dozens of activities that raise your heart rate and help you get in a workout.
Find one or two you enjoy and take 30 minutes each day to work on it. If you enjoy the activity, you won’t even feel like you are working out. Some activities you can choose from include those listed below.
Make Self Care a Priority
Your mental health goes hand in hand with your physical health, so making time for self-care is a necessity for a healthy lifestyle. Many people neglect self-care due to hectic work and family schedules, but forgetting to take care of yourself can leave you frustrated and overwhelmed.
Make it a point to take at least five minutes for yourself each day and do something you enjoy. Whether you choose to soak in a bubble bath, sit outside with a good book or meet a friend for dinner, you’ll feel happier if you give yourself a little time away from the demands of your life.
Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
The quality of your sleep is as important as quantity. You may feel more rested after six hours of deep, peaceful slumber than you do after ten hours of fitful sleep. At the same time, you may feel fatigued if you don’t get enough sleep.
Studies show that most adults need an average of seven to nine hours of restful sleep each time for optimal health, so it is important to aim for that number when you go to sleep.
Make sure you have a comfortable mattress and try to limit your screen time before bed. Doing a relaxing activity right before bed can help you fall asleep quickly. If you get enough restful sleep, you’ll have more energy and be able to keep up with the demands of a healthy lifestyle.