Aristotle famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” This age-old piece of wisdom can’t be more true when it comes to health.
Good health, both physical and mental, is the outcome of good habits practiced over time. Small healthy habits may seem insignificant, but they will have a compound effect on your well-being over the years.
Creating good habits doesn’t need to be as difficult as you might think. It’s only a matter of making a simple positive choice and repeating that choice consistently. Here are some good habits you can pick up now that will help you stay healthy for years to come.
Take a Lot of Steps
If you have a smartphone, there’s a good chance you have a built-in app that counts the number of steps you walk in a day. In case you don’t, it’s easy to download a free app that counts your steps.
Some experts recommend taking 10,000 steps per day, but you can decide a number you’re comfortable with. The goal here is to help you get moving. If you find it challenging to exercise regularly, walking a certain number of steps each day will help you stay active.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. It engages a large group of muscles and benefits many systems of our body. So if you find it hard to stick to an exercise regimen, try to fit walking into your daily schedule.
Get Regular Checkups and Screening
Prevention is better than cure. Catching illnesses early is crucial for ensuring long-term health. Your older self will thank you for making regular checkups and screening exams a habit.
Screening tests for cancer are crucial for identifying the disease early. It will most likely be at its most treatable stage. Try figuring out which forms of cancer you are most susceptible to. For example, if your family has a history of breast cancer, make sure to get a mammogram.
DNA tests are the best way to find out your susceptibility to certain cancers and other diseases. There are many DNA test kits for use at home. If you are interested, you can learn more in this article about at-home DNA tests. Not all DNA tests are the same. Some may focus on specific diseases, while others focus on ancestry. So make sure to pick a test that will provide you with the information you’re looking for.
Add Color to Your Plate
Colorful foods have enormous health benefits because of their large quantity of vitamins and antioxidants. But to make it clear, we’re not talking about candy or the pink frosting on your donuts.
We’re talking about colorful fruits and vegetables. For example, red foods have phytochemicals like lycopene and anthocyanins. These compounds protect against certain forms of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, etc. Try eating more tomatoes, strawberries, watermelon, red bell pepper, etc.
Orange and yellow foods get their color from alpha and beta carotene. These compounds are essential for improved vision, strong bones and joints, and protection against certain forms of cancer. Examples include carrots, citrus fruits, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, etc.
Blue and purple foods have potent antioxidants called anthocyanins. These compounds are essential for reducing inflammation, improving memory, and protecting against certain forms of cancer. Examples include blueberries, grapes, eggplant, purple cabbage, etc.
And finally, eat your greens. Green fruits and veggies contain vitamins and antioxidants, which boost your immune system, lower cancer risk, keep your heart healthy, and more. Make sure to eat a good amount of leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, herbs, kiwi, etc.
READ MORE: 25 Superfoods To Boost Your Brain Power
Minimize Packaged Food
Packaged food is often heavily processed. It may contain high levels of sugar, sodium, and unhealthy fat. Packaged food may also have additives like artificial colors, preservatives, sweeteners, etc.
The unhealthy additives and ingredients in packaged food contribute to obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, and other conditions. Some studies also suggest a link between a high intake of processed foods and cancer.
On top of that, most processed foods also have low nutritional value. They tend to be calorie-dense as well. Due to the appealing taste and convenience of packaged food, it’s easy to over-eat them.
To reduce your intake of packaged food, try prepping meals for the week. You can also take lunch to work or stock up on healthy snacks like nuts and fruit.
Protect Your Skin
One of the best ways to take care of your skin is by reducing sun exposure. A lifetime of exposure to sunlight causes wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer.
Make a habit of applying sunscreen every day. Try choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You should wear it even if it’s cloudy outside.
Other than that, try to avoid spending time in direct sunlight. Try wearing protective clothing as well, like wide-brimmed hats and long sleeves.
READ MORE: Healthy Eating 101
Reserve Time for Self-Care
Mental and emotional health is closely tied to physical health. That’s why making time for self-care is an indispensable step toward your long-term well-being.
Try to pick an activity that helps you feel calm, happy, and stress-free. It can be taking a long walk in nature, meditating, sketching, cooking, journaling, etc.
Once you find an activity that works for you, try sticking to it consistently. You will notice a profound difference in your overall well-being and your ability to manage stress.
Commit To Getting Enough Sleep
Make a habit of getting 7-9 hours of sleep every day. And try to avoid compromising on that. Sleep deprivation can have long-lasting adverse effects on your health and well-being.
Not getting enough sleep can impair your immune system. You will get sick more often and might gain weight. Your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses will increase as well.
Sleep deprivation will also negatively affect your memory, problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and overall brain health.
We are creatures of habits, even if we don’t think so. There are many activities and behaviors that we repeat every day which have a long-term effect on our health and well-being. That’s why taking up good habits is a crucial step in improving the quality of our lives.
Images credit – @Getty
READ THIS NEXT: Health Benefits Of Chia Seeds