We all have those friends that move effortlessly through life, making all the right choices. They wake up at the crack of dawn to enjoy a 10-mile morning jog, are never tempted by junk food, and tuck themselves early to bed each night for a solid eight-hour sleep.
But most of us need to make a little more effort.
Making changes can seem super difficult, but the New Year is the perfect time to get started. And it's easier than you think - if you make these new things a habit by repeating them for six weeks, they'll likely become permanent parts of your life. Pick one of these highly effective practices and here's to a healthier new year!
Go to bed earlier...
As the saying goes, early to bed, early to makes you healthy, wealthy and wise. And the fact that sleep is an important aspect of being healthier is an understatement. Research shows that sound sleep is something that requires work. Sleeping 6-8 hours each night can actually help you live longer, maintain a healthy weight, and help you function better throughout the day. Make sure you’re trying to get to bed early and avoid late-night work sessions.
Just as you should start the day with a positive mantra, try to adopt a calming routine for evening. A warm bath, night-time reading or writing in a journal , or being in a dark, cool room are key for young and old alike. Also, new research shows that keeping one leg outside the sheets can help regulate body temperature more effectively. Lastly, if you’re suffering from lack of sleep, skipping your early morning workout and sleeping in may prove a better outcome (as long as it doesn’t become a regular opt-out).
Don't sweat the small stuff...
Stress has been linked to several diseases as well as strokes and heart attack. How we handle stress is important to be aware of as well as what strategies we have in place when stressful events occur. The old thought of counting to ten can still help keep blood pressure and heart rate from skyrocketing, but regular stress free practices like yoga, meditation and pilates may be useful in keeping stressful hormones damage our bodies.
Another thing to do is to just take time to breathe consciously for as little as 2-3 minutes, journal throughout the day or listen to calming or classical music. The more you are conscious of how you react to stressful events, the better you’ll be able to stay calm and make a mind body connection.
The early bird has the best workout...
People who workout first thing in the morning are more likely to continue with a regular exercise program than those who workout at any other time of the day. Making exercise a daily ritual is key but keep in mind that you don’t have to go to a gym to get a workout. A morning walk, jog or yoga practice for at least thirty minutes can help reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and even type II Diabetes.
Strength training also has considerable benefits especially after the age of forty, keeping bones strong and boosting metabolism from a leaner body. However, whether you workout in the morning or any other time of day, the key is a thirty minute routine of moderate intensity. If you workout at a lower intensity like a calming walk, keep in mind that the time spent walking should be almost double to obtain the same benefits.
Get your protein...
The power of protein is known to rebuild cells in the body and of course muscles. But those who eat a minimum of 80-100 grams of protein daily manage their weight better than those getting less meat in their diet. Of course, meat is not the only source of protein and vegans show opt into understanding food combining for complete protein sources like rice and beans, but protein has other benefits in protecting the body from blood sugar surges and boosting the immune system.
Look for "fast" sources of lean protein - fast meaning that the way that the animal behaved and moved while it was alive gives a good indicator or its lower cholesterol and fat- chickens move more than cows while shrimp move more than scallops. Both chicken and shrimp are some examples of lean sources of protein. However, even a daily diet of lean beef protein can have cholesterol lowering effects if eaten with other healthy foods.
And your veggies...
The average American has only 2-3 servings of fruits and vegetables while research shows us that eating 7-9 servings of these anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant packed foods can reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease by 50%***. Vegetables typically pack more fiber than most fruits, but both are an important part of your diet. Look for variety and color as well as frequent servings.
Whether you’re already a super healthy person or looking to move in that direction in 2019, these simple habits are easy to make part of your lifestyle - and they'll help you live a longer, healthier, happier life!