Good health is essential if we want to be productive and happy. Our bodies are our trusty partners, and we should take care of them. Remember that your body isn’t replaceable like your car or phone; your body is with you from the beginning to the end, and you should do your best to take care of it properly. Here are 10 habits for health to help you take care of your body and live longer.
1. Move around for at least 30 minutes a day
Physical activity has all kinds of benefits, from psychological to physiological. Physical activity tells your heart to pump blood more efficiently to move oxygen around and eliminate toxins from your body more quickly. Sweating also removes toxins from your body, and exercising refreshes the body and mind.
This 30 minutes of movement is a bare minimum, and if that bare minimum is a struggle, make it something that you enjoy doing. If you like lifting then go and lift; if you like running then go and run. If you like running, do not force yourself to lift. If you don’t like anything, then at least try walking as much as possible, and make that decision with small things each day. Do you really need to take your car to the bank or the grocery store down the street? Maybe you can walk, or even ride a bike. This extra activity will make you healthier and will lower your impact on the environment as well!
2. Have a favorite sport
This is very close to the 30 minutes of activity, but on an extended note. Personally, I'm not much of a sports guy, but I do enjoy playing basketball with some friends. This helps me a lot in moving around for 30 minutes a day. In fact, when I go out and play basketball with my friends, I don't even realize when those 30 minutes have passed. It's usually an hour or two, and suddenly the sun went down and I realize just how much time I spent having fun while being physically active!
3. Eat healthier
Healthy people educate themselves about the food that they put in their body. This is something most people struggle with because there are many myths and a lot of bad information is out there on the internet. To get to the good information, you’ll need to read as much as you can so that you can start to understand and separate myths from reality.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to sort through the questionable information on the internet, you can go to a nutritionist and learn from someone who spent their life learning this stuff. You just have to continually educate yourself about food, macronutrients, and calories. Even technical stuff such as how to build muscle and how to lose weight can be super important for being healthy.
Last but not least, listen to your body! Observe how you feel after you’ve had a meal, and note your energy level - do you feel boosted and fresh, or do you want to just lie down somewhere and rest? Also, think about what you are craving. Many times we crave for junk food or salty crunchy snacks because we are in fact dehydrated. Our bodies ask for salt so they can better conserve water, and you may notice that just drinking that glass of water will satisfy your guilty cravings instead of that salty bag of chips. Listen carefully to the signals that your body gives you and in time you will have a more balanced diet.
4. Have a meal plan
It’s critical to have some kind of schedule and to make sure your meals make you feel great and energized. You may find that you like to eat certain vegetables more often, or certain combinations of food. You have to see what works best for you and avoid eating too much “junk food”. Also, try to keep major carcinogens out of your meals.
5. Sex (make love)
For this habit, I am talking about loving, intimate sexual relationships... not a fling or a “weekend thing”. You don’t have to just take a random stranger and have sex with them in order to boost your health (often times sleeping with strangers may just give you unwanted diseases instead of an improvement in health). Having loving, intimate sex with a trusted partner produces many more beneficial hormones in your brain than a weekend fling does. So if you have a partner, try and spice up your intimate life, because sex is a great stress reliever. Sex also pumps up your heart and refreshes your whole body.
If you don’t have a partner yet, try to form loving, intimate relationships instead of hooking up and having one-night-stands. Forming an intimate and long-lasting relationship will increase your health, make you live longer, and will often allow you to have sex that is beneficial to your happiness and health quite frequently.
6. Drink at least 2 liters of water per day
This may seem like a whole lot of water for some people - especially if those used to drinking pop or soda throughout the day - but plain, good old water is what your body really needs. Any other liquids, especially juices, tea, and coffee, contain added sugars and extra calories that you might not always need. Water is the better choice.
Water will also make you pee more frequently, which keeps your kidneys healthy and helps the body eliminate toxins that are formed throughout the day as a result of metabolism. Staying well hydrated also boosts your mood and keeps you in better shape.
Did you know that a prominent cause of headaches is dehydration and nothing else? Often times when you take a pill to relieve a headache, it’s not the pill that makes it go away, but the water that you drink with it. Also, drinking two cups of water before you go to bed will help you sleep better and will help you wake up more easily in the morning - your bladder doesn’t come with a snooze button!
7. Spend time outdoors
Many theories recommend spending between two and eight hours a day in sunlight. Direct sunlight on your skin helps your body produce nutrients like Vitamin D naturally, which helps your body with repairs in your bones and teeth. Also, some people may start feeling depressed if they are deprived of sunlight - it’s called SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Whenever you start feeling low on energy or just apathetic, take a walk in the park or read a book on a bench in direct sunlight. It might be exactly what you need - just make sure to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from damage!
8. Get at least seven hours of quality sleep
Note here that I’m talking about quality sleep. You may be able to sleep with the lights on or with noises in the background, but that’s most likely not going to be quality sleep. Try to keep the lights off, don’t have any caffeine for six hours before you go to sleep, turn down most of the noises, and turn the brightness down on your phone in the evenings. I also don't recommend working out or eating for at least an hour before you go to bed.
It’s also good to prepare your body to sleep for half an hour with a small “ritual” before bed - dim the lights, brush your teeth, prepare your bed, perhaps try reading a page or two in a book - anything that helps you slow your gears and prepare for rest. A cozy and secure atmosphere is a trigger for the body that all is good so it’s safe to relax and rest.
Toxins accumulated in our brain during the day (as a result of metabolism and activity) are flushed out when we sleep. Sleeping allows our whole system to cleanse itself and our organs to run their “maintenance cycle” and repair wounds. If you want to live a long and healthy life, it’s important to have good quality sleep.
9. Meditate frequently
Meditation is well known for its calming effect on the mind and for increasing inner peace and happiness. It’s also an opportunity for you to be with yourself, and to observe your thoughts as they come and as they go without trying to force them. A mistake many people do when they try meditation for the first time is trying to force themselves to empty their mind. That is indeed the higher goal of meditation, but it’s achieved after years of practice. A cluttered mind with thousands of thoughts flying around is challenging to put to a sudden halt. The mind is like a train - it has to be slowed down little by little.
So to start, you should just try to observe your thoughts and how they make you feel. Try to see thoughts as clouds in the sky of your mind - clouds may come and go, but your focus should stay on the sky itself.
There are many meditation techniques out there and I encourage you to try them and see what works best for you. People who meditate for at least 10 minutes per day tend to be more focused, have more balance in their lives, and are less inclined to have a stroke - simply because they don’t get angry so easily.
Healthy people smile a lot. Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain and helps relieve stress. Your brain associates simply using those muscles to smile with having a good mood and a positive attitude. Therefore, smiling will make you happier.
Also, smiling is contagious and encourages trust - so whenever you smile at someone, they are more likely to help you out, which will make your working environment a little more relaxed and positive. There are also many long-term health benefits from smiling every day, so make sure you surround yourself with joyful people, engage in activities that you love, listen to music you like, and just do anything that makes you smile as often as you can!