The World Health Organization states that 80 percent of all cases of heart disease, stroke and Type 2 diabetes could be prevented if people ate healthier, were more physically active and stopped using tobacco. Although, health isn’t only defined by your workout plan and diet. You can spend hours at the gym and eat the right foods and still be unhealthy.
Health is a concept with many forms that go deeper than just what you consumer and how much you workout. While your diet and exercise play a very important and necessary role, it’s your overall lifestyle that will make substantial changes to your everyday life. Striving towards a healthy lifestyle means making changes in more than just your diet and exercise.
Here are 15 changes you can make that will make your life a whole lot better… and statistics to prove that they’re worth it.
- Take the stairs
Taking the stairs is always dreaded on Monday mornings, although, Stair climbing burns 7 times more calories than taking a lift. Not only will taking the stairs to help you from a physical perspective, if your office has a lift, studies show office workers save up to 15 minutes a day by taking the stairs. Now, you get that 15 minutes to sit and enjoy your coffee! Monday just got better, right?
- Cut the carbs
While many nutritionists debate whether carbs are good and bad for you, the truth speaks when we look at the types of carbs. Of course, natural carbs found in fruits, vegetables, and legumes provide you nutrients necessary to survival. Although, studies show that processed carbs, such as wheat has about 19-28% less of important minerals like Magnesium, Iron, Zinc and Copper, compared to the wheat our grandparents grew up with. So, why fill up on something with a lot of calories and little nutrients?
- Workout before you eat breakfast
Sometimes when you wake up sleepy and groggy, working out is the absolute last thing that you want to do. Although, according to a study by The Journal of Physiology states that exercise training in the fasted state (i.e. before breakfast) is more effective to stimulate glucose tolerance and to keep your immune system n check. So, rise and shine!
- Sweat everyday
Less than 5% of adults participate in 30 minutes of physical activity each day only one in three adults receive the recommended amount of physical activity each week. This means that often, in most people’s day-to-day life, they do not get enough exercise. Working out every day ensures that you will not be part of this statistic. Even if it’s just 5-10 minutes a day, it will change all aspects of your life.
- Stick to fruits and vegetables
This one seems like a no brainer. Although, 80% of Americans fail to eat recommended amounts of fruit and vegetables. This is often because our daily intake of foods consists of processed carbs, meats, and cheese that affect our health in a negative way. While many people may believe they are eating healthy, it is not the reality, considering we need most of our diet consisting of fruits and vegetables and sometimes that’s difficult to get without paying overpriced prices.
- Give up drinking
Even if you don’t drink often, by choosing to drink tea or infused water instead, you’re making a big change for your health. Considering alcohol contains almost double the caloric content than most proteins and carbs have (7 per gram) coming second only to fat itself (9 per gram), you’re safer sticking to healthier options. Drinking also heavily affects your performance, since alcohol numbs the brain when drinking and it stops communication between the neurons and neurotransmitters. This means that you’re going to have a harder time focusing and motivating yourself to hit the gym.
It really is that simple. Focusing on your breathing will change many things in your health that diet and exercise alone cannot change. The American Institute of Stress states that Abdominal breathing for 20 to 30 minutes each day will reduce anxiety and reduce stress. Plus, focusing on your breath allows you to be more in tune with your body, which helps with training and mental control over diet.
- Drink water
According to H.H. Mitchell, Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. So, why shouldn’t we pay attention to that and measure and observe our intake of water? Studies show drinking half a liter (17 ounces) of water was shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% for up to 1.5 hours. So, wondering how you can keep on eating and shed the pounds?
Water is the answer.
- Get some sunshine
According to WHO , getting anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms, hands, and face 2-3 times a week is enough to enjoy the vitamin D-boosting benefits of the sun . The sun yields benefits such as serotonin (happy hormones), building strong bones, fighting cancers, skin conditions, and anxiety and depression. We all could use a little more sunshine anyways, right?
- Take a bubble bath
Taking a bath is the ultimate form of self-care. The relaxing sound while the tap runs, with anticipation that you’ll soon be on a whole new level of relaxation. Submergence in water can reduce pain and inflammation and also calm the nervous system, reducing the levels of stress and anxiety in the body and improving your mood. Not only will your mood improve, but your lung capacity and oxygen intake will too. With this, you’ll be able to preform better in sports and control your breathing better. (Although, remember- the bath has to be hot).
- Hop on the fermentation bandwagon
If you had Kombucha as your local coffee shop yet, you probably should. All fermented foods have great health benefits for you. Fermentation also promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria, known as probiotics. Not only do probiotics save you while traveling and keep you guy health, probiotics have been shown to improve immune function as well as digestive and heart health.
Say hello to Sauerkraut, Kimchi, Kefir, Miso, Tempeh and Yogurt and goodbye to getting sick anytime soon!
- Cut out toxic people
Here’s something that you can’t do at the gym or in the kitchen. According to Harvard studies, lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death from all causes by 50%. In addition to this, A studies show social relationships—both quantity and quality—affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk. So, people who kill your vibe… literally, kill you.
Okay, a bit dramatic – I know. Although, it’s something to seriously think about!
Dance is not only movement. It’s an expression of self. A study of 475 non-professional adult dancers yields information that dancing has potential positive benefits on well-being in several aspects. In particular, beneficial effects were found related to the emotional dimension, as well as physical, social and spiritual dimensions. In addition, positive benefits were also linked to self-esteem and coping strategies. Now, that makes you think twice before you choose your type of workout, doesn’t it?
- Give Thanks 🙏
You don’t need to follow any fad diets or workout 15 times a week to improve your health. Possibly one of the most dramatic changes you make to your health can be accomplished by giving thanks. A study states that people who kept a journal giving thanks reported better physical health, including fewer headaches, less stomach pain, clearer skin, and reduced congestion. Say thanks, and watch your life change!
Focusing is without a doubt one of the most important factors when it comes to work, exercise and personal relationships. It helps you in all aspects of life. A great way to improve your focus is with meditation. A study of 1,300 adults demonstrated that meditation may decrease stress. Notably, this effect was strongest in individuals with the highest levels of stress. Whether you’re meditating, working out or working in your job. Finding your focus will change your lifestyle.