It’s never too late to learn how to commit to a healthy lifestyle. Whether you hope to lessen risk factors for certain health conditions or you’re just hoping for a little health boost, you can start making small yet conscious shifts towards healthy living today.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle can be challenging. After all, good habits aren’t built overnight. Perhaps understanding why you should prioritize your health (especially in this day and age) might help motivate you to make better choices about the food you eat and learn how to lose weight in more concrete and sustainable ways.
Read on to learn more about why you should commit to healthy foods, a good exercise routine, and other healthy choices. You’ll also learn about certain habits that may help contribute to your overall health and well-being.
Why Do You Need To Adopt Healthy Habits?
Well for one, a healthier lifestyle may help you live a longer life — and research supports this idea. A study out of Harvard, combined with research from the CDC, found that people who consciously made healthier choices in five aspects of their lives could live up to a full ten years longer than their counterparts. Their risk factors for (and possible death from) certain preventable health conditions also lowered, thus contributing to their longevity.1
These five key aspects to living healthier, according to the report, are:
- Adopting a healthy diet and maintaining consistent eating habits
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol consumption
- Exercising often
- Maintaining a healthy weight2
Effects On Physical And Mental Health
In addition to overall longevity, living a healthy lifestyle can support your health and well-being in other ways. Cultivating good habits when it comes to your food and physical activity could create a ripple effect that impacts your weight loss and subsequent body image and self-esteem. It might also help boost your mood and physical prowess. And when you improve your overall physical and mental health, you’re also supporting your overall quality of life.3
Wanting all of these positive effects to manifest in your own life is a great motivator to commit to change. Here are some concrete ways you can build good habits that stick when it comes to your exercise, diet, and even mental well-being.
Committing To Consistent Physical Activity
Fitting exercise into your daily routine can be tricky, especially if you work and commute long hours and have a family that demands your full attention and effort (which sounds like almost all of us).
Here are some ways you can commit to physical activity in ways that make the most sense to you.
Enlist A Workout Buddy
Get support and practice accountability by teaming up. Involve your spouse, a close co-worker, or even your kids in your fitness or weight loss goals. Research shows you’re more likely to stick to a workout program and lose weight when exercising with a partner.4
Grab The Right Gear
Use all the apps and nifty tech at your disposal, as these can motivate you to push past perceived limitations. Track your progress, like the miles you run or the hours you work out. Data like this may help inspire you to keep going.
Case in point: Research shows that people with pedometers walked longer distances than those who didn’t, which contributed to overall weight loss.5 Even if losing a few extra pounds isn’t on your list of fitness goals, simply being motivated enough to log in a few more steps can already put you in a better position than others.
Craft A Plan And Give Yourself Time To Achieve It
A healthy lifestyle isn’t solidified overnight. In fact, you may need a few months to really form and follow a consistent set of healthy habits, like regular exercise or a clean-eating diet.6
Take this timeframe into consideration as you create a plan. Nail down a goal or two you’d really like to achieve — be it running a marathon, cutting out processed food, or eliminating sugar from your diet — and start working out the steps needed for it to happen. You can write out what needs to be done, what obstacles you might face (and how you plan to address them), and even what reward you plan to give yourself.7
Cleaning Up Your Eating Habits
Studies show that starting a new fitness routine and a better diet simultaneously gives both a better chance of sticking.8 It could be daunting to take on so many new lifestyle changes at once, so here are some simple tweaks you could try when it comes to your diet.
Clean out your refrigerator and pantry and throw out all junk and processed food. Stock up on beneficial snacks and condiments instead. Research shows that being in close proximity to foods you’re determined to cut out of your diet may undermine your goal.9
Rethink How You Feel About Food
Do you consider yourself a stress eater or a binge eater? It may be time to re-evaluate your relationship with food. Studies show that eating more mindfully — that is, taking the time to prepare nourishing food, appreciating your meals, and eating more slowly — could really impact your eating habits in the long run.10
Taking Care Of Your Mental Health
Caring for your mental health is an essential part of overall health and wellness. You’ll find that addressing your psychological state might greatly impact your physical fitness goals, too. Here are some things you can do to more successfully aid your mental health.
Get Enough Sleep
Your body needs adequate and restful sleep to fully recover and function well, both mentally and physically. Create a good sleep or bedtime routine, which should include intentionally winding down from the day, logging off social media and other devices, and crafting an environment conducive to good sleep.11
Know What De-Stresses You (And Make Time For It)
Whether it’s connecting with a friend or spending more time with family, having some alone time meditating, practicing your hobbies, or even learning a new skill, take the time to de-stress and relieve tension.12
A big change will always take time and effort, but the benefits will be well worth it. Commit (or re-commit) to your active and healthy lifestyle today with these simple adjustments, and you’re sure to feel their overall impact sooner than you think.