12 Good Healthy Habits to Start Today
Starting a healthy habit isn’t always easy. Keeping one is even harder. It also isn’t a good idea to rely on unstable factors like willpower and motivation to maintain your habits. These feelings are fleeting.
However, starting smaller habits and building them up into bigger ones is a more effective process. We can also be happier by focusing on our healthy habit routines rather than the outcome. Be happy your routines work rather than waiting for the joy of achieving a goal and know that many imperfect actions are better than doing nothing. Slowly, you can begin to create a healthier you. here are a dozen good healthy habits to start today:
1. Drink Water
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, men should take in about a gallon of water per day (15.5 cups), while women should take in 0.7 gallons (11.5 cups). The benefits are numerous, and this is one of the good healthy habits to start that shouldn’t be too hard to pull off. Here are some benefits of drinking water:
- Improves physical performance – Muscle is about 80% water, and staying hydrated helps body cells maintain fluid and electrolyte balance. When muscles are properly hydrated, they fatigue less easily, increasing endurance. That’s why the American College of Sports Medicine advises people to drink 7 ounces of fluid two hours before exercising. Water will also help you cool down more effectively and lubricate your muscles and joints.
- Increases brain function and energy levels – Your brain is 75% water. Staying well hydrated means the brain gets a better supply of fresh oxygenated blood. This keeps you alert and boosts your cognitive performance.
- Helps the body rid itself of waste – water helps kidneys remove toxins through perspiration, urination, and bowel movements. It keeps your kidneys functioning optimally to remove waste products and excess nutrients.
- Can help you lose weight – water suppresses appetite, increases calorie burning, and makes your exercises more efficient and easier. According to a 2014 study by the University of Fribourg, people who drank 16 oz of water lost two to three percent more calories than usual in the 90 minutes after drinking the water.
2. Take 10,000 Steps Daily
10,000 steps equate to about 5 miles or an hour and 40 minutes of walking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this is the amount adults should walk for general fitness. In contrast, many Americans fall short of this goal, only managing about 3,000 to 4000 steps daily, which is about 1.5 to 2 miles.
Walking less than 5000 steps a day is what doctors call a sedentary lifestyle. That potentially leads to all diseases and conditions, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, high risk of colon cancer, and anxiety. By walking 10,000 steps a day, you can help prevent many of these lifestyle problems.
3. Schedule your Meals
It is generally agreed that most of your calorie consumption should be done during the early parts of the day. That means the bulk of what you eat should be centered around breakfast and lunch. By 4 p.m., you ought to have consumed 75% of your daily calories. Though it should be said that the number of calories you consume still matters more than when you consume them.
According to a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago, those who ate most of their calories in the evening could have poor blood sugar metabolism, which can lead to insulin resistance and weight gain. Supporting that study is another published in Pharmacological Research which discovered that those who consumed most of their calories at breakfast experienced greater weight loss than those who ate the most at dinner. This is because, at night, the body has higher insulin resistance since the body is resting. Therefore, most of those late dinner or takeout calories end up being stored as fat.
4. Make Vegetables Exciting
Everyone knows vegetables are good for you, but they aren’t something many people look forward to. Making them delicious is one of the good healthy habits to start that is on the simpler side. First off, according to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, you should be consuming 2½ cups of vegetables and two cups of fruit every day.
To make them interesting, try sautéing them with some olive oil and garlic; the additional fat actually helps the body absorb vitamins and carotenoid antioxidants from the vegetables. Use your grills too. Just be sure not to burn vegetables to a crisp as this can form carcinogens. Grilling veggies with salt, pepper, and olive oil is both simple and delicious. Roasting adds a sweet taste to vegetables and brings out an enjoyable depth of flavor and texture. Air frying will get you that crunchy fried food taste without all the oil and is therefore a better and more nutritious way to enjoy French fries. Also, add herbs and spices to amp up the flavor.
Vegetables are a source of potassium, fiber, folate, vitamins C, vitamin A, and many other nutrients.
- Potassium helps maintain blood pressure
- Fiber helps reduce blood cholesterol
- vitamin A keeps the eyes healthy
- Vitamin C helps heal wounds and absorb iron easily
- Green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables help reduce inflammation, reducing the likelihood that you’ll require lymphatic drainage therapy
5. Cook at Home
It’s very convenient to get food even today, even right at your doorstep. But cooking at home is among the good healthy habits to start because it will be both healthier and cheaper. In addition, cooking for yourself allows you to control portions and develop an appreciation for the food you eat. It’s hard to be mindful of what you eat when food is served on a tray or if you just need to reheat it. If you start today and every day, you’ll be improving a skill that will serve you always.
6. Sit Less
Too much sitting or sedentary behavior is dangerous. The link between sitting and health problems was noticed as far back as the 1950s, when double-decker bus drivers were found to be twice as likely to have heart attacks as their fellow bus conductors. Drivers sat for 90% of their shifts while conductors climbed 600 stairs daily. You can remedy this situation by taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes or so. Take it a step further by investing in a standing desk or even a treadmill desk. Use a smaller cup for your coffee or water so you have to get up more frequently to refill it. Take the stairs. Anything to get you moving.
7. Clean Up
Having a clean and tidy house makes you happier and more likely to change other aspects of your life. Remember that the key to making huge changes is to start small. Just making your bed in the morning sets you up for the day on a positive note. It’s not ideal to come back from work or school to find a messy room or house. By tidying up, you’ll be compelled to take up good healthy habits to start.
You can even make cleaning up a ritual that will keep you moving and healthy. A thorough clean every week is a good workout. Clean the attic, dust and vacuum, disinfect countertops, remove scales from your taps if you have hard water, etc. You can even invest in an air purifier or a water conditioning service to have a clean and healthy environment that makes you even more likely to maintain your healthy habits.
8. Be Mindful of What You Drink
So you know that you should be drinking more water but what kind of water is best? According to a U.S. Geological Survey study, 85% of the U.S. has hard water. Hard water poses no health risk and may even be better for drinking due to its high concentrations of magnesium and calcium. However, it’s mostly just important that you just drink water. We get about 80% of our water from plain water and other beverages, while the other 20% comes from the food we eat. Therefore, you do need to hydrate directly, and it should be fine if you use water softeners or other water treatments.
9. Cut Back on Alcohol
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020-2025, men can drink one to two drinks a day while women can take one. However, the guidelines also state that even drinking within the set limits still increases the risk of death from causes like cardiovascular disease and cancer. The long-term health risks include high blood pressure, liver disease, stroke, weak immune system, various cancers, digestive problems, and mental health problems. By controlling your drinking, you can reduce these and other alcohol risks. If you do consume alcohol, be mindful and aware of how it makes you feel and any benefits you receive. Do the same with good healthy habits to start and make them a conscious part of your routine.
10. Find an Accountability Partner
One of the ways to make your good healthy habits to start stick is to introduce a social aspect to it. It’s much easier to miss a yoga class alone than it is to miss it when you have a buddy to go with. You could get into healthy lunches with a colleague or even something as simple as water breaks. According to a study titled “How are habits formed,” published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. This can vary widely depending on an individual and their circumstances, meaning forming a new habit could take anywhere from 18 to 254 days. Therefore, it’s important to find ways to keep the habit going, whether it’s cleaning your room, having a friend join you, or whole house water purifying to make the water taste better.
11. Get Enough Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation Guidelines, healthy adults need seven to nine hours of sleep daily. Sleep rejuvenates the body, invigorates the mind, and strengthens pretty much every system of the body. Therefore, invest in a good mattress for an optimal night’s rest. Reduce disruptions at night like not using your phone 30 minutes or more before bed. You may want to enjoy some water from your water filtration system but doing this before bedtime will lead to urination disruptions. Caffeine and alcohol before bed are also not good healthy habits to start.
12. Invest in Healthy Equipment
Be mindful of where you spend your time. Sleep is inevitable, and you spend close to 26 years on the activity, so it makes no sense to have a lousy mattress if you have money. Similarly, your office chair should get some attention since many Americans spend way too much time sitting. Note that it’s not the sitting that’s bad, but the immobility. However, there are advantages that make this one of the good healthy habits to start. Ergonomic chairs have great posture support, reduce back and neck pain, relieve hip pressure, improve blood circulation and enhance overall productivity. If you think investing in a new oven or better cooktop will make you an avid cooker, you should give it a go. Maybe a robot vacuum or air purifier for better air quality. Whichever the case, surround yourself with lifestyle choices that promote good healthy habits to start.
When beginning any good healthy habits to start, keep in mind that every single action matters. According to James Clear of Atomic Habits, every action is a vote for the person you want to be. That means that to attain success, you need to focus on your small disciplines every day, and soon they’ll compound into the goal you set to achieve. If you need help with good healthy habits to start, reach out to us today.