7 Health Habits You Should Adopt Immediately

Do you have the philosophy that you’ll only change your not-so-healthy habits if there is some medical reason specific to you that forces the issue? If you do, this one's for you - here are 7 health habits you should adopt immediately.

Health is one of those things that a lot of people don’t truly appreciate until it is in some serious jeopardy or gone completely. Maybe you’ve found yourself in that position before? For instance, are you the type of person that does things you know aren’t good for you (like smoking, drinking too much or eating a high fat diet), but you don’t let it bother you as long as you “feel okay”?

Here’s the deal: Just because you aren’t living in chronic pain or have some in-your-face diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re healthy and will live until you’re 120 years old. You hear stories all the time of people who go for their annual physicals, get a clean bill of health and suddenly die two days or a month later.

The intent of this article isn’t to depress or scare you if you feel okay, but rather to get you to understand that you need to actively protect your health even if you don’t feel that it is currently an issue.

Think of your body like a vehicle. If you don’t regularly wash and wax it, get timely oil changes and tune-ups, and just generally take care of it, what is going to happen? It is going to start to rust, you’re going to have engine problems and it won’t last as long as it should, right? However, if you perform regular maintenance and keep it shiny and new, it will likely stay a great vehicle for much longer. Well, the same is true with your body.

So, what do you need to do to your body, your “vehicle on this earth”, to keep it running like a champ for as many years as possible? Here are seven habits you should adopt today:

#1: Get regular health screenings

doctor measuring blood pressure

While annual checkups can’t possibly catch every little health issue you may have, they may bring to light some issue that could potentially turn into a life threatening situation if left untreated. And, the sooner you start dealing with any issue, the greater your chances of survival.

Some tests should take place yearly regardless of age. These include blood pressure checks, blood tests (for cholesterol, fasting sugar, etc.), pap smears and skin cancer exams. Other tests are more age dependent. For example, when you hit 40 you should start having mammograms and once you’re 50 years old you should be scheduling regular colonoscopies.

The thing to remember is that some things may be happening inside your body without you even realizing it. So, having these types of tests can help you recognize that a problem is forming and deal with it when it is more of an unsightly crack than a body consuming crevice.

#2: Keep yourself hydrated

The human body is made up of roughly 60% water. It helps your blood circulate, food digest, your body rid yourself of toxins and much more. So, when you’re not taking in enough of this necessary liquid on a daily basis, you’re likely to feel it without even realizing that dehydration is likely the cause.

For example, lack of a suitable amount of water can lead to fatigue, constipation, headaches, increased hunger (because you may confuse hunger and thirst) and moodiness. And, just because you don’t feel thirsty doesn’t mean that you don’t require water. In fact, if you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.

So, how much water do you need to feel your best? It is estimated that most women should have approximately nine 8-ounce glasses a day. So, if you have a 16-ounce glass with each meal, one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon and one at night, you’ll get your daily requirement in and feel in tip-top shape.

Don’t think that drinking coffee, soda and energy drinks are just as beneficial, either. Anything with caffeine is a diuretic, which defeats the purpose and sugary beverages will never be as healthy as plain old water. (If you prefer flavor, you can always add lemon, lime or orange slices to it for a calorie-free satisfying beverage.)

#3: Eat a lot of fruits and veggies

delicious fruit salad in plate

Most women get more than enough carbohydrates and protein in their daily menu, but fruits and veggies are typically on the slim side (and ‘slim’ is not good in this case). These types of foods provide the bulk of your vitamins and minerals, so if you don’t have enough in your diet, you’re missing out on some huge health benefits. Also, they tend to be lower in fat and high in fiber, so they’re wonderful additions to any diet (as in eating pattern, not eating restriction) that is geared toward losing weight and increasing health.

Make it a point to have at least 1-2 servings of fruits and vegetables at every meal. For breakfast, you could add berries or melons to your morning yogurt to get a serving in. You could also have a salad for lunch and include a cooked veggie as a side dish for dinner to help you reach your minimum.

#4: Get physically active

If you believe that you have to go to a gym and work yourself until you feel like throwing up to receive any sort of benefit from an exercise plan, then think again. Yes, regular physical activity is great, but it isn’t only the 30-60 minute workout sessions that can benefit you.

Actually, the more active you are on a routine basis in your normal day to day activities, the greater your health is likely to be. You’ll burn more calories throughout the day and keep your metabolism stoked, which will help you keep your weight at a healthy level.

For instance, you could park further from the door so you have to take a few extra steps to get where you need to go. Pace when you’re on the phone. Carry grocery bags from the car to the house one by one or walk to a co-worker’s desk instead of phoning. Every little bit counts when it comes to staying healthy and strong.

#5: Regularly de-stress yourself

People often view stress relief as a luxury when it is actually an absolute necessity. If you don’t let your body relax on a regular basis, you’re subjecting yourself to some not-so-pleasant physical consequences such as chest pains, heart palpitations, headaches, a weakened immune system and fatigue.

There are also mental consequences to not de-stressing as well. You can be overwhelmed more easily and frustration sets in a little more quickly. You lack focus and concentration and tiny little speed bumps tend to look like huge mountains.

Carve time out of every day or week to do something that you enjoy. Maybe spending time in nature relaxes you. If that’s the case, go for a long walk or do some gardening. You could meditate to let go of the negative feelings and bring in the positive. It doesn’t matter what you do, just do something to give your mind and body a rest from whatever is happening in your world.

#6: Realize that everything you do matters

ice cream in cup

One of the greatest cardinal sins when it comes to health is doing something that you know is not healthy, but telling yourself that it doesn’t matter because it’s just one little “cheat”.  However, if you’re honest with yourself then you know that’s a lie. Everything you do matters.

Sure an ice cream sundae once a year isn’t going to undo your health, but one every week surely isn’t going to help. While it isn’t necessary to be 100% all the time, you at least have to be honest about how often you let yourself slide. And, if it happens frequently, you’re not doing yourself any favors.

Every step you take that is positive will lead you in the right direction. The key is to take as many of these steps as you can. You want to move forward, not backward right?

#7: Listen to your gut

When it comes to your health, you need to trust your instincts. You know your body better than anyone else so if something doesn’t feel right, then you need to listen to that. You’d hate to ignore something just to find out that you could have prevented some horrific illness or at least minimized its effects.

Don’t push aside that nagging thought in your mind and act like it doesn’t exist. Try to figure out what it means and if you can’t, go to someone that can. If you’re having health issues, make an appointment with a doctor. Try to figure things out before they get too big to control or deal with.

Take care of your health today and you’ll increase the likelihood that it will be there for you to enjoy tomorrow. Become the Queen that radiates beauty in every sense of the word.

About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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