Let’s face it; bad habits are hard to break. We are surrounded by convenient processed foods that are detrimental to our health. The good news is that once healthy habits are established, it is much easier to lose the bad habits that are damaging our health. When changing habits, starting small and building from that point will give you the greatest chances for success.
Healthy Habits for Life
Healthy habits you should start right now:
1. Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night
Research from long-term studies shows that people who consistently sleep less than seven hours a night die younger. However, some studies show that people who sleep more than nine hours a night will have problems too. According to Dr. Timothy Morgenthaler, President of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, seven to eight hours a night is exactly where you want to be for optimal health benefits.
2. Always practice safe sex, every time
Control over reproductive decisions plays a substantial role in the health of long-term relationships. Research results collected by the Guttmacher Institute show that parents who have control over reproduction have relationships that are more stable, and have stronger relationships with their children.
People who are surprised with unexpected children have higher rates of depression and anxiety. They are also more likely to end the relationship, and their relationship with their children suffers. Discuss the many birth control options with your doctor. And always practice safe sex unless you are in a monogamous relationship where you have both been tested for STDs.
3. Get outside and do some interval training
Research is proving just how important green space is for our health. According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health in 2009, people who live within ½ mile of green space tend to be healthier than those who don’t. People living next to green space also seem to have fewer problems with anxiety and few gastrointestinal conditions.
This is simply adding burst of vigorous and intense activity to your workout with breaks of light activity. Things like adding periods of jogging to your walks will help you burn more calories and get those endorphins pumping that will leave you with a feeling of exhilaration. Those good feelings will inspire you to spend more time working out, so you can get more of that rush that the endorphins provide.
4. Spend time with loved ones
Sure, they can drive you crazy, but they also love you and are there to be your support network. Loved ones can be family or friends, so choose the one that is the most fun to spend time with and make some plans. You will be more likely to make healthy decisions if you are relaxed and happy.
5. Take avacation
Say bon voyage to your stress, and find a change of scenery. Even if it is a long weekend spent off the grid. The idea of no email or text messages sounds stressful at first, but once you are surrounded by nature you will forget all about it. Stop coming up with excuses of why you can’t go like not having the time or money. You don’t have to go on a European tour to come back rested, happier, healthier and more productive. The break from your daily life will also help you to break from bad habits, making it easy to establish some healthier habits.
6. Stay organized with to-do lists
All of the things you have to do in a day can create chaos if they are not properly managed. Using a to-do list will help you see exactly where you are in getting things done, and help remind you of everything you have to do so you don’t forget.
7. Turn off from technology
With the advances made with smart phones, it is possible for us to be connected to the entire world at all times, but should we be? That is a lot of activity, and it is a constant distraction from your work and loved ones. At work, put your phone in a desk or somewhere else where it is out of sight. Turn off the pop-up notifications, and don’t even think about playing on your phone at home when you have family obligations.
8. Meditate before bed
It is easy to carry the days stress into bed with you at night, but it is likely to disrupt your sleep. A good way to ease stress and anxiety, as well as prepare your body for sleep, is to meditate. You don’t need to meditate long; five minutes should do the trick.
Healthy Habits for Kids
Parents are the first chance a child gets to learn healthy habits. Don’t waste your chance to teach your child healthy habits that will last a lifetime. After all, good health is the best gift you can give your children.
1. Make eating colorful and don’t skip breakfast
Every meal doesn’t need to look like a rainbow on a plate, but eating colorful meals on a regular basis is fun and healthy. Incorporate a variety of hues in your meals when you can, and don’t forget about breakfast. The old adage about breakfast being the most important meal of the day contains a pearl of wisdom. Breakfast will help maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage chronic diseases, and rev up the brain and energy. A Harvard Medical School study shows that people who skip breakfast are four times more likely to fight obesity. The high content of fiber in most breakfast cereals is also helpful in reducing the risk of diabetes and heart disease.
2. Pick enjoyable activities
Expose your child to different physical activities; it doesn’t matter what they are doing as long as they are moving. This allows them to find the activities they truly love, and they will be more likely to carry the habit into adulthood.
3. Read every day
It is no surprise that reading daily helps develop literacy development. The American Academy of Pediatrics advocates reading to your child by the time they are six months old. If you choose books that your child likes, they will view reading as a special treat and not a chore.
4. Drink water, not soda
It is simple, soda is bad for you and you need water to live. Children won’t understand the dangers of the excessive amounts of sugar in soda, but they understand the difference between good and bad. If your child doesn’t like water, try adding lemons, cucumbers, raspberries or watermelon to flavor the water and give it a naturally sweet taste.
5. Enjoy a family dinner and spend time with friends
The demands of modern life can make the idea of getting the entire family to the dinner table seem like a quaint notion. However, research from the University Of Florida shows that sharing meals as a family will create stronger bonds, promote well-adjusted children, provide nutritious meals, help children maintain a healthy weight and promote children that are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
6. Stay Positive
It is easy to get frustrated when things don’t go the way you anticipated, especially for children. Teach them how to stay positive by setting the example. Show them the silver linings, and remind them that good things happen with the bad. This will help your child develop healthy self-esteem and a positive attitude that will serve them well in life.