Improve Your Body and Mind: How To Start Living Healthy Lifestyle
by Deb Powers
If living a healthier lifestyle is high on your to-do list, but the idea of changing your whole life seems overwhelming and impossible, the first thing you should know is that no one changes their whole life overnight. In fact, the healthiest changes happen one step at a time. Here’s how to start living a healthy lifestyle, step by easy step.
Setting Goals and Priorities
The first step to living a healthier life is setting some goals and priorities for the changes you want to make. By imagining the life you want and contrasting it with the life you’re living now, you can start to outline the steps you need to take to get to the life you envision.
What’s Your Why?
One of the big questions asked of people in the nonprofit world is “what’s your why?” In other words, why is this important to you? Every person has a different set of reasons for wanting to improve their health, and those reasons help inform which steps they need to take to start living a healthier lifestyle. What makes you want to change your life? Some common reasons for wanting to adopt healthier habits include the following:
- living longer
- reducing pain
- improving mobility
- going on more “adventures”
- keeping up with your children or grandchildren
- reducing anxiety and stress
- getting more enjoyment out of life
- accomplishing a dream or goal
- decreasing the risk of developing chronic conditions
- being happier
Eight Simple Habits to Adopt for a Healthier Life
No matter your reasons for wanting to live a healthier lifestyle, the good news is that you can do it. The even better news is that every healthy new habit you build into your life helps form a foundation that will make additional changes easier. Every baby step you take helps you build tools that will take you further into your journey to a better life. These eight little changes will help you form new habits that build on each other to create a healthier lifestyle, one healthy change at a time.
- Drink more water. While scientists don’t agree on exactly how much water each of us should be drinking — though four to six cups daily is a good general rule for healthy adults — they do know that most adults don’t drink enough of it. One of the easiest — and most important — steps you can take toward better health is to drink more water. Water plays a role in many vital bodily processes, including the following:
- carrying oxygen to your cells
- cushioning joints
- protecting organs and tissues
- regulating body temperature
- maintaining electrolyte balance
Start by doing the following: Buy a water bottle and set your watch to remind you to drink every two hours.
- Establish a healthy bedtime. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 3 American adults isn’t getting enough sleep on a regular basis. The CDC recommends at least 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period for optimal health. Sleeping fewer than 7 hours a day is associated with an increased risk of the following conditions:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
- frequent mental distress
Start by doing the following: Go to bed 30 minutes earlier each night for a week. Gradually increase until you get to 7 hours of sleep a night.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism for the day. In one study, researchers found that people who ate breakfast before a workout burned more energy during and after the workout than those who ate nothing. Eating breakfast is also associated with reduced risk of many chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Experts recommend a breakfast that includes healthy food choices, such as whole grain cereal, fruit, yogurt, eggs and nuts.
Start by doing the following: Stock up on easy breakfast items, like high-protein yogurt. Or prep your breakfast the night before with an easy overnight oats recipe.
- Increase your physical activity. Being physically active boosts your energy, improves your mood, helps you lose weight, and reduces stress levels — and that’s just a start. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise also combats heart disease, high cholesterol, arthritis, anxiety and high blood pressure, while promoting better sleep and even helping your sex life. While the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week — that’s 30 minutes 5 times a week — you don’t have to jump into it all at once. There are lots of ways to add more physical activity into your life, and a lot of them are fun.
Start by doing the following: Take a walk around the block after dinner, or sign up for an online easy exercise class.
- Practice mindfulness. A mindfulness practice can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, help lower blood pressure and improve sleep, and help with pain management. There are many different mindfulness practices, as well as apps and programs that can help you learn how to relax using mindfulness techniques.
Start by doing the following: Connecting with a mindfulness teacher who can guide you into the best ways to practice living in the present moment.
- Make small substitutions. Eating healthier doesn’t have to involve a full-scale, immediate change. You can take one step or one meal at a time to make small improvements.
Start by doing the following: Swap out one energy drink a day for a glass of water, or choose one day a week to cook a plant-based meal.
- Take a break from sitting. According to the National Institutes for Health, American adults spend an average of 11 to 12 hours a day sitting, and that sitting comes with an increased risk of heart disease, vascular disease and death overall. A recent study found that taking a break from sitting during the day decreased that risk substantially. Even breaks as short as 1 to 5 minutes made a difference.
Start by doing the following: Set an alarm every two hours to remind you to get up and do something physically active for a few minutes. It doesn’t have to be strenuous — just a couple of laps walking around the office can help.
- Get outdoors. Nature offers its own healing. People who spend more time outdoors in natural settings have a decreased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, and asthma, and report better health and satisfaction overall.
Start by doing the following: Explore green space opportunities in your neighborhood. Check out hiking trails, go to the beach, or take a walk around the park.
How CBD Supports Your Wellness
Many of these steps toward wellness rely on the interactions of chemicals in your body with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which helps regulate and balance many of your body’s systems and functions. Cannabidiol — CBD — one of the most common cannabinoids found in cannabis, works by interacting with the ECS in much the same way that your body’s natural endocannabinoids do. Since the discovery of the ECS in the early 1990s, scientists have been studying how CBD and other cannabinoids may help supplement and promote wellness through its interaction with the ECS.
Read more about Cannabinoids and You to learn more about how KOR Medical can help support you on your quest to improve your physical and mental wellness.
Have more questions? KOR Medical has partnered with Leaf411™ to provide free, personalized support to customers. You can speak or chat directly with a cannabis-trained registered nurse on cannabinoid use and applications for free, today.
Deb Powers is a freelance writer who has been writing about CBD and other wellness topics for nearly 20 years. Her work has appeared in Civilized.Life, and on numerous industry websites and publications.
- Centers for Disease Control – 1 in 3 Adults Don’t Get Enough Sleep
- Harvard Health – How Much Water Should You Drink?
- Healthline – Breakfast Carbs and Exercise
- Mayo Clinic – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
- NIH News In Health – Mindfulness for Your Health
- NIH Research Matters – Light Activity May Lower Harmful Effects of Sitting