12 Lifestyle Changes to Help Improve Your Health
There’s nothing more precious than your health, both physically and psychologically. But living a healthier life isn’t about what you do for one day or even a couple of months. It’s more about permanent lifestyle changes you make that can significantly improve your health now and for years to come.
If living a healthier lifestyle is your agenda, here are 12 tips to help you feel your best.
1. Increase Physical Activity
You don’t always need to hit the gym to be more active doesn’t always mean hitting the gym. There are plenty of ways to increase your activity level while decreasing the negative effects of inactivity.
And while most people strive to live a healthier lifestyle, computer-based jobs and commuting can make it hard to squeeze in even 30 minutes of cardio.
However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Simply choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to work are easy ways to fit cardio into your schedule.
Water aerobics is gentle on your joints, offers a low-impact workout and can be performed before or after work. It’s also important to make exercise something you look forward to doing. Using a swim spa can also help you stay in shape from the comfort of home.
2. Cut Out Caffeine
As much as you love the taste of freshly brewed coffee, overconsumption might not be in your best interest. In fact, drinking too much coffee can negatively impact your health.
Too much caffeine can cause sleep disturbances, cause headaches, exacerbate feelings of anxiety and make you feel like you need more just to make it through the day. While decreasing how much you consume is recommended, it doesn’t mean you need to avoid coffee entirely.
A good rule of thumb is two limit yourself to two cups a day, both no more than 8 to 10 ounces each. However, if you love the taste of coffee, you can also swap out your regular coffee for a decaffeinated blend.
3. Soak in a Hot Tub
Soaking in a hot tub is good for your body and mind. Also known as hydrotherapy or aquatic therapy, works by relaxing your muscles and joints, relieving tension caused by stress. Soaking for only 15 minutes a day can also lower your cortisol levels, which are associated with high stress levels.
4. Try Music Therapy
Listening to music is a natural mood booster. Fast-paced music can make you feel more alert and energetic, whereas a slower melody can reduce stress levels and help you relax.
If you’re new to using music to release tension, you could try a sound bath. This type of self-care involves listening to a variety of sounds that create a feeling of calm. The music you choose doesn’t have to be the latest catchy tune. It can be a compilation of soothing harmonies that make you feel at ease.
5. Eat Less Processed Food
Frozen food might be convenient, but it’s also bad for your health. Unfortunately, even food that’s labeled low-fat can contain higher levels of sodium and other unhealthy additives.
If you’re trying to eat less processed food, the first step is clearing out your pantry. Food that has an extended shelf life, excluding pasta, rice and canned vegetables, should be thrown away.
If you love snack food, reach for fresh fruit and vegetables instead of junk food. You should look for ways to decrease your meat consumption as well. The meatless options taste just like the real thing and are better for you as well.
6. Enjoy a Good Book
Just like listening to music, reading a good book is a great way to decompress. Since so much of our lives are online, reading also gives you a chance to escape screens, something that’s hard to avoid in the digital age.
However, you don’t need to limit yourself to only print. There are a variety of picture books to choose from. Look for ones with vivid imagery. You’ll feel like you’re being teleported to another time period.
7. Relax in a Sauna
A steam session in a sauna is another way you can clear your mind. In addition to helping you relax, studies show that intermittently using a sauna can improve circulation, lower your blood pressure and even possibly improve your heart’s health.
And while the exact science of health benefits is still actively being researched, there’s evidence that it could lower your risk of certain vascular diseases. Because of its whole-body soothing benefits, using a sauna even once a week may also:
- Reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
- Decrease feelings of anxiety
- Help create a feeling of calm
- Lower stress levels
If you have a pre-existing condition, be sure to check with your doctor before you use the sauna. They may have specific recommendations of how to use it as well as the duration.
8. Take 10,000 Steps Each Day
Walking is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise. In fact, the Mayo Clinic currently recommends adults perform at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise each week. Aerobic activity, even if it’s only brisk walking, can strengthen your heart and help prevent heart disease.
In addition, taking 10,000 steps a day can also improve your mental health, increase pain threshold and lower stress levels.
If you’re unable to walk that far at first, you can find other ways to supplement your exercise routine. A swim spa, for example, offers a full-body aerobic workout. You can use the buoyancy of the water as gentle resistance, without the risk of injury.
9. Increase Your Water Intake
Even with the best intentions, it’s not always easy to drink enough water. But since your body is 75% water, not drinking enough can prevent you from feeling your best.
For healthy adults, the general rule of thumb is four to six 8-ounce cups of water a day. However, if you have underlying health conditions, like kidney disease, you may need to speak to your doctor about how much water you really need.
It’s also important to note that while coffee, tea and juices are liquid, they don’t provide the same health benefits as water. In addition to helping with proper digestion, staying hydrated also protects your organs and helps regulate your metabolism.
10. Spend Time With Loved Ones
Spending time with the ones you love can also improve your health. In fact, spending quality time with family and friends can lower your stress levels, ward off depression and even help with feelings of anxiety. Choose activities you can do together, like cooking together, playing a game or soaking in the hot tub.
11. Learn Something New
Hobbies don’t have to be expensive or time-consuming to benefit you. Learning to draw, knitting or doing yoga can all bring greater happiness to your life for little cost. You can even have fun getting to know yourself as you explore different hobbies. You may even decide that trying new things is a new hobby in and of itself!
12. Make Self-Care a Priority
Feeling relaxed and anxiety-free doesn’t need to be fleeting. Everyone needs to make time to practice self-care. That means finding ways at home to create your own sanctuary.
Scented candles, bubble bath and essential oils are three inexpensive ways to create an at-home spa treatment. You can top off your self-care session with a 30-minute soak in the hot tub sinking into a fluffy robe and slippers.
Practice Better Health Habits With Midnight Sun Pools N’ Spas
Midnight Sun Pools n’ Spas offers a variety of swim spas, hot tubs and saunas that can improve your mental and physical health every day. You can view our beautiful collections online or come and visit our state-of-the-art Minnesota showroom. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of hot tubs, reach out to us today.