Help create healthy habits for a healthy life

It’s much easier to prevent something than it is to reverse it. As we age, our bodies start to change and our athletic abilities start to gradually decline, but when it comes to a long healthy life, the rules don’t change for anyone.

The two lifestyle factors most people understand are having a healthy diet and regular exercise, but there is so much more you can do to create a healthy future.

On average, it takes more than two months for a behaviour to become automatic, 66 days to be exact. As of the end of September, there are two months and 30 days left of the year. So, hop off the couch and start forming these habits now, so in the new year you’ve already got a head start!

Here are 5 habits to start forming before the new year.

1. Move everyday

Sitting for long, uninterrupted periods of time may leave you more prone to cardiovascular problems. In Australia, there are around 13 million people that have an office job. These types of careers in particular are seated majority of their time, so these people are going to be most affected. So, it is especially important to be moving around throughout the day. Most people however, have a good routine of going for a walk after work, but it is still important to get up and move for at least a few minutes, may times throughout the day.

There are many ways you can add short burst of movements into your daily routine such as setting a reminder throughout the day. Most fitness trackers already have this notification that you have been seated for too long, but you could also use a timer or an oven timer to help you remember that you need to get up for 1-5 minutes and just walk around or do some quick exercises such as squats or leg lifts.

If possible, instead of being seated while you're on a phone call, try standing up or pacing around the house/workplace. That way instead of being seated while you're talking, you can work while having a stroll around your house/workplace.

If you have stairs leading to your workplace, take them instead of choosing the elevator. Even if it is only one or two flights

2. Drink more water

It is impossible to talk about a healthy diet without mentioning this essential component. Drinking plenty of water can help with weight management, skin health and keeping your body efficient. A good volume of water is about 2 litres of water every day.

Sometimes water isn’t enough to enlighten our tastebuds. So, try coconut water or sparkling water instead. These products will still give you your replenishment throughout the day. You could also be adding tea bags to your water. There is such a wide range of teas out there. Don’t limit yourself to traditional hot tea, cold-water tea bags are perfect as well!

You can also eat your water! Fruits and vegetables are extremely water dense. So, you can add these to your total water for the day. Berries, watermelon and leafy greens will help replenish your hydration levels too.

3. Have daily “me” time

Stress is a major issue as we get older. Stress from work, friends, family and personal life. The older we get the more responsibilities we take on and the less time we have for ourselves. Learning to de-stress from these stressful situations is very important in our lives. If you're typically in a high stress situation to begin with, it can make managing stressful situations much more difficult and as a result can take a greater toll on your health.

You should also remember that taking me time is not selfish. Do things that feed you mentally, emotionally and spiritually and you'll bring greater patience and a more positive attitude to your relationships. You'll become a better parent, partner and a more effective team player at work.

If you need, look through your calendar and book some time out during the week. You can always find 5-15 minutes throughout your day if you look hard enough. Don’t use this time to fold laundry or catch up on work emails. At the start, it may feel like you're creating even more stress, but you'll have more energy if you take a little time off.

Use this time to focus on your breathing. Really focusing and relaxing on your breaths. You could also use that time for stretching or getting up and walking around just being with you and yourself. Read a few more pages in the book you're reading. Or even doing some meditation with yourself to clear your mind and restart your body.

4. Having quality sleep

When it comes to being physically fit and healthy, sleep is at the top of the list of necessities. Poor sleep is strongly linked to weight gain. Those who have shorter, disturbed sleep tend to weight significantly more than those who get adequate sleep.

Good sleep can also improve your concentration and productivity levels. Sleep is incredibly important for the brain. This includes cognition. Concentration, productivity levels. If you are well rested you have more energy to complete the things needed to do throughout the day. Eventually this will lead to reduced stress, because the you are getting what is needed to be done.

Quality sleep is also linked to improved immune systems. Sleep helps the body recover, regenerate and reenergise. Studies have shown that those who slept less than 7 hours were almost three times as likely to develop a cold than those who slept 8 hours or more.

Some things you can do to improve your sleep quality are avoiding sleeping when you’ve already had enough sleep. Forming a routine and going to bed at the same time every night. Spending more time throughout the day being active and being outside.

5. Eating a plentiful breakfast

Everyone knows breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but most people don’t know why that is. Breakfast kick starts your metabolism, helping you burn calories throughout the day. It also provides you with the energy you need to help you get things done throughout the day. Skipping this morning meal can throw off your body’s rhythm of fasting and eating. When you wake up, the blood sugar your body needs to make your muscles and your brain work best are usually low. Breakfast helps replenish this. If your body doesn’t get the fuel from food, you may feel sluggish and you'll be more likely to overeat later in the day.

A good breakfast should include something from every food group. Fruits, vegetables, grains, protein and dairy. Try include food like yogurt, eggs, nuts, seeds or legumes. You should also try add complex carbohydrates such as whole fruits, vegetables and whole grain that provide fibre and will help you feel fuller for longer.

Now that you read through 5 habits to get you kickstarted for the end of the year, its time to start implementing these into your daily life to help you achieve the longer life everyone desires!

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Claudia Geddes

Claudia Geddes

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