7 Simple Habits of Highly Healthy People
Healthy living is way easier to come by if you replicate these habits.
“The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.”
Recently, my father mentioned to me that if you do not have the money to afford health insurance, you’d better do your damndest to stay healthy.
You cannot control some aspects in life. For instance, your family history of illnesses, height, age, and gender. I know the feeling, it sucks!
Fortunately, there are others which we can. And those “others” are not extraordinary. For example, you already know not to stuff your tummy with junk food, smoke, or drink like there is no tomorrow (do not fool yourself — you are guaranteed a tomorrow).
It is fascinating, though, how common causes of death globally are triggered by the same things: stress, exercise, smoking, alcohol and diet.
Below, I will list eight habits you can alter and a straightforward approach to changing them.
The 7 Simple Habits
1. Quit smoking.
This is by far the most fundamental habit, as it affects nearly every one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Unfortunately, it is also the most difficult of these habits to get rid of.
However, simply because it is the most challenging habit does not mean it cannot be changed. Make yourself a plan. Replace it with a positive habit. If you fall, get up and learn from your mistakes.
2. If you are obese or overweight, lose weight.
This is not so much a habit — the best habit to form to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories you consume daily. In other words, eat less. Alternatively, consume low-calorie food such as fruits and greens.
If smoking is the most significant risk factor for many diseases, this comes in as the second biggest.
3. Include fruits and veggies in your daily diet.
This is a no-brainer, yet it is astonishing how few veggies most people consume.
Consuming fruits and greens lowers your risk of developing leading diseases, and it is one of the simplest habits to adopt.
Serve yourself a bowl of salad (without heavy dressings, bacon or other meats). When you are making a soup dish, toss some greens into it.
You can chomp away on an apple after having pancakes for breakfast. Then, when it is lunch or dinner time, cook up greens as a healthy side dish.
4. Cut down on your red and processed meats consumption.
Consuming red meats and processed poultry such as sausages, bacon, canned meats and so on, can increase the likelihood of developing colon or rectal cancer, stomach cancer, and high cholesterol, which subsequently is a leading risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While this would not sit well with many people, take a look online. You will find tonnes of research supporting this. The quality of your calories matters too.
5. Embrace the sweat life by exercising.
There is no need for me to tell you to work out.
However, bear this in mind: physical inactivity can lead to heart disease, even for people who have no other risk factors. It can also increase the likelihood of developing other heart disease risk factors, including obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes.
If you hate getting physically active, you are simply asking to get a major stroke. It is more or less a magic tablet: perform a bit of exercise daily, and you are rewarded with a green bill of health.
You do not need to put a lot of effort into it — begin with five to ten minutes daily in the morning. I am sure you can find lots of five- to ten-minute workout videos on YouTube.
6. Drink mindfully.
Excessive drinking is one of the most significant risk factors for lots of diseases.
A glass of red wine will not harm you. However, have one glass too many, and you are significantly boosting your chances of welcoming a disease into your life.
I#7. Lower your stress level.
Stress is also a risk factor for heart disease and high blood pressure, which in turn opens up the possibility of you catching a stroke.
Simplify your workday so that you do not find yourself in an overwhelming state, and work out to take the edge off.
How to Develop These Habits
This may appear to involve lots of effort and a lifestyle overhaul, especially if you are not already working hard to adopt any of them.
However, let me let you in on a little secret: it took me years to incorporate these habits into my life.
You should have seen me when I was eighteen. I consumed junk food like a savage, hated exercise and tended to overcomplicate my life, which in turn stressed me out like hell.
Then, I learned to improve my way of living by changing habits. Slowly, but eventually, I:
Started running and swimming.
Cleaned up my diet and throw all the unhealthy stuff away.
Simplified my life and reduced stress.
Stop drinking entirely.
If I can do it, so can you. I changed one habit separately and in succession, and it was not difficult.
Do not attempt to change everything at once, and do not make it difficult for yourself. The truth is, it is not cumbersome if you are good at playing the patience game and maintaining your discipline.
Below is how you can alter these habits:
- Come up with positive habits that bring you enjoyment
Read that last word once more. If the habit brings you feelings of enjoyment, the habit change will be effortless.
Replace smoking with positive habits you take pleasure in that satisfy the needs that smoking now fulfils (stress mitigation, boredom starvation, etc.). Fill the voids created by you eliminating red meats from your diet with healthy foods you like.
- Work on changing one habit at a time.
Deciding which habit should undergo a change first does not matter. Simply choose one.
I know you will want to do more than one because it is more time-efficient. However, I highly recommend that you do not change two or more habits simultaneously because it will eventually wear you out and, in turn, demotivates you from this process of moving from a life filled with unhealthy habits.
- Begin as small as you possibly can.
Simply do five minutes in the first week, and do your best to be consistent. Then, the following week, bump the duration up to ten minutes. Small change is, without question, the most effective way I have taken to change habits.
Slow change may sound boring to you. If that is the case, you are no different from a sucker who falls prey to get-rich-quick schemes. However, slow change, done over a long time, lasts.
- Having someone to do it with is better than no one.
If you and your partner want to quit smoking, why not do it together? Not only is the journey more entertaining, but both of you are also more likely to stick with it.
I know these methods work because I have used them many times, and never once did they fail on me.
Every time I live by these principles, I have adopted a new, much healthier habit.
A life of healthy living is not only possible — it is actually simple to attain. The reason why most people see it otherwise is because they are impatient. In other words, healthy living is slower to come by than most people care for.
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