Many associate a healthy lifestyle with major changes: habits, nutrition, daily routine, sports. But any changes in life are easier and more psychologically comfortable to bring in when they are gradual and not too large-scale. 12 simple hacks that we have selected will help you take the first steps towards a healthy lifestyle.
Get tested for vitamins and minerals
Many people, starting to lead a healthy lifestyle, include various vitamin complexes in their diet. But vitamins cannot be taken uncontrollably, since many of them do not combine with each other, and an overdose can lead to hypervitaminosis, which threatens no less serious problems than the lack of these substances. Therefore, before you change your lifestyle, you need to understand which vitamins and minerals you lack.
Of course, there is no single analysis that would cover all groups of vitamins, but a doctor, based on certain symptoms, can assume which substances your body is deficient in and write out an appointment for a particular analysis.
Keep a food diary
There are many reasons to start keeping a food diary: identifying food habits and addictions, monitoring weight loss, frequency and time of meals, portion size. Those who start it will be surprised how many hidden calories are present in their diet.
By keeping a diary, you can adjust the diet, the quality and frequency of what you eat, and identify the main reasons why weight does not decrease. For example, you eat at the computer or are used to snacking on the run, your diet is too high in saturated fats and sugars. The diary is especially recommended for busy people who would like to eat right, but they do not have time to monitor their diet and eating habits. A diary will help you see an objective picture of your nutrition. Moreover, now there are many convenient applications that make calculations themselves, draw up graphs, and calculate calorie content.
Avoid gadgets before bed
Good health is impossible without quality sleep. One of the simple hacks that will help normalize sleep is to put your gadgets away at least an hour before bedtime. This is not only a smartphone or tablet, but also a computer, TV. Dependence on social networks and serials interferes with early falling asleep and achieving a deep phase of sleep. Moreover, you should not read the news before going to bed: an overabundance of new information leads to an increase in the level of anxiety. Freed up time can be spent on reading, hygiene procedures, light warm-up.
Remember about the culture of sleep. A person should fall asleep in the dark, because electric lighting, which artificially prolongs daylight hours, leads to a lack of sleep. Artificial light suppresses the production of the hormone melatonin, which is involved in the regulation of the biorhythm of sleep and wakefulness. Accordingly, the less this hormone is produced, the later falling asleep occurs, and the person does not get enough sleep.
Install a reminder app
A sedentary lifestyle is the disease of our time. A person can spend the whole working day without getting up from an office chair — and this is a violation of posture, headache, joint pain, congestion, muscle spasms. And this is only a small part of what a sedentary lifestyle can lead to.
During the working day, try to get up regularly to stretch your muscles. The easiest way is to install a special application on your phone that will remind you to move, or simply set a timer on your phone.
Replace a chair with a fitball
If you work from home, try replacing your chair with a fitness ball. By simply sitting on this fitness ball, you will maintain your posture and thereby reduce the risk of back pain. The effort that a person makes while sitting on the ball to maintain balance forces him to sit in an upright position, thereby avoiding back strain. In addition, the ball eliminates the habit of sitting cross-legged, which is bad for posture. Fitball instead of a chair, it is strengthening muscles, improving blood circulation, developing a sense of balance.
If you have not used the ball in place of a chair before, start doing it gradually, alternating between the ball and the usual chair. Over time, you will be able to spend more and more working time on the fitball.
Review your cosmetics
A healthy lifestyle is not only what we eat inside, but also what we put on the skin. What cosmetics we use affects the health of our skin in the long run. Therefore, regularly review your cosmetics and throw away products that have already expired without regrets.
Remember that the indicator of spoiled cosmetics is not only a bad smell and a changed texture. Be sure to check the expiration date indicated by the manufacturer. At the same time, please note that two dates can be indicated on the product: the first is the shelf life of the sealed tube, the second is the opened one.
Expired cosmetics lose their properties over time, but this is the least of the problems. It is much more dangerous that microorganisms multiply in the product, the risk of allergies and reactions of varying severity increases: redness, dry skin, rash, itchy spots, exacerbation of acne, conjunctivitis from expired carcasses and even Quincke’s edema.
Try to choose cosmetics in safe forms of packaging — those that do not involve contact with fingers, brushes or sponges. For example, bottles with a dispenser or tubes.
Train yourself not to skip breakfast
The first meal of the day is considered the most important. Skipping breakfast can lead to a rapid drop in energy levels and overeating throughout the day. In addition, the constant neglect of breakfast can lead to irritation of the gastric mucosa, since hydrochloric acid is produced regularly, and a large amount of it accumulates overnight by morning.
It is not necessary to cook something complicated for breakfast. It can be the so-called “breakfast in a jar” — oatmeal soaked overnight with fruits, berries, nuts, or whole-grain bread sandwiches with boiled meat, cheese and lettuce.
Add smoothies to your diet
If you are unable to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with the required amount of vegetables and fruits, add vegetable and fruit smoothies to your diet. Preparing them is very simple — just load vegetables or fruits into a blender and chop. Smoothie recipes are very diverse: carrot, apple, banana, as well as greens, beets, zucchini, cucumbers and many others.
Stop eating at your desk
An office table, even if it is a desktop at home, is not meant for eating. In front of the computer, a person is distracted from the process of eating and eats much more than necessary. And regular overeating is the path to obesity. Scientists at the University of Bristol, USA, urge people to refuse to eat in front of a computer or TV, because in this case a person does not realize what and how much he eats, and the process of digesting food in front of the monitor is uncontrolled, and the food enters the stomach badly chewed. It is also important that the keyboard is a very dirty place where thousands of bacteria live.
Find workout videos online
During the pandemic, going to the gym has become difficult. To keep fit without having to go to the gym, find the right workout videos on Youtube. On this site you can find both training and entire marathons of all kinds. So you can keep fit even at home.
Use a pedometer
According to WHO recommendations, a person should take at least 8–10 thousand steps per day. This is the norm that every person needs for heart health and maintaining muscle tone. Unfortunately, many of us do not pass even half the norm per day. The easiest way to accustom yourself to such a load is to use a pedometer.
There are several possibilities. You can buy a fitness bracelet or a smartwatch with a pedometer function. Modern gadgets not only count steps and distance traveled, but also track heart rate, calories burned, motivate to move more. An even more affordable option is to install an application with a pedometer on your phone. However, the second method has a large error compared to fitness bracelets and smart watches.
Don’t try to change everything at once
How many times in our lives do we try to start exercising, change our diet to a healthy one, and get rid of bad habits. And in most cases, these initiatives are not crowned with success. Do not try to start a healthy lifestyle in all areas at once — change one thing first. For example, sign up for a trial class at the gym and see if you like it. If you get involved, notice positive changes, you will want to follow and change your diet.
Or start with your diet. But do not drastically go on a diet and deprive yourself of your favorite foods — first add something useful to your diet. For example, add chia seeds or a spoonful of bran to porridge, flavor a salad with a handful of nuts and unrefined linseed, sesame or pumpkin oil. If you can’t stop fried right away, buy an oil dispenser or a regular silicone brush to grease the pan — and you will already use it less.
Remember that a healthy lifestyle starts with small steps. After each change, evaluate the results: what has changed? Have you begun to feel better? Gradually, you will begin to live a healthier life.
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Clinical Instructor, Harvard Medical School
What is meant by a healthy lifestyle? These are five areas on which the duration and quality of human life depends. First — healthy diet. Healthy foods include vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, healthy fats, and omega‑3 fatty acids. Junk foods include processed meats, sugary drinks, trans fats, and sodium.
Second — physical activity level. A person needs, on average, at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity daily. Third — body mass. A healthy body mass index ranges from 18.5 to 24.9.
Fourth — smoking. It is clear that a healthy lifestyle in this case means a complete cessation of smoking. Fifth - alcohol. An acceptable portion of pure alcohol for men is considered to be from 5 to 30 grams per day and from 5 to 15 grams for women.
Healthy habits are of the utmost importance. Studies have shown that people who meet the criteria in these five areas live longer than those who do not: women — 12 years longer, men — 15 years, provided that they led a healthy lifestyle before the age of 50 .