Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits

Building Healthy Lifestyle Habits

On an average, it takes about two months or 66 days to form a habit. If you’ve developed some unhealthy ones in your lifetime, we understand how hard it is to break it. The same principle applies to building healthy habits. In the spirit of adopting a healthy lifestyle and habits, we are listing some diet, nutrition and fitness ideas that you can incorporate into your busy life.

Eat your colours

When looking for rainbows, most of us tilt our heads up to the sky. But when it comes to your health, the most important place you can find a rainbow is on your plate. Eating fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours means you’re more likely to get the vitamins and nutrients you need. For good health, our body requires more than 40 different nutrients, and no single food can supply them all. It is not about a single meal, but rather, a balanced food choice practised over time that will make a difference. A high-fat lunch could be followed by a low-fat dinner. After a large meat portion at dinner, opt for fish for the next meal.

Healthy alternatives for unhealthy food

We don’t expect you to drop all your unhealthy eating habits overnight nor should you need to. Simply find healthier alternatives to your favourite snacks or meals that are high in calories. If you’re a chips lover like we are, substitute them out for homemade kale crisps. It’s the best of both worlds — they’re healthier for you and you still get to snack. You can also slowly adopt low-fat dairy, whole grains, healthy oils like avocado and virgin coconut oil and natural sweeteners like fruit instead of high fat or sugar alternatives.

P/S: It’s important to remember that you’re building new healthy habits and it can take some time to adapt. It’s totally okay to slip up along the journey, as long as you pick yourself back up.

Incorporate fruits and vegetables to your diet

Fruit and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin C, potassium and dietary fibre to maintain a healthy gut. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, it is recommended to consume five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables per day. To do this, order or make yourself a glass of fresh fruit juice at breakfast, cut up some apples and watermelon as snacks and a good portion of varied vegetables with each meal.

Reduce salt and sugar intake

Salt is a criminal that causes high blood pressure and an increased cardiovascular disease risk. Following are a few methods to reduce salt in the diet:

  • When shopping, opt for products with lower sodium content.
  • When cooking, spices can compensate for salt, lending a variety of delicious flavours.
  • When eating, try not to have salt shakers on the table.

Sugar should also be enjoyed in moderation as occasional treats. You can substitute sugary drinks and food for natural sugar such as fruits.

Drink your H2O

Around 60 percent of the human body is made up of water. It has been advocated over and over again how imperative water is for the cells and organs to function, among other benefits, yet it’s commonly overlooked. Water also helps keep your temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, protects your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues and gets rid of wastes through urination, sweat and bowel movements. If you detest drinking plain water, add some flavourings such as lemon to help you keep to your water intake. 

Use stairs and furniture as gym equipments

Scurry up the stairs every chance you get, whether you’re at home or at the office. To make it more of a challenge and a strong cardio workout, walk up and down the stairs repeatedly. Start with say, 3 repetitions and increase them as you feel stronger. You can also get creative and include more resistance by using a gallon water or wine bottles as your weight. In the kitchen, use chairs for planks and tricep dip exercises as opposed to buying expensive equipment.

Take a 10-minute walk

Taking a walk every day, even for 10-minutes can help boost your cardiovascular health. If you’re working in the office, use your lunch time to walk and pack your food or walk to the furthest bathroom, and take the stairs to your floor. Make an effort to park further than you usually do at the grocery store or take short morning walks at the nearest park when the weather permits. Remember, even the smallest number of steps still add up.

Correct your posture

If you’re Asian, you can probably relate to being yelled at when you were younger for having bad posture. Turns out, our parents were right. Having good posture can prevent all the aches and pains that come with growing older and reduce stress on the ligaments. Try to be conscious about it — whenever you find yourself slouching, immediately correct it. Alternatively, you can try to leave yourself a note to sit up straight until it becomes an unconscious habit. There’s something about walking with your shoulders back and head held high that radiates self-esteem and confidence.

Call it a night half an hour earlier

Sleep is the body’s essential function that allows it to recharge. Sleeping a solid seven or eight hours helps the body remain healthy and stave off diseases. That said, many of us don’t practice this. Solid sleep doesn’t just give you more energy, it can also help with healthy eating goals. When you lack sufficient sleep, the body’s production of hormones that suppress appetite doesn’t function optimally, thus contributing to weight gain. You’re also at risk of developing heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure if you suffer from untreated insomnia or sleep apnea

If you’re feeling weary, sneak in a cheeky nap in the day, no longer than 30 minutes to avoid falling asleep later than you should. You can also call it a night half an hour earlier than your usual time, turn off the biggest distraction — your phone and wind down with a book. You’ll fall asleep in no time.

Balance exercises

Balance exercises are recommended by experts as part of neuromotor training, which helps improve balance, agility and mobility — all the attributes required in everyday movement and other forms of exercises. It’s quite simple to execute and assimilate into your routine like standing on one leg for 10 seconds at a time, then switch to the other leg while brushing your teeth or waiting in line for the bus.