March is National Nutrition Month! Given the current happenings, it is important now more than ever to take care of your body. Whether it’s improving your diet or increasing the amount you exercise, there are plenty of ways to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Try these tips for a healthy lifestyle that you can implement into your everyday routine!
Get Your Exercise
Exercising is an easy way to improve your everyday lifestyle. A common misconception is that to exercise, you have to go to the gym. However, that is not at all the case! Going for a walk, going on a bike ride, or even taking the stairs instead of the elevator are all ways you can get active. If you don’t have time for the gym, that doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. There are many at-home workout programs that allow you to work out from the comfort of your apartment. Additionally, finding a friend or family member to engage in physical activity with you makes it seem much less like a chore.
Physical activity benefits your health in more ways than one. According to the CDC, regular physical activity has positive impacts on brain health, as it can keep thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp while reducing feelings of anxiety. Additionally, getting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. Lastly, it can help strengthen your bones and muscles, as well as help you to maintain a healthy weight over time.
Get Enough Sleep
Believe it or not, the amount of sleep you get is incredibly impactful to your overall health. When people are busy, oftentimes they eliminate sleep in order to achieve whatever it is they need to do. However, lack of sleep can not only leave you feeling fatigued and unproductive the next day, but it can also result in more serious health problems down the road. Many studies have found that insufficient sleep can result in a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension. Additionally, a lack of sleep can negatively impact your immune system. Those who get less sleep are three times more likely to contract the common cold. You may want to rethink your next episode of Netflix or scrolling through Twitter before bed, opting for more shut-eye instead.
Just like exercise habits and your sleep schedule, your diet greatly impacts your overall health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet doesn’t mean you have to cut out sweets and only eat salads for the rest of your days. In fact, there are plenty of foods that bring plenty of nutritional value, while remaining equally delicious. When improving your diet, there are some things to keep in mind:
Add Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad for you, and it’s important to add healthy fats to your diet. Foods that include trans fat should be limited, while monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats carry benefits. Healthy fats can be found in fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Create a Colorful Plate
They say that having a colorful plate means that you are more likely to be getting the nutrients that you need. With that being said, incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your diet is important. Most vegetables are low in fat and calories, but prove to be excellent sources of nutrients like potassium, fiber, and vitamins. Eating a diet high in fruit and vegetables can help reduce your risk of heart disease and may even protect against types of cancer.
Reduce Sodium Intake
The recommended daily amount of sodium is 2,300 mg, and the average American consumes about 3,400 mg. What we don’t realize is how many foods, such as prepackaged snacks and processed foods, all have an immense amount of sodium. Try to avoid these foods, and instead of using salt to flavor your foods, try an alternative. The CDC suggests fresh herbs or lemon juice.
Everything in Moderation
Although what you eat is important, it is also important to remember to take everything in moderation. You don’t have to cut out sugar, bread, etc. to maintain a healthy diet. As often as you can, it’s important to cut back on processed food. However, thinking of any one food as “bad” can make you feel guilty should you ever eat it. Instead, cut back how often you do eat it so that it ends up being simply an occasional indulgence rather than a staple in your diet.
There are many ways that you can begin — or continue — living a healthy lifestyle. With March being National Nutrition Month and with the current state of the world, we should be taking our health more seriously than ever. With these tips for a healthy lifestyle, now you can start! Fuel and take care of your body now, so that you can continue to live a healthy life for the years to come. Click here for heart-healthy recipes.
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