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Creating Healthy Habits: Small Changes for Long-Term Success

The healthiness of your life is influenced by the sum of the choices you make that go far beyond what you eat. Wellness journeys require strategically aligned diet, exercise, and sleep practices, each contributing to a wholesome lifestyle.


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Committing yourself to small improvements within these areas each day gradually leads to long-term health success.  Read on as we explore how you can boost your health with small but effective lifestyle changes.  


Setting Realistic Goals And Focusing On Gradual Changes 

The age-old saying goes that Rome wasn’t built in a day — and the same applies to your health.  


Also, it is important to understand that journeys towards wellness differ among individuals. A person’s health progression varies according to multiple factors like existing medical conditions, age, environment, and peer support. So it is important to look within and focus on yourself, prioritizing goals based on your physical needs and comfort level. 


Breaking your health goals down into smaller objectives makes them more achievable. Celebrating small health and wellness victories motivates you to follow through with your entire fitness and wellness plans. On the contrary, unrealistic health goals might cause you to regress to bad habits since they do not assure you that you are on the right track. 


Incorporating More Whole Foods and Reducing Processed Food Intake 

It is important to reduce or eliminate processed food intake in your diet & dieting plan. The consumption of processed food can significantly increase the risk of health conditions due to excessive salt, sugar, and fat. A bulk of processed foods also contain empty calories. Although these foods with empty calories may satisfy hunger, they do not provide your body with adequate nutritional value. Examples of processed foods with high quantities of empty calories include cakes, candies, cookies, and most fast food. 

 

While it is possible to check for nutritional values on a processed food label, it is easy to overlook them. Checking for nutritional breakdown becomes more challenging when eating out or ordering from an eatery that prepares dishes with processed food ingredients. For optimal health results, consider replacing processed food with whole foods across your meals.  


Whole foods, or ingredients found in their natural form, generally provide your body with higher nutritional value. Whole food-based meal plans like the Mediterranean and Keto diets have proven to reduce the risks of chronic ailments like heart disease and diabetes.  Consider discussing your diets & dieting plans with a qualified nutritionist or primary healthcare provider to decide on the most suitable approach.   


Prioritizing Hydration, Sleep, And Stress Management  

Your body is like a complex machine that requires constant maintenance for optimal function. As with maintaining a machine, it is important to monitor and manage the critical parts. Hydration, sleep, and stress management are all essential components of health.  


Hydration 

Around 60% of the human body comprises water. The precious substance serves many vital functions within the body, such as regulating temperature and protecting sensitive tissues. As such, it is important to receive adequate daily hydration to keep your body functioning in top form.  


Although the required amount of fluid intake differs between individuals based on size, body function, and environment, there areguidelines to set you on the right track. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men and 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) for women. 


Sleep 

It is essential to prioritize sleep in your wellness plans. A healthy circadian rhythm (i.e., 24-hour internal clocks within the body) restores your energy while repairing muscles, organs, and cells. The average person experiences four to six cycles per night, which refreshes their body and mind.  


Enhance your sleep quality by creating a conducive and consistent environment for daily rest. Also, it is best to avoid screens at least one hour before bedtime and keep your room temperature comfortable. 


Stress Management 

Stress is often an inescapable part of life due to various commitments and relationships. Although this might be the case, you should keep those stress levels in check. Unmoderated chronic stress can gradually lead to psychological conditions like depression and anxiety disorders.  


Studies have also discovered a link between stress and chronic health conditions like high blood pressure, stroke, and cardiac diseases. These conditions are potentially a result of stress-induced strain of the blood vessels and hormonal spikes. Experts from the American Psychological Association have identified stress as a major health risk.  


You can reduce stress buildup with mindfulness and relaxation practices, which include: 

  • Guided imagery - A mind-body intervention technique where a mental health practitioner can help encourage positive thoughts through sensory perception. 

  • Jogging or brisk walking - These stamina-building exercises offer relaxation and improve breathing which helps in coping with stress. 

  • Improved sleeping habits - Healthy sleep patterns contribute to a well-rested mind better equipped to regulate emotions.   

  • Working with checklists - Sorting tasks into prioritized lists allows you to focus on having things done without getting overwhelmed by your duties. 

Stay on Top of Healthy Habits by Making Small Improvements 

Ultimately, simple lifestyle changes can significantly improve your health, yielding long-term benefits. By focusing on the small steps, you can achieve more sustainable progress and fine-tune each aspect of your well-being.   

Discover more tips in the Active Fit+ blog to enhance your health and wellness journey!  

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