Always feeling under the weather, rundown or sluggish or are you wanting to lose a bit of weight? If so, now is the time to start introducing some healthy habits into your lifestyle!
To help you get started, here’s 7 simple ways to be healthier in 2022. However, you don’t have to wait till the new year to introduce some of these healthy lifestyle habits. Anytime of year is a great time to find ways of becoming a healthier version of you!
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7 Simple ways to be healthier in 2022:
Swap out caffeine and sugary drinks and drink more water!
One of the simplest ways to be healthier is to drink more water! According to NHS England we should all be aiming for 6 to 8 glasses of fluid a day. This includes milk, flavoured drinks, soda as well as tea and coffee in this total. You will also need to increase this amount if you are exercising or when the weather is hot.
We should also be mindful of the type of fluids we are drinking. Most soda’s and flavoured drinks contain huge amounts of sugar, even fancy coffee’s may contain sugar rich syrups. As part of a healthy lifestyle we should all try and replace some of these drinks with water. Drinking more water is not only good for us but it is also a cheap choice for quenching our thirst at any time of day.
Reduce fizzy drinks – The average can of fizzy pop contains about 39g of sugar, that’s nearly double what the World Health Organisation recommends on a daily basis.
Drink less caffeine – Caffeine is usually the first point of call when feeling tired or needing a little pick me up. However, excessive caffeine intake can cause jitters, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping.
Use a refillable bottle – One of the easiest ways of drinking more water is to use a refillable bottle. Not only will you have water on the go, you will also be helping the environment.
Use fruit to flavour – If you struggle to drink plain water, try infusing with fruit. The added vitamin C can also give a boost to the immune system.
Set reminders – If like me, you only remember to have a drink once you become thirsty, try setting timers throughout the day. I found this particularly useful whilst at work as I’d often forget to have regular drinks.
Eat more foods high in water – Another way of getting more water is to eat water rich foods like salad, fruit and vegetables.
Regular exercise is one of the best health habits a person can have. If you want to become healthier, doing regular workouts is defo going to help! Research shows that regular exercise can reduce the risk of major illness by 50% as well as lower the risk of early death by 30%.
Not only is exercise good for our physical health it can also boost self esteem, mood, sleep quality and improve energy levels as well as reducing the risk of mental health conditions.
Stretch – Stretching keeps muscles flexible, strong and healthy. Regular stretching can also improve posture, range of motion, reduce back pain and help prevent injury.
Walk more – Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise, however, it’s a great way of building stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier. Walking in nature also has the extra benefit of reducing stress levels, controlling depression and making us feel happier.
Take the stairs – If you really want to get more exercise into your daily routine, why not try taking the stairs instead using elevators. Taking the stairs whenever possible is a quick and easy way to break out of that sedentary lifestyle and add more physical activity to your everyday life.
Exercise daily – As a general rule we all should be aiming for around 30 minutes of daily exercise. This doesn’t always have to be super intense but something that raises the heart rate, makes you breather faster and gets you feeling hot! To get the most out of your workouts you should do a mixture of stretching, strength training and aerobic exercise.
The key to a healthy diet is eating the right amount of calories as well as making sure the foods you eat meet your nutritional needs.
It’s recommended that men should eat 2500 calories a day and women 2000 calories a day. Any more than this without physical activity to balance energy consumption you are at risk of becoming overweight.
For those of us trying to lose a little weight, we should aim to consume even less calories and increase physical activity. This way your body will start to burn excess stored fat resulting in weight loss.
Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates – Starchy carbohydrates such as rice, pasta and potatoes should make up over a third of the food we eat. Many people believe starchy foods are fattening but gram for gram they contain less calories than fat. Try and choose fibre rich carbohydrates such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta or potatoes with skins on. These options contain more fibre and can help you feel fuller for longer.
Eat more fruit and veg – Fruit and veg are a great source of vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin C and potassium. It’s recommended that we should all eat at least 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day. This can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced.
Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish – Fish is a great source of protein as well as important vitamins and minerals. To help prevent heart disease it is recommended that we should eat at least 2 potions of fish a week including 1 portion of oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines.
Cut down on saturated fat – Our bodies need some type of fat in our diet, however it’s important we choose the right ones. There are two types of fat, saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease. Try to use healthier options such as vegetable oil, olive oil and lower fat spreads. When having meat choose leaner options and cut off any excess fat.
Cut down on sugar – Sugary food and drinks are often calorie rich and consumed too often can lead to obesity and other health conditions. Try to reduce the amount of sugary drinks, cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate and alcohol!
Cut down on salt – Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure giving us an increased risk of developing heart disease or having a stroke! It is recommended that we consume not more that 6g of salt a day. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, it’s though around two thirds of the food we consume already has some amount of added salt.
Reduce processed foods – Heavily processed foods often contain large amounts of sugar, salt and saturated fats all of which can contribute to serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
Keep stress in check!
Stress and anxiety can affect us all at some point in our life, however, if not managed properly stress levels can build up and have detrimental effects on our health. Thats why it’s important to recognise when you are stressed and find ways to reduce it before it becomes a problem.
Indulge in self care – Self care is the act of caring for yourself and making a conscious effort to do things you enjoy and will benefit from in order to improve mental and physical well being.
Exercise – Exercise is probably one of the most important things you can do to combat stress. When you exercise endorphins are released into the bloodstream which improve your mood and act as natural painkillers. It can also improve sleep quality, improve confidence, self esteem and wellbeing.
Spend time with family and friends – Social support from friends or family can be a valuable experience when tying to reduce stress and anxiety. Being part of a friend network can give you a sense of belonging and self worth which can help immensely in tough times.
Have a lazy day – We all have them days when we feel like doing nothing at all! So why not stay in bed, keep the pj’s on and chill out watch your favourite series! After all, you’ve worked hard all week, so you deserve to be lazy from time to time!
Get more sleep!
Getting enough quality sleep is just as important to our health as exercise and a healthy diet! Not getting enough sleep can result in decreased brain function, weight gain and increased risk of health conditions.
Although despite it’s importance many of us still feel sleep deprived and unable to get a proper nights sleep. For those of us us struggle here are a few tips on how to promote a more restful sleep:
Avoid bright screens 1-2 hours before bedtime – Avoiding bright light can help you transition to bedtime and contribute to your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that promotes sleep.
Limit caffeine – Caffeine is a natural stimulant which if consumed late in the day can effect the bodies ability to relax and sleep.
Cut back on sugary and refined carbs – It can be harder for the body to sleep when its still digesting food. Try to avoid late dinners and minimise sugary, fatty or spicy foods. If you need an evening snack, opt for something light and healthy.
Wind down before bed – Its much easier to sleep if we spend a little time winding down beforehand. Disconnect from social media and instead listen to some relaxing music or do some light stretches, yoga or medication.
Improve sleep environment – One of the easiest ways of promoting a good nights sleep is to make the bedroom a comfortable and relaxing space. Make sure you have comfortable bedding, no light disruption, minimal noise and introduce some calming aromas such as lavender which is renowned for it sleep promoting properties.
Become more positive!
Positive thinking can actually change your life! It also has numerous health benefits. positive thinking can improve the immune system, decrease blood pressure, increase resilience and contribute to longevity.
It can also have a positive impact on our wellbeing, relationships and career. Positive people have more self confidence, enjoy life more and find it easier to overcome problems. This leads to better relationships both romantically and professionally and more opportunities. As opportunities and relationships flourish, stress diminishes and our health improves.
Be wary of negative or toxic people – We all have those friends or family members that suck the life out of us. They constantly talk negatively and blame all there problems on everyone else but themselves. Now some people would say to shut these kinds of people out of your life, however this isn’t always easy as it sounds! If you can then great, but for those who can’t try and limit your time with them, don’t focus on the negative and try and stay positive around them.
Use motivational quotes – Motivational quotes reach out to us just when we feel like giving up or struggling to push ourselves to the next level. The right quote at the right time can have an uplifting effect, helping us to overcome tough times, stop procrastinating, escape our comfort zone and encourage us to take action!
Use positive affirmations – Affirmations are positive statements that can help you challenge and overcome negative thoughts and behaviours. They provide inspiration as well as simple reminders helping us to focus on our goals.
Set goals – Setting goals is essential for our development and success. Goals help us create a road map for success, they give us a target to aim for and help us see where we are going and what we need to do to get there!
Although you may have lots of other priorities in your life it’s important you make time for fun! Having fun releases feel good hormones and reduces stress in turn helping to prevent long term diseases. Making time for fun also helps increase creativity, productivity and overall cognition.
Laugh more – Laughter is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, it can also reduce tension by relaxing muscles.
Enjoy hobbies – Hobbies are a great way to destress and remain mentally productive at the same time. Having a hobby that you enjoy can enrich your live, give you fulfilment and helps you learn new skills. Enjoying a hobby can also take your mind of everyday stresses and forget about responsibilities for a little while.
Enjoy activities with other people – Spending time with friends and family strengthens relationships and fosters healthy support networks. Doing activities together also enhances bonds and increases positive emotions. For example people are more likely to laugh whilst with friends or family than being alone.
Being healthy isn’t just about eating the right foods and doing some exercise. It’s also about learning healthy habits that can improve your mind body and soul. Health should be viewed in a more holistic way focusing on our overall wellbeing. After all we can eat all the right foods and do regular exercise but that means nothing if we are miserable, unhappy and feeling mentally drained.
To live a full balanced happy life we need feed our bodies with good nutrition, burn excess calories as well and make time for family, friends and most importantly yourself!
Hope you have enjoyed reading my 7 simple ways to be healthier. Do you have any particular healthy habits that you would add to this list, if so let me know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,