8 Steps to a Healthier You

Posted May 4, 2024 by in Health + Fitness

Improving your health can enhance your life in a number of ways. From boosting your energy levels to relieving anxiety, there are endless benefits associated with living a healthier lifestyle. Despite this, making an effort to improve your health can seem like an uphill battle, particularly if your past attempts to enhance your well-being have fallen short. Fortunately, you don’t have to embark on a tough regime to achieve life-changing results. Instead, take a look at these eight steps and start embracing a healthier lifestyle now:

Woman in gym stretching

1. Identify Your Priorities

Being pulled in different directions can increase your stress levels and leave you feeling worn out, which is why identifying your priorities can be such an empowering experience. When you know what you want out of life, you can channel your energy into the things that are most important to you. Conversely, you can stop focusing on the things that matter less and give yourself the freedom to let go of things that no longer serve your overarching objectives. 

Whether it’s family, work, hobbies, or travelling the world, discover the things that inspire, motivate, and satisfy you to determine where your main priorities lie and start building your life around them. From spending more time with loved ones to changing your career, there are a variety of ways to alter your priorities. 

2. Get a Health Check

Before you start making changes to your lifestyle, arrange to get a health check to confirm whether you have any existing conditions that need to be addressed. Preventative health checks are a great way to identify potential issues before they become symptomatic. By addressing these early, you can reduce the risk of becoming unwell and start improving your health when it matters most. 

If a health check shows that your cholesterol levels are creeping up, for example, you can adjust your diet accordingly before your levels put you in danger of developing related conditions. With the added impetus that a health check can give, you’ll be eager to embrace a healthier lifestyle too. 

3. Drop Excess Pounds

Being overweight is associated with a variety of health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. In addition to this, carrying extra weight can put additional pressure on your joints and may contribute to knee, ankle, or hip pain. By maintaining a healthy weight, however, you can reduce your risk factors and potentially alleviate any related symptoms you’re currently experiencing.

4. Get Enough Sleep

Healthy adults typically need around 7-9 hours of sleep each night and, if you’re falling short of this, you could be suffering the effects of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can affect your mood, concentration, and energy levels but it is also associated with cardiovascular issues. Due to this, it’s important to address your sleep cycle and ensure you’re getting enough rest. 

If you struggle to get to sleep or you wake frequently throughout the night, treatment for insomnia could be advisable. However, lifestyle changes, such as improving your evening routine, avoiding caffeine, and reducing stress, can also be effective. 

5. Be More Active

Regular physical activity is an important way of improving your health, particularly if you don’t do much exercise at the moment. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should start hitting the gym five times a week (unless you want to!). Instead, find ways to incorporate exercise into your day-to-day lifestyle so that it becomes a manageable part of your schedule. 

If you usually spend your lunch break sitting at your desk, for example, make the effort to go for a quick walk. Alternatively, try walking or cycling to walk instead of taking the car and you’ll soon see your fitness levels improve. When physical activity becomes a regular part of your routine, you’ll feel and see the benefits relatively quickly, which will help to keep you motivated. 

6. Improve Gut Bacteria

You might be surprised to learn that there are approximately 40 trillion bacteria in the human body and most of them reside in the gut. When the bacteria become unbalanced, however, it can lead to unwanted symptoms, such as bloating, sluggishness, and gastrointestinal disorders. In addition to this, some studies have shown links between imbalances in gut bacteria and the immune system, mental health, and endocrine disorders.

Eating a healthy diet can help prevent or correct these imbalances but supplementing your diet with pre and probiotics can also be beneficial. If you’re unsure which options are right for you, consult a physician in advance and arrange to have a microbiome and gut test.

7. Spend More Time Outdoors

If you spend the majority of your time indoors, there’s a good chance that you’re lacking in vitamin D. Commonly associated with muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, and even depression, vitamin D deficiencies are surprisingly common but can generally be remedied by taking supplements. A simple blood test will confirm your levels of vitamin D and determine whether you need to boost the amount of vitamin D in your symptom. 

As our bodies produce vitamin D from sunlight, spending more time outdoors could also help to keep your levels in the appropriate range. Furthermore, many people find that spending time in nature and getting regular bouts of fresh air helps to boost their mood, increase their activity levels, and relieve anxiety. 

8. Reduce Stress

Stress can have a damaging effect on the body and can also negatively impact your mental health and emotional well-being. Sadly, millions of people are dealing with the symptoms of chronic stress, which include headaches, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite, low self-esteem, anxiety, and loss of sexual desire. Furthermore, stress can cause eating disorders, such as anorexia and binge eating disorder. Most people think dieting is the way to cure these problems. But reducing stress and learning the harmful effects of dieting are more helpful. As stress can also affect your immune system, you might find that you succumb to more illnesses when you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed too.   

Finding ways to reduce or avoid external stressors can be advantageous but this isn’t always possible. However, you can minimize the impact of stress by finding effective reduction methods. By changing the way you think, learning calming breathing techniques, and using yoga, mindfulness, or meditation, for example, you can modify the way your mind and body respond to stress. 

Enjoying a Healthier Lifestyle

As you begin making changes to your lifestyle, aim for realistic goals that are easy to maintain. While major changes can have their benefits, they’re harder to sustain. By choosing targets you can achieve relatively quickly and easily, you’re far more likely to make them a permanent part of your lifestyle and reap the benefits for a longer period of time. 

Woman in gym doing a squat

Similarly, choose to make changes that will offer quick rewards to keep yourself motivated and incentivized. When you can enjoy the fruits of your labour and feel the results yourself, you’ll find that you genuinely enjoy living a healthier lifestyle and seize the opportunities that it brings. 

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