A new year means a fresh start on forming healthy and beneficial habits in your life. Do you feel achy from sitting too much, or do you get heartburn from your daily meals? By changing your habits, you can start feeling better.
Both men and women can follow the ten healthy habits below for a better start this year. Make 2022 a great year by adopting some of the ideas below into your daily routine.
Eat a Nutritious Breakfast
Skipping breakfast isn’t a great idea because this meal can start up your metabolism first thing in the morning and keep you from overeating later in the day. Children and teenagers who eat a healthy breakfast have shown higher test scores in school.
When choosing what to eat for a healthy and nutritious breakfast, make sure to include:
- Whole grains
- Lean protein
- Fruits or vegetables
- Low-fat dairy products
For instance, you can have an egg sandwich on a whole-grain bagel with a side of plain yogurt. To make your plain yogurt more exciting, mix some berries, fruit, and nuts inside it.
On another day, you might want to choose cereal for your breakfast. Select cereals high in fiber and low in sugar and calories when shopping in the local grocery store.
Here are a few other options to choose from for your nutritious breakfast.
- Oatmeal with blueberries or strawberries and almonds
- A scrambled egg inside whole wheat pita bread with some kale
- A whole-grain sandwich with lean turkey, tomato, cucumber, and lettuce with a side of low-fat milk
Drink Plain Water to Stay Hydrated
To stay healthy and hydrated, you’ll need to drink enough plain water. Don’t choose any waters in the grocery store that have added sugars. You’ll only need Gatorade if you are going on a long run or preparing for a marathon. So be sure to drink pure water and try getting in an extra cup every day.
Water is essential for a wide variety of bodily functions, including:
- The health of your brain
- Digestive system
- Cardiovascular system
Having enough fluid in your body means you’ll remove waste more efficiently from your body, have enough energy to get through the day and reduce high blood pressure as well.
Getting enough water in your system can even reduce your stroke and deadly heart disease risk. If you are a big-time athlete or constantly exercising, you are at higher risk of being dehydrated. You might want to bring a water bottle with you whenever you’re out of the house.
Move Your Body and Exercise for At Least 30 Minutes Per Day
Keeping moving is essential if you want to pursue healthy habits and improve your lifestyle in 2022. Research shows that at least 30 minutes of brisk walking per day can elongate your life and give you more healthy years.
As such, you can try going for a quick 15-minute walk every morning and evening. Just keep moving! Take breaks from work by doing some lunges, jumping jacks, or just jogging up and down the stairs for a few minutes.
You might also want to play a sport if you want to add some more pleasant and fun physical activity to your life. For example, you could join a soccer or basketball team. You can also take up swimming at the local pool. If sports aren’t your thing, join a fitness center and spend your weekends riding a manual bike or jogging on a treadmill.
When the weather is nice out and it’s warm enough to get active, you can go on an actual bike ride through the park, or you can go on a jog in your neighborhood. Yet, during the winter season, you can still stay active outdoors by skiing or ice skating at an ice rink.
Switch to a Mostly Plant-Based Diet
One of the best things you can do for your health is a change to a plant-based diet. Your food intake should primarily consist of plants such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, lentils, nuts, beans, seeds, and whole grains.
You’ll need to avoid eating too many sugary treats, fried foods, junk food, and red meats. You also want to keep processed meats, such as hot dogs and cold cuts, out of your diet.
You don’t necessarily need to become a vegan this year, but you can begin eliminating some of the worst meats out of your diet, such as beef or pork.
When going out shopping for your plant-based meals, some of the foods you can add to your cart include:
- Bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and squash
- Whole-grain bread, rice, and pasta
- Apples, strawberries, bananas, oranges, and grapefruit
- Beans, lentils, and peas
- Almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds
- Vegetable oil or olive oil
- Eggs, plain yogurt, and low-fat milk
Take as Much Red Meat Out of Your Diet as You Can
Red meats, such as beef or lamb, are much less healthy than their counterpart of poultry. You can start incorporating primarily white meat in your diet by making chicken dinners and purchasing ground turkey instead of ground beef.
There are significant health risks for people who overeat red meat and processed meats like hot dogs or bologna. Eating red meat regularly can cause an increased risk of:
- Colorectal cancer
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
The Harvard School of Public Health published a study showing that eating red meat once per day can raise your risk of death from cancer or heart disease by a significant amount.
Furthermore, if you have a serving of processed red meat, such as a hot dog or a couple of bacon slices, can boost your risk of fatal heart disease or cancer by 20 percent.
This research clearly shows why you should try taking as much red meat out of your diet as possible. All you need to do is replace the meats you usually consume with fish like salmon, turkey, chicken, and shrimp.
Also be sure to read up on, “Gut Health: Don’t Ignore These 7 Warning Signs!“
Improve Your Posture
Do you remember your mom getting on your case about your bad posture when you were a child or teenager? Well, she was right! Your posture can play an essential role in your overall health.
You can have fewer aches and pains if you have good posture. With better posture, you’ll be putting less strain on your ligaments. Generally, you’ll have more occasional muscle pains and feel less tired throughout the day if you have decent posture.
So what is good posture? Essentially, you’ll want to hold your head up high when walking and pull your shoulders back. Hold your back up, and don’t slouch. If you keep forgetting to have better posture, leave a reminder on your phone or put a post-it note on your work desk.
Back pain got you down? Check out our post, “4 Best Tips to Lessen Back Pain at Night.”
Get More Sleep
Sleep is essential to feel better throughout the day, have more energy, and remain healthy. Do you only get about six hours of sleep? Does it take you a while to fall asleep?
To get more sleep, you might want to start going to bed half an hour earlier. To be in optimal health, you’ll need to get about seven or eight hours of sleep on most nights of the week.
It has been proven that lack of sleep can cause issues such as:
- Emotional instability
- Pain in the body
- Lower cognitive function
- Diseases later in life
In fact, if you suffer from sleep apnea or insomnia, you may have a higher risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. If you’re having trouble sleeping through the night, talk to your primary care physician. You may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy for treating insomnia.
Any prescription medications assigned to you should be at the lowest dose possible. These drugs should only be used for a limited time, as specific side effects could occur from prolonged use.
Sometimes, getting a good hour of exercise could tire out your body and make you sleep better.
Learn a New Skill to Boost Brain Health
If you want your brain to stay sharp, learning new skills and activities can help. This learning process may involve something as simple as following more complex recipes and creating fun, fresh meals to cook for dinner.
If you want this to be a New Year’s resolution, then sign up for a salsa dance class or volunteer for Habitat for Humanity if you haven’t done a lot of volunteer work before. You might have particular interests, but if you want to learn a new skill, you’ll need to branch out and choose something different.
If you love playing soccer, try out a different sport like golf. If you like playing a game of cards, then try your hand at chess or a game of billiards. You could also take up learning a new language like Italian or Portuguese.
The best part about strengthening your cognitive functioning by learning new skills is slowing down typical signals of aging, including postponing possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. And if you’re still feeling foggy read our blog post, “Nootropics 101: How to Boost Your Brain with “Smart Drugs” + 3 Stacks for Beginners to Try.”
Partake in Strength Training Two or More Times Per Week
Gaining more muscle mass through strength training is also a very healthy habit to pursue in 2022. Along with getting your leg and arm muscles stronger, strength training can also help your bones flourish and boost heart health.
Other benefits of strength training include:
- It helps you manage or even lose weight by raising your metabolism
- It protects your joints from injury and allows you to participate in more physical activities
- Reduces the symptoms of chronic conditions like back pain, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and diabetes
- Improves learning abilities among older adults
You can even participate in strength training exercises without the use of dumbbells. All you need is your own body. Try doing push-ups and lunges a few times a week, and that can also help strengthen your arm and leg muscles.
If you have a gym membership or a pair of dumbbells at home, take part in weight lifting a couple of times per week. You can even try cable suspension training classes, focusing on pushups or planks while suspending part of your body.
Go for a Walk in Nature
If you want to focus on improving both your physical and mental health in 2022, then you’ll want to go outdoors and take a walk in nature. Pick landscapes such as forests, hills or mountains, beaches, and parks.
Even five minutes outdoors should raise your vitamin D levels. This guideline is fundamental in the winter when people spend more time indoors and wear more clothes, preventing sunshine and vitamin D production from touching the skin.
Even if it’s cold outside, you should try going outdoors for a short, brisk walk. Walking in nature will improve your mental health, strengthen your bones, and boost heart health. Try to pick a park or other nature-based landscape instead of walking through the streets, as it can make you feel calmer.
Research shows that children who spend time in green spaces have better cognitive development while nature views outside a child’s home improve self-control.
Furthermore, researchers have found that spending time in nature can improve happiness and social interactions while boosting a sense of life purpose.
This new year of 2022, you can have a fantastic start to your year by following the ten healthy habits outlined above. You can improve your cardiovascular system, cognition, the muscles in your arms and legs, and even your mental health by following the healthy habits in this guide.
It can be easy to improve your overall health. Sometimes, a step as easy as straightening up and improving your posture can lead to better health.
However, you may also need to make more changes by choosing a primarily plant-based diet and eliminating much of the red meats you generally eat. Massive changes like this can make you feel great and become much healthier.
By following the ten healthy habits in this guide, you will lead a much happier and healthier year going forward. What’s your favorite healthy habit? Let us know!