THE 4 PILLARS OF A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
We all understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle to keep us living longer and better. However, there is so much conflicting and confusing advice out there about what a healthy lifestyle actually looks like that it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly what we need to do. Even when we do figure that out, we then have to deal with the challenge of building these habits into our busy schedules.
So, let’s take a step back and make it simple. Here are the four basic foundations of an effective head-to-toe strategy, and how to best incorporate them into your life.
Most of us know that what we eat has a huge impact on our physical and mental health. However, eating a healthy and balanced diet is still a challenge for many. Not only are unhealthy convenience foods often cheaper than fresh food, but they are also tastier and full of addictive substances like sugar and fat.
Simply put, the easiest way to eat better is to cook more often. This keeps you from eating heavily-processed foods and allows you to control exactly what is going into your meals. It is also cheaper than most people think. If you are intimidated by the kitchen, start with very simple meals - like scrambled eggs - and move your way up.
What about when you’re on vacation or enjoying a staycation here in beautiful Fort Lauderdale? One tip is to book a vacation rental with a kitchen rather than stay at a hotel. Doing so allows you to cook your own wholesome meals and keeps you out of the fast-food line. Find a rental near one of Fort Lauderdale’s many beautiful attractions so you can get outside to explore The Isles or check out one of Fort Lauderdale’s many great festivals and shows.
Our bodies were designed to be active. Sedentary lifestyles have been linked to certain cancers, anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and more. But fitting exercise into these lifestyles can be difficult, especially as many people feel like they are just “not good at it.”
There are a few ways you can combat this. First, find an exercise you enjoy. You don’t have to be good at it - you just have to actually like doing it. Preferably, try to find something that covers as many types of exercise (strength training, aerobic, balance, and flexibility) as possible.
Another small change to make is to walk more. Walk to work or, if that’s not possible, take a walk at lunchtime. Go for a hike on your weekends. It’s not intense exercise, but it makes a difference.
According to the Good Body, over a third of Americans don’t get the recommended minimum 7 hours of sleep a night. Busy lifestyles and the addictive appeal of our digital devices keep pushing back our sleep time and, as a result, we are not giving our minds and bodies the rest they need.
You have a schedule for your day, but you need one for night time as well. Set yourself a bedtime that gives you 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Set an alarm half an hour before this time to start winding down for the day - brushing your teeth, getting into your pajamas, switching off from devices. You can also use things like essential oils or soothing sounds to relax you in preparation for sleep.
The above four areas don’t guarantee that you won’t get ill, so regular medical checkups are still needed to make sure everything is going well. This includes easy-to-forget and potentially unpleasant visits like the dentist, as oral hygiene is closely linked to your overall health. You should be going to the dentist twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. Book both visits at once and mark them down on your calendar so you don’t miss it. If you need to find a new dentist, you can use an online search tool to find one near you.
Remember that these four pillars support not only your physical health, but your mental wellbeing as well, because the two are completely interconnected. This is why it is useful to start looking at health from a holistic perspective. Rather than focusing on specific habits, take a broader look at your lifestyle. Identify which of these four areas you need to work on, and make small, incremental changes that will support your overall health in the long run.
Article written by Jennifer McGreggor for Vita Vie Retreat.
What you eat, how you move your body and how you treat yourself is extremely important when it comes to building and sustaining a healthy lifestyle. At Vita Vie Retreat, we teach you how to incorporate all of the elements of an active, healthy life into your daily routine through our fitness retreats. At home, you can start small by incorporating small daily habits into your lifestyle to begin building a better wellness regimen. This article has some great ideas to begin adding simple, doable habits into your daily routine. What’s most important is that you start. Do what you can do and what works for your lifestyle right now. Build from there.
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