How To Build an Incredibly Healthy Lifestyle in 5 Steps

Alyssa Atkinson

Everyone can (and should) adopt these practices. by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

1. Carve out 30 minutes daily to do this. 

I cannot stress enough how important it is to get your body up and moving each day. Even gentle movement, such as walking, can frame your whole mood and mindset each day. 

If you have a strict work schedule, find a way to squeeze in your movement before, after, or even during work, whether that be during your lunch break or through casual walks to and from the water machine, coffee pot, etc. 

30 minutes of daily exercise is a supremely healthy habit for decreasing your risk of early death from a number of diseases. In fact

“In the journal Clinical Epidemiology, the authors report how replacing just half an hour of sitting each day with housework, walking, standing, or similar low-intensity activity is linked to a 24 percent reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.”

Both your mental and physical health will see positive impacts from daily exercise, so it’s the first key way to start building an incredibly healthy lifestyle. 

2. Keep the following in check. 

Many people fail to realize just how strongly the body and mind are connected. If you are not in a good mental headspace, that could have severe negative impacts on your physical health as well. 

So, it’s incredibly important to check in on your mental health regularly when you are trying to build and maintain a healthy lifestyle. 

In fact

“Poor physical health can lead to an increased risk of developing mental health problems. Similarly, poor mental health can negatively impact physical health.”

There have even been studies that link the impacts of the body on the mind and vice versa. For example,

“People with the highest levels of self-rated distress (compared to lowest rates of distress) were 32% more likely to have died from cancer. [Similarly] depression has been found to be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease.”

If you are constantly expending all your time and energy on work, friends, family, passion projects, your side hustle, or anything else, and you never make time for yourself and your mental well being, it will catch up with you eventually. 

Make your mental health a priority, and you will make huge strides towards an incredibly healthy lifestyle.

Photo by Helena Lopes on Unsplash

3. Drink this much water.

Even if you eat healthy and work out regularly, it can be easy to forget the crucial health practice of hydrating properly. I know because I have been there way too many times to count. 

Unfortunately, this health practice is not only easy to fall short on, but it can also prevent you from reaching your fitness goals and living your healthiest life. 

The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends that you drink:

  • About 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) of fluids a day for men
  • About 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) of fluids a day for women

Two strategies that have helped me stay on track with my water intake for the past year have been carrying my water bottle with me wherever I go and keeping it right next to me at my desk while I work. 

When your water bottle is right in front of you all day, it serves as a gentle reminder to continue to drink enough throughout the day. 

4. Adopt this view towards food. 

Let me make something very clear. There is no one size fits all way of eating that works perfectly for every single person. Restrictive fad diets have been scientifically proven to backfire in a number of ways, and they are generally considered unhealthy. 

I practice a healthy and sustainable way of eating that I like to call balance. If you can view food as a source of fuel for your body, focus on minimally processed ingredients, and recognize that there is nothing wrong with enjoying the occasional dessert, you’ll be far more likely to stick to your healthy lifestyle. 

In fact, registered dietitian Brooke Alpert states that:

“Once you’ve been deprived of the foods you love, you are more susceptible to binging and eventually regaining the weight you’ve lost — plus a few pounds…What’s more important for success, experts say, is avoiding strict food rules — something that is typical of many diets.”

I have followed a minimally processed, plant based diet for over four years, and I have never once felt deprived or malnourished. By focusing on balance, I have been able to maintain this healthy lifestyle year after year. 

If you feel trapped, restricted, or constantly hungry, shifting to a mindset of balance and sustainability rather than dieting might be a better approach.

Photo by Max Nayman on Unsplash

5. Aim for 8 hours of sleep each night. 

No one can get a perfect seven or eight hours of sleep every single night, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be something you strive for and achieve most of the time. 

Now, there are certain cases where a person might still function well on a little less sleep, but either way, the general rule of prioritizing sleep to live your healthiest life still applies here. 

This is because getting enough sleep helps you:

  • Prevent illness
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Lower your risk for serious health problems, like diabetes and heart disease
  • Decrease stress and boost your mood
  • Think more clearly 
  • Get along well with others
  • Make intelligent decisions and avoid injuries

Whenever I get a poor night’s sleep, I can feel the effects immediately when I wake up. My mood dips, I feel less motivated, I crash earlier on in the day, and I lack the energy and desire to work out and eat healthy (two things I typically love and look forward to each day). 

If sleep hasn’t been a priority for you lately, it’s definitely something you’ll want to focus on in order to live your healthiest lifestyle and reach your fitness goals. 

Final Thoughts

Taking care of your physical and mental health is no easy feat. Everyone goes through periods of time where they’re struggling, mentally or physically, due life’s stressors.

In my experience, the only way to get through those tough periods of time is to ride the wave, stick to a routine, and do all the little things, like sleeping, hydrating, and exercise, that add up to living an incredibly healthy life. 

If you can adopt the five habits I’ve shared and practice them day in and day out, you will be well on your way to living an incredibly healthy and happy life. 

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Ohio U XC/Track alum. I love to run. I blog about food, health, fitness, lifestyle, etc. Personal Blog - | Electrical and Computer Engineering Grad.

Raleigh, NC

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