Many people think about getting healthier when the weather gets warmer. We plan beach trips and have more activities outside. The sale of weight loss supplements soar this time of year, but the healthy changes we make now should help us establish new permanent habits for overall health, vitality and happiness. Here are five ways to get long-lasting health that you can start today.
1. Cut the sugar
We are starting to realize more and more that sugar is the main culprit in many lifestyle diseases. Because sugar causes an inflammation response in the body, it isn’t just blamed these days for diabetes, but studies are showing how sugar affects our ability to fight cancer and many other issues. The first step in cutting out sugar is saying no to sweet tea and sodas. It’s also important to remember that natural sugar substitutes are always best.
2. Spend time outdoors
Enjoying nature is good for the body, mind and soul. In fact, spending time outdoors is a great way to feel rejuvenated and to experience the world God made for us to enjoy. Another way to get the most out of leisurely outdoor time is to do it barefoot. Studies have shown that people who go barefoot occasionally are more likely to fight off disease and have more energy than those who don’t. Getting a little bit of sun (less than 15 minutes) each day is still a good way to get Vitamin D and to chase the blues away.
3. Get some sleep
People who don’t get enough sleep tend to have weight gain issues and more health problems. Getting the optimal amount of sleep isn’t just good for your mood, it’s necessary for your body to work at its highest levels. Sleep should always be naturally induced because most prescription sleep aids do not allow the body to go into REM sleep, which causes other problems down the road. Not having a television in the bedroom helps the body calm more before sleep, as does cutting off caffeine by noon.
4. Eat fresh and local
Eating fresh food is the best way to put living nutrition in your body. And if that food is organic, all the better. Buying local food is a way to not only support your neighbors and local farmers, but to also help the local economy. Shopping at our local farmer’s market is a great way to eat fresh and local. It’s also easy to grow your own food, even if it’s in pots on the patio. Every little bit that you can grow yourself not only saves money, but is probably your healthiest option.
5. Count Your Blessings
Being grateful is a wonderful way to stay healthy. The right perspective and a heart that’s thankful is the very prescription for happiness and health. Studies at Harvard have shown this very thing, but we really don’t need a study to see this in action. We can observe it in real life. Saying thank you, writing in a gratitude journal or just taking the time to feel gratitude is a free and easy way to start being healthier today.