Lately I’ve been hearing a lot from new people that I’ve been meeting that they want to live healthy lives, but when people tell me that, they’re usually referring to improving their diets and fitness behaviors. Although fitness and nutrition both play huge roles in health and wellness, there are a ton of other behaviors that can really help boost your health that are almost so obvious that we tend to miss them on first glance.
I would say that every person that I’ve started training this year, with the exception of one or two, have had a problem with how much water they consume. According to Registered Dietitian Amanda Carlson, most people aren’t aware of how much water they’re really drinking and tend to be consuming even as little as half of what they should be. But what do we need water for anyways?
Aside from being a primary component of your body’s composition, water plays a crucial role in countless bodily functions including digestion and metabolism. That means that meeting your body’s hydration needs can really help you feel more energetic and boost your weight loss efforts. So how much water should you be drinking?
There’s really no set amount of water that you should be consuming on a daily basis, the amount is actually greatly based on an individual to individual basis, but if you aren’t aware of your water consumption, then you’re probably not drinking enough.
A couple of effective ways to consume a healthy amount of water include:
- Keeping a cup with you at your desk where you work
- Carry a reusable water bottle with you through the day
- Try alternative options like teas, sparkling waters, or infused waters
What I personally found to be most effective for myself was to carry around a cup with a straw in it. It’s much easier to drink water when you can just grab your cup and take a sip without having to even remove a lid.
Sleep is something that many of us know needs improvement, but never prioritizes enough to actually accomplish. In fact, 30% of Americans are sleep deprived and it really shows in the $411 billion economic loss that it creates in the U.S. economy. Not only is sleep deprivation linked to a loss in productivity, it is directly connected to an increase in mortality rate. So it’s fair to say that your life depends on it.
I have experienced difficulties sleeping in the past, so I’ve learned a ton of tricks that can not only help you sleep more, but also improve your quality of sleep.
- Cut out on caffeine earlier in the afternoon (I do miss my coffee sometimes)
- Limit your alcohol intake when it gets close to bedtime
- Try out essential oils with a diffuser – my favorites are lavender, orange, and eucalyptus
- Keep a fan or white noise machine on
- Make sure the temperature is suitable for you
- Have sex – you probably didn’t need me to tell you that, but it works wonders
Stress is known as a silent killer. Whether it is caused by your daily commute, stressful job, watching over the kids, or even attitude, stress can be a difficult problem to deal with. Sometimes you might not even be aware of it’s presence. Over time, stress can destroy your body and lead to a variety of cardiovascular and mental conditions. But what is the cause of all your stress?
I can’t name all the possible causes of stress in our lives, but I definitely know of a couple that show up regularly when people show up to improve themselves. The common culprits are:
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor self-esteem
The most effective single method that I’ve found to be useful in reducing, and hopefully eliminating, stress is self-reflection. I can’t stress how important it is to understand who you are and who you want to become. If you want to live a healthy, happy life, it takes an active commitment from you to always try to be your best – starting one habit at a time. Understand that it takes time to change, but you have the time to change, if change is what you want.
An easy way for you to self-reflect would be to just take 5 quick minutes at the end of your day to look back on the events of the day and what you liked or disliked about them. From there you can take some additional time, and start figuring out how you can change your behaviors so that you’ll experience more of what you like and less of what you dislike.
Living a healthy lifestyle means you need to eat well and stay active, but it’s even more important to be mindful of these smaller, yet still essential aspects of your life. Take a step today and figure out which of these 3 aspects you need to work on more and make the decision to start today.