Everyone knows healthy habits are important: eating well, exercising, and leading a balanced lifestyle. But do you really know the precise impacts a healthy lifestyle can have on your body and mind and why it is so important to nurture the development of healthy habits?
Healthy habits are those habits that can improve your wellbeing on the short and long term, and bring benefits to you physically and mentally. Usually sustainable healthy habits can be difficult to develop and maintain, but if you become more aware of what benefits they bring, this will motivate you more to pursue and nourish them.
Below we have listed some of the major benefits healthy habits can have, with some easy-to-start-with tips to help you introduce healthy habits in your life in a sustainable way.
1. Physical Health
Obviously, a healthy lifestyle with regular exercise and good eating habits are beneficial for your body in terms of maintaining a healthy weight. But even when you’re not trying to lose weight, exercise and eating right can boost your immune system, improve your cardiovascular health and help increase your energy level. This means that you will be less prone to falling ill, and will be more productive during the day when your energy levels are consistent.
Easy habits to start with are taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, biking to work instead of taking the car, or having a brisk lunch walk with your colleagues instead of a sit-down lunch. Many people tend to also skip breakfast in the morning because they are too busy or not hungry yet, but this can be detrimental to your weight as well as your performance during the day. Skipping breakfast raises your blood sugar, which increases fat storage and also results in “energy slumps” later on in the day. So even grabbing a banana in the morning is better than eating nothing.
2. Mental Health
But health isn’t only related to our body. Remember the saying “a mind is a valuable thing to waste”? Our mind can be considered our most valuable asset, and so we need to take good care of it.
Exercise and healthy food can fuel the brain in several beneficial ways. Being physically active stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, chemicals that make you feel happier and fight stress. It also helps the body become more alert by increasing cognitive function; in other words, you will be more productive, effective and efficient during the day.
But physical activity and good eating habits aren’t the only habits that are beneficial to your mind. One of the biggest threats to our generation’s health is a lack of sleep. Insufficient sleep can have serious consequences: reduced life expectancy, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, and has even been linked to depression.
Easy-to-start-with habits are to make sure that, even if you only have a few hours of sleep you can squeeze in in your busy week, you make those hours count by reducing caffeine intake 4 hours before going to sleep, and making sure your bedroom is free from artificial light and is kept at a cool temperature to allow your body to go through the sleep cycle and pass all important stages of sleep without being disrupted.
It’s also very important to stick to a regular sleeping schedule to which your body can adjust and get accustomed to, meaning it is more beneficial for your body to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, than to sleep in and “catch up” on sleep.
3. Social Health
One more very important aspect of health is that of social health, which is often put slightly in the shadow of that of exercise and healthy eating habits. Social health can have a significant impact on our mental, physical and emotional well-being.
Social interaction keeps the mind active, and the feeling that we ‘belong’ to a community, whether through joining a club of any kind, volunteering or being active in our community, boosts our happiness. So you can say that joining HUTAC’s events is a part of establishing a healthy habit!
Keep an eye on this space for more blogs! Over the coming weeks we will be regularly posting tips and tricks, good reads and scientific insights with regards to health in relation to our body and mind. We will explore how to introduce healthy habits in a sustainable way to accommodate a busy lifestyle.