In long term health and wellness it’s the simple things. It really is.
Minor changes can literally transform your health over time. Amy taught me this in 2008 when we decided to give up all animal protein/products (except fish and eggs for me) for good.
I immediately felt different. My allergies, abdominal pain and bloating, headaches and anxiety were all significantly reduced (if not eliminated).
Over time everything about my health improved. I slept better, perspired less (it was an issue even though I was fit), had higher energy and felt like a cloud had lifted in my mind.
Giving up meat may seem like a drastic change to you but for me it really wasn’t. I was really just into whatever was best for my health.
This article is not about giving up meat although most North Americans should consider eating less (or should consider other ways to alter their ratio of omega 6 to omega 3).
This article is about a few changes Amy and I have made over the years that have long term positive health benefits and are easy to integrate into daily life. Some of these changes may seem trivial or overly trivial but think of them like seeds that you plant – they produce long term positive results like reduced cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression and dementia. These changes don’t have a major impact on lifestyle and can be very easy to implement.
Make the following a part of your routine and know that you are contributing to your long term health. They are easy and inexpensive. Also, they are research based – they actually help you stay healthier longer.
If these seem too simple to you just take them as a reminder. When these aren’t habits they can be easy to forget about.
What simple things do you do that will positively impact your health in the long run? Let us know in the comments.
7 Ridiculously Easy Things All Healthy People Do
1) Stop drinking calories – Drink green tea instead
Drinking high calorie drinks is deadly. Not only do they spike your blood sugar but they cause “sneaky” weight gain (or make weight loss more difficult).
Instead of consuming high calorie drinks like juices, coffee with milk and sugar or pop go for green tea, white tea or Yerba mate. All have measurable long term health benefits and are enjoyable.
If you need something sweet try Stevia pop. There are many flavors to choose from and they are very refreshing.
Aside from water green tea is the ultimate beverage. It has been shown to acutely improve intelligence, have anti-cancer benefits, is a potent antioxidant in the body and is a very pleasant, cozy drink.
2) Stop sitting so much – Walk outside more
Stuck on the couch with low energy? Drive yourself to the woods or ocean.
Start moving slowly and watch your energy rise.
Your breathing will instantly become deeper and you will remember why this practice is healthy.
Get yourself out into nature. The health benefits for depression, chronic fatigue and mood disorders are really great.
Walking has a significant impact on cardiovascular health, blood sugar management and lung function. Most of us could walk more. Go try it – even 30 minutes can be beneficial.
3) If you are tired go to bed – Quit watching intense TV before bed, nap when needed, go to sleep early when needed
Do you start watching TV when you are tired? Consider just going to bed early.
So often when we get sleepy before bed time we put ourselves into cozy mode in front the the TV. The blue light suppresses melatonin release and the intensity of the show can spike our cortisol. All of the sudden we aren’t tired any longer.
Amy and I have been known to go to bed hours early if needed. It is just something we do now if we know we need recovery time.
Try it. You will appreciate the extra hours of sleep.
In addition, sleep is one of the key components of a long term healthy lifestyle. People who do not get adequate sleep tend to suffer from long term health issues more frequently. You are actually contributing to your long term health by getting to bed early.
4) Try no technology days – Have a conscious separation from social media and the Internet as much as you need
We have talked about this many times but I can’t stress enough how much we love it. It has become a staple after a difficult push with DAMY or an intense week in clinic.
Step away from the Internet. Just back away slowly… It will still be there when you return.
The Internet is an amazing place. Imagine access to all of the worlds knowledge at the tip of your fingertips. The issue – it can be overwhelming to the brain.
Sometimes separation from the Internet can spark creativity. It always creates a calmness and often it leads to other healthy habits like getting out into nature, reading a new book or getting to the gym.
Long term this can have important benefits – stress reduction related. Stress is associated with most major chronic conditions. This tip is one way to avoid worsening your stress levels.
Many years ago Amy and I cut cable. We still have access to our favorite programs via Netflix and other streaming services but we no longer have news channels (they were becoming our go-to when we were trying to relax). This has had enormous benefits for both of us. We still get the news we need online but we no longer are bombarded with stories that don’t have an effect on our day to day life.
We also do our best to cut extra noise. Have you tried this? Are you bombarded with excessive noise pollution in your home? Try to reduce it. It is a great way to passively reduce stress levels.
5) Always include weight training in your program
This is simple – do not forget about weight training. So often we associate fitness and exercise with cardio. Get your time in, get the heart pumping and get out. These are great things but by neglecting weight training you are missing out on amazing long term benefits.
Weight training is great for long term bone health, keeping your metabolism high so that you properly burn the nutrients you consume, hormone regulation, mood and heart function. It improves sleep and helps keep the joints healthy into old age.
Don’t neglect it.
6) Consume veggies with every meal until it is instinct
This article was fun to write because I had to think about things we are just doing subconsciously that contribute to overall health in a major way. I can’t leave this part out.
Amy has made it the norm in our house that there is veggies in every meal no matter what.
This one simple act has major health benefits.
More veggies means more fiber, more antioxidants, more vitamins and minerals – less simple carbohydrates, processed foods and fats.
We can all eat more veggies (that is one reason I love veggies – you can’t eat too many of them).
7) Always have a jug of water going.
Finally, I have noticed something strange about our household that I’m not sure many are dealing with. There always seems to be two half consumed 1L mason jars of water around our condo.
We both always have a water going.
This is so important to overall health and wellness but is something people don’t tend to take seriously.
I have seen people cure their headaches, constipation, cramps, fatigue, sugar cravings, etc just by making sure they stay hydrated.
Always have a water going. It will transform your life if it hasn’t been a part of your routine. It is important for brain health, kidney health, colon health, etc. Really, every organ is positively effected when you remember to stay hydrated.
This article has been about simple shifts that can change your long term health. It is very basic but it is meant to be. It is a reminder to keep the little things at the forefront when considering how to stay healthy.
The real keys to long term health are to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated, do not gain unnecessary weight, maintain a solid cardiovascular fitness and do everything you can to keep anxiety low.
Stress reduction and waist circumference may be the two things I am concerned about most with patients long term health. Keep those in check, apply the simple routines and principles above and you will have a great start for maintaining optimal health into the later years of life.
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