7 Healthy Habits You Should Start Today

Being healthier doesn’t mean spending long hours at the gym. Sometimes a few simple changes to your lifestyle are all it takes. Starting from the moment you get into bed at night, here are seven habits you can start today that will last a lifetime.
Woman on Grass Relaxing Makes the Perfect Healthy Habit


Give yourself a bedtime
Remember when you were young and you wanted to stay up past 8 p.m. but weren’t allowed? OK, maybe that wasn’t so great. But remember how energized you were the next morning? Going to bed at a decent hour helps you sleep better, and it helps you wake up more refreshed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 30 percent of adults sleep less than seven hours a night. Giving yourself a bedtime will help curb your urge to stay up late watching "Friends" reruns on Netflix.

Don’t forget your morning stretches
Whether you’re on your feet or at your desk, workdays can be tough. That’s why it’s important to get your morning stretches in. We’re not talking about anything too serious; just a few minutes when you wake up in the morning.

Stretching increases blood flow as well as flexibility. In fact, stretching for a few minutes in the morning may improve your focus throughout the day. So if you’ve found it hard to focus even after three cups of coffee, morning stretches might be your golden ticket.

Turn off the hot water
Hopping into an ice cold shower may not be what gets you out of bed in the morning, but studies show cold showers have a host of cool benefits. Cold showers have been known to help reduce muscle soreness, improve circulation and, according to a study by the National Center for Biotechnology, may also help alleviate depression.

Getting into the habit of taking cold showers isn’t easy, so start slow. Try taking one or two a week and see how it feels.

Don’t forget breakfast
Ever wondered why breakfast is called the most important meal of the day? A Consumer Reports study found people who regularly ate breakfast were much healthier than people who didn’t. Breakfast eaters have lower risks of heart disease, are generally more active and are surprisingly skinnier than those who skip breakfast altogether. That’s because eating in the morning may help reduce those mid-afternoon snack cravings. Remember to skip the sweets and eat something high in protein like oatmeal or whole-grain cereal.

Walk, don’t drive
Instead of getting in the car and driving two blocks down the street, why not walk? Walking for just a few minutes a day has been found to improve your posture, help prevent osteoporosis and reduce your risk of coronary heart disease. And there’s more: According to a Harvard study, walking for 30 minutes a day may also lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by as much as 30 percent. So what are you waiting for? Find yourself a "sole" mate and start walking today.

Remember to eat your veggies
The latest U.S. report found that a whopping 87 percent of Americans aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables. Food crazes come and go (we’re looking at you, acai), but the benefits of a diet high in leafy greens will always be in style.

Eating more fruit and vegetables has been found to lower your risk of developing arthritis, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Plus, they’re just plain good for you. Experts say you should have two to three servings a day.

Sub your soda for water instead
We hate to break the news to you, but sugar makes you sluggish. Your blood-sugar levels spike when you eat something sugary, and while you may feel what’s known as a sugar rush, it’s short lived. An easy way to curb your sugar cravings while simultaneously cutting calories is to sub your mid-day sugary soda fix for a glass of water instead.

Sill not convinced? Chew on this: the average 12-ounce soda has about 140 calories. At one soda a day that equals nearly 1000 calories a week. (For reference the average person eats consumes around 1500 calories a day.) That’s almost a full day’s worth of caloric intake you could avoid just by switching out one soda a day for water.

Next > Healthy Makeover for Your Favorite Comfort Food

AHS assumes no responsibility, and specifically disclaims all liability, for your use of any and all information contained herein.

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