Our contributing writer, Arin Agase, is back to share a handful of ideas for taking easy steps toward a lifetime of good health.
Happy World Health Day! Each year since 1950, The World Health Organization (WHO) spotlights one current world health issue. This year, it’s diabetes. More than 350 million people worldwide are diagnosed with this condition, which is a number likely to double in the next 20 years. In 2012 alone, diabetes was the direct cause of 1.5 million deaths. You can check out this article for more.
In an effort to increase health awareness, we’re sharing 10 healthy (and attainable!) habits that will help keep your heart strong! Remember, everything you’re doing now will dictate your path later on, and it’s never too late to live a healthy lifestyle!
- Floss: The little things definitely make a difference! In a 2008 New York University study, daily flossing was actually shown to reduce the amount of gum disease bacteria in the mouth. When this bacteria enters the bloodstream, it can trigger inflammation to the arteries and cause heart disease. We recommend flossing twice a day. I know this seems impossible, but you just have to make a habit out of this.
- Sleep: It’s important that you’re well rested. At least six hours of shut-eye is the recommended magic number. Sleep is one of the most important functions that our bodies use to regulate cells, so you’ll definitely add more years to that life of yours.
- Gratitude: Write down or simply focus on three things you’re grateful for at the start of each day. When you start training your mind to think happy thoughts when you wake up (instead of dreading the day ahead), you’ll start to see a positive impact on the entire day. Personally, I like to write them down. It’s fun to look back and see what has changed over the years. Gratitude goes really far, so spread the love, friends!
- Hydrate: We’ve talked about the power of hydrating before, but it seriously does wonders for your energy! All it takes is one or two glasses of water as soon as you get up. Bonus: It helps kick your metabolism into gear—your bikini will thank you.
- Stretch: Yoga is an ideal morning exercise that can play a vital role in energizing your morning routine! Yoga has a long list of health benefits: It can help promote positive thinking, balance, endurance and flexibility just to name a few. All it takes is stretching for 15 solid minutes. By starting your day with this routine, you’ll experience tranquility, positivity and a burst of energy to fuel your commute.
- Spread Love: This one is probably my favorite of the bunch because I absolutely love sending a positive message to a loved one each morning. Whether it’s a simple text (ex. “Have a great day!”) or a handwritten note to your significant other in their lunchbox, it goes a long way. Sometimes, just a little, “I’m thinking of you” note can change someone’s entire day for the better. Get creative! Pay it forward, and purchase someone’s cup of coffee. The opportunities are endless.
- Stay Connected: Life gets busy and we get tired. It’s important to beat those sleepy blues by staying connected to friends and loved ones. I’m realizing as I get older just how difficult it is to make time for friends and family. Always make time for the people you love! It’s healthier for you in the short and long run.
- Breakfast: Eating breakfast is a healthy habit you cannot skip! I know, work and schedules get busy, but always make sure that you’re getting proper nutrients each morning. Doctors suggest a serving of whole grains because it helps maintain blood sugar levels throughout the day. It’s also a great fighter against diabetes.
- Wake Up Early: You guys, no more battling snooze! The benefits of waking up early outweigh your shut-eye by miles. When you wake up early, you’ll have more time to focus on the present, and be prepared for the day ahead. Eat a healthy breakfast and engage in some “me” time. Chances are, there won’t be many other chances in the chaotic day ahead. Early risers are also happier and healthier than those who stay up and wake up late.
- Take a Cold Shower: This may sound crazy (except to athletes), but a cold drop in temperature has its list of benefits including increased fat burning, faster workout recovery and it can even reduce depression. How’s that for a few minutes?!