25 Healthy Lifestyle Habits To Improve Your Life

In this modern world, where we have so many things to do and so little time, managing our mental and physical health can be seen as an additional burden, but investing our efforts into healthy lifestyle habits will yield far greater ROI than almost anything else.

It may seem daunting at first. Surely, this must entail complicated and time-consuming activities and routines, right? Not necessarily. As in many other aspects of life, small decisions or actions taken towards this goal can significantly impact your health, building upon each other and, over time, becoming an integral part of your life.

25 Healthy Lifestyle Habits 

The benefits of having healthy lifestyle habits range from protection from serious health problems—including heart disease and diabetes—to managing your weight and increasing energy levels.

Below is a list of habits we have compiled for you, some requiring more effort than others but all equally effective. Remember that no effort goes unnoticed by your body. Determination, self-awareness, and accountability will be essential on your journey to health.

Drink a Glass of Water First Thing in the Morning

Hydration is vital for health and beauty. Having spent 8+ hours deprived of food or drink overnight, your body wakes up somewhat dehydrated. After all, you may be unconscious, but your body was hard at work regulating breathing, body temperature, and more—all without replenishing fluids.

By keeping a glass of water on your nightstand, you facilitate this habit without thinking twice about it.

Get 7-8 Hours of Sleep Each Night

Sleep is a cornerstone of our health, a restorative process essential to survival. During sleep, our brain remains active, ridding itself of toxins produced while awake and promoting neural communication.

The amount of sleep needed each night depends on many aspects, including age and overall health, with a typical adult requiring between 7 to 9 hours of sleep.

To promote good sleep, consider disconnecting from mobile devices (or any other device with blue light) at least a few hours before bedtime. Additionally, your room should be dark, quiet, and cool.

Eat a Balanced Diet With Plenty of Fruits, Vegetables, and Whole Grains

Diet is such a dreaded word. Many think it deprives you of enjoyment, but diet is simply the foods you habitually eat.

That being said, there are many types of diets out there that are considered healthy. For the most part, they all include abundant fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while keeping the consumption of saturated fats, sugars, and red meat low.

Awareness rather than restriction is the key here. A clean, healthy diet doesn’t have to be one void of enjoyment. If anything, it adds to your quality of life—and what better way to enjoy life than with health?

Limit Processed Foods, Sugary Drinks, and Unhealthy Fats

Processed foods contain high levels of saturated fats, trans-fats, sugar, and salt/sodium. They often contain additives like preservatives, artificial sweeteners, flavors, and colors. None of these are good for humans.

These kinds of foods can increase your risk of heart disease, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and other chronic conditions. Need we say more?

Opting for organic or cleaner produce and products is the way to go. Your body will immediately feel the difference, and soon, you will make healthier lifestyle choices as if it were second nature to you.

Exercise Regularly for at Least 30 Minutes Most Days of the Week

Movement is life. It’s also healthier joints, stronger muscles, a clearer mind, and more.

Aerobic exercise, or cardio, is highly recommended for physical and mental health. It effectively reduces belly fat and the fat that builds up around your organs. This fat reduction can majorly improve your metabolic health (i.e., how well we generate and process energy in the body.)

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity each week, which comes to around 20 minutes daily—not bad when you break it down like that!

Take the Stairs Instead of the Elevator

Remember that all activities, whether light, moderate, or vigorous in intensity, get you closer to your goal of practicing healthy lifestyle habits.

Opting for active choices, such as taking the stairs rather than the passive elevator, can be helpful in weight management and overall physical health.

Do as much as you can, but don’t become complacent in your achievements, as there’s always another goal to reach.

Park Further Away From Your Destination and Walk

Every step you take and every move you make is a small victory. Choosing to exert a bit of effort rather than remaining immobile will fill you with health and a sense of accomplishment.

If possible, park farther away from your destination so that you’re forced to walk. I particularly enjoy such a walk after going out to dinner.

Take a Brisk Walk or Bike Ride During Your Lunch Break

We have little control over many things in our lives, but knowing that our decisions are actively causing positive changes in our mental and physical health can, in turn, motivate us to stay on track.

So many hours of our day are spent at work sitting and dealing with stress, but there are small actions we can take to aid our overall health.

During a lunch break or a phone call, consider taking a brisk walk outside—or even a bike ride if you feel more adventurous. This will clear your mind, reenergize you, and add towards your movement goal of the day.

Do Some Stretches or Yoga Poses Throughout the Day

Yoga lovers swear by its benefits, including weight reduction, increased flexibility and muscle strength, improved energy, cardio and circulatory health, and much more.

You can try simple poses such as Downward Facing Dog, Warrior II, Cat-Cow, or the Pyramid Pose. Your options are (almost) endless.

Take Breaks From Sitting and Move Around Every Hour

Our bodies aren’t meant to remain in one position for too long. Research shows that remaining stationary (sitting or standing) for extended periods can have adverse health effects.

Moving around for approximately three minutes is recommended every hour or so. This simple practice will help you increase energy and blood flow, improve your mood, clear your mind, have a better posture, and activate your metabolism.

Stand Up While Talking on the Phone or Watching TV

I get it; life can be chaotic and stressful, and at the end of the day, we just want to lie on the couch and watch our favorite show. But healthy lifestyle habits require us to break with our old ways, which could be as simple as standing up while watching TV or chatting with a friend on the phone.

Get up, move around, and you’ll be thanking yourself later.

Use a Standing Desk if Possible

This one is truly a life-changing life hack. Once you’ve tried a standing desk, you can’t go back.

Sometimes, your body needs to move, no matter how comfortable your office chair may be. For many, our lower backs, shoulders, and necks take much of the load while sitting at our desks, and a standing desk offers the versatility and physical relief we crave.

Sitting for long periods is also linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and cancer (especially cancers of the colon or breast).

Strengthen Your Core Muscles With Exercises Like Planks and Crunches

According to the Mayo Clinic, core exercises can help improve your balance and stability by training the core muscles to work harmoniously. This enables you to move in a way that protects other muscles and joints.

Core muscles include your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdominals; you don’t need fancy gym equipment to strengthen them. Simple exercises such as planks, crunches, situps, and bridges will get the same results.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

As with exercise and sleep, there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to diet. Some people swear by intermittent fasting, while others cannot fathom not breaking their fast shortly after they wake up.

The benefits of eating breakfast include lowering your risk of type 2 diabetes, increasing your energy and heart health, activating your metabolism, and reducing migraines.

Pack Your Lunch Instead of Eating Out

The cost of eating out adds up quickly, and you have no control over the quality and kinds of ingredients restaurants use. Bringing your lunch to work or school means you will save money and have more time to eat since you won’t have to wait in pesky lines during rush hour.

Aside from that, by packing your lunch, you can guarantee a healthy and balanced meal and procure the foods you love instead of settling for the options available at stores or the cafeteria.

Cook More Meals at Home

Eating home-cooked meals helps you remain more mindful about what you consume. By controlling the quality and kinds of products you use while cooking, you can reduce the calorie intake, something you would likely not be able to do while eating out.

Cooking can also help you relax while stimulating your brain in ways that are not possible while at work or performing other daily responsibilities. It can also help your mental health if you cook with others, making it a comforting way of socializing with loved ones.

Read Food Labels Carefully

This easy habit allows you to understand what kind of ingredients you’re consuming, prompting you to make better dietary choices. Focus on consuming products with more of the nutrients you want and less of the ones you want to limit.

One thing we should also be looking at on food labels is the portion size. Remember that the number of calories and nutrients listed on a label is based on a specific serving size.

Drink Plenty of Water Throughout the Day

Symptoms of dehydration include unclear thinking, mood swings, overheating, constipation, and kidney stones. Drinking loads of water throughout the day is an easy way to keep all this at bay.

Water has no calories, so it can help manage body weight and reduce calorie intake when substituting drinks such as sodas.

Limit Your Intake of Alcohol and Caffeine

Research has linked moderate intake of caffeine (2-5 cups a day) to a reduced likelihood of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and even depression.

But coffee is not all good news. Caffeine can negatively impact our bodies as well. It can increase our anxiety or cause heart palpitations. It can also interfere with your sleep, keeping you awake longer than necessary. Additionally, it can stain your teeth and cause skin aging.

Moderate alcohol consumption (particularly of wine) may reduce your risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. But the list of harmful effects of excessive drinking is too long not to consider limiting it.

It can cause certain cancers, pancreatitis, heart muscle damage, liver disease, high blood pressure, weight gain, accidental injuries, and much, much more.

Explore limiting or abstaining from alcohol and caffeine and see if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Quit Smoking

Did you know that within minutes of smoking your last cigarette, your body begins to recover?

After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate drop. The progress continues, with the levels of carbon monoxide in your blood dropping and your lung function increasing within mere months. It only takes 1 to 2 years of quitting for your risk of heart attack dropping dramatically. Surprisingly, 15 years after quitting, your risk of coronary heart disease is close to that of a non-smoker.

Manage Stress With Healthy Coping Mechanisms Like Exercise, Yoga, or Meditation

Mental health is an integral part of your overall health. Everyday life is full of stress and an interminable to-do list. We often opt for a type of relaxation that does little for our mental well-being.

But why become a couch potato, indulge in greasy foods or alcohol, or spend our hard-earned money on banalities when we could be coping with the stress while working out, essentially doubling our benefits?

Any exercise can help you release stress, increase your endorphins, and improve your mood.

Get Regular Checkups With Your Doctor and Dentist

Prevention is the best medicine.

Make plans to visit your doctor and dentist at least once a year. This will help you avoid potential health issues by keeping your health on track or preventing complications with early detection of diseases already in development.

Take Care of Your Skin With Sunscreen and Moisturizer

Using sunscreen daily is one of the best decisions you can make for your skin. Making it part of your self-care routine can help you prevent sun damage, skin cancer, and premature aging.

There are many flavors of sunscreen to choose from, from mineral to chemical or SPF 30 to SPF 60+. You can find plenty of information online to guide you through these choices, or consult a dermatologist for a more personalized option.

Practice Good Hygiene

Good hygiene provides two-fold benefits. It is critical for preventing diseases and provides a sense of self that only comes from self-grooming.

Washing your hands, trimming and cleaning your nails, brushing your teeth, and bathing or showering regularly are simple ways to practice good hygiene.

In good hygiene, you can find both physical and mental health.

Get Enough Sunlight and Fresh Air

Sunlight, in moderation, has surprising health benefits. Exposure to sunlight promotes the production of vitamin D, which helps support bone and muscle health, regulate blood pressure and sugar, boost the immune system, and more.

Fresh air makes a great combo with sunlight. Spending time outdoors improves our mental well-being, giving us a clearer mind to tackle what may come our way.

Who would have thought a walk in the park could be one of the many healthy lifestyle habits to follow?

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Hi! I am a millennial mom with a passion for personal finance. I have always been “into” personal finance but got inspired to start my blog after a period of extended unemployment. That experience really changed the way I viewed my relationship with money and the importance of accessible personal finance education.