I strongly believe that health is wealth in which living a healthy lifestyle has always been one of my top priorities. When people are very young, they often times think they are invincible and do not look at the long term effects of their current health habits. I was always a little more wise beyond my years where I developed good health and fitness habits from the jump. No one really encouraged me to be this way, I just knew that I wanted to take care of myself both on the inside and outside. I also feel as though everyone should want to take personal responsibility for their well being by doing their very best to make the right choices. Our genetics might have control of our health in certain areas but the health choices we make in our daily lives actually have a significant impact on our health over the course of our lifetimes. If you have not done a very good job taking care of your health over the years, the good news is that it is never too late to make a change or get on the right track. Although many of the habits I share might not be anything new, these are all things I personally do to maintain a healthy lifestyle. I will include some specifics in the description but do not feel you have to do everything I do exactly. I understand that for some, much of what I do or think is important might appear extreme or “too high maintenance.” Even if you can or only want to adapt a few, that is still better than nothing.
Lift Weights – It does not matter your gender, when it comes to working out, I think weight training is ESSENTIAL. Everybody should be hitting the weights to some capacity. They say you only need to weight train a few days a week which is considered enough but I personally aim to lift weights every day for approximately an hour a day. Of course sometimes I cannot fit that in every single day because of my work schedule and social life but that is how much time I like to put in. I prioritize weight training because I care about maintaining a healthy body composition (visually, I prize a toned aesthetic) and building muscle by lifting weights is what keeps the body in shape. While many obsess over losing weight or the number on the scale, I am all about maintaining that waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) so if that means working the muscles, I will put in the work needed and do what it takes to achieve those results.
Running (or Cardio of Your Choice) – It is hard for me to date back to when I became a runner but running is probably my favorite form of cardio. It is not only a good way to keep the heart rate up and burn a good amount of calories within a short amount of time but it gives me an opportunity to listen to music and clear my mind. Running serves as both a great mental and physical activity for me. I try to run outside on a pretty daily basis (weather permitting) but other forms of cardio I enjoy include the rowing machine, stationary bike, cardio kickboxing, and even going for a walk. I like to switch it up if I can and think cardio is important mainly just to keep the body moving.
Focus on Quality Foods – Maintaining a healthy diet is crucial and what you are actually eating is more important than how many calories a food item contains. I try to eat mostly natural foods that do not even have a food label but if I have a food label on hand, my number one concern is the ingredient list because again, I want to know what exactly I am consuming. I tend to gravitate towards buying organic foods and my diet is mostly a high protein (again to maintain muscle) and low carbohydrate. This seems to work best for me so I have kept up with this for many years now.
Watch How Much You Eat – I think portion control is definitely an important factor to consider because if you consume too much on a daily basis, it will catch up to you over time and you are more likely to gain some unnecessary weight. I try to be very mindful at each meal of how much I’m eating and pay attention to when my body tells me I am physically full.
Make Healthy Green Smoothies – I start most of my mornings with what I call a green smoothie. This is really when I get a good dose of my fruits and vegetables in for the day. I also like to add a whey protein powder for extra protein. I sometimes will make one as a quick meal replacement or as a post workout drink but usually I make one in the morning to start my day.
Drink Tea – I brew various teas and drink tea daily not for the taste but for its health benefits. I mostly drink peppermint tea everyday as I do happen to like the taste and it is good for digestion. I also look for detox teas or ones with energy boosting effects. If I am not drinking tea, then I will drink water. I think it is very important to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Invest in Good Skincare – I recommend that everyone at the very least should wear moisturizer every day. I typically moisturize both in the morning and at night before bed along with incorporating a face toner and serum which also nourish the skin. I buy skincare with ingredients such as glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid, and retinol–these are all great anti-aging ingredients.
Wear SPF – It has been said that wearing sunscreen is one of the best things you can do for your face to prevent wrinkles, cancer, and overall damage to your skin. I am not always the best about applying it to my body but I always apply it to my face, a minimum of SPF 30.
Get Enough Sleep (Take Naps if you Have to) – There is no doubt that you need to get a good amount of rest each night. I have a tendency to get up early and sometimes stay up later than I want to so that’s when I incorporate a good afternoon nap on days I did not get enough sleep. I wear a Fitbit which tracks my sleep and a good day for me is a minimum of 7 hours.
Stay Consistent Over Time – Listen, no one is perfect and neither am I. It can be a challenge to stay disciplined at all times but staying pretty consistent with occasional off days is totally acceptable and normal. I might have a not so healthy day but that does not mean I cannot start over and make it a good one the following day.
If you are not doing so already, it is time to make it a point to focus on making healthier life choices and taking personal accountability for yourself. That might mean some extra discipline and some sacrifices but you have to think of it as an investment towards your future. Even if you feel good and look good now, it is important to get into good health habits early in your life so as you age, you will slow down the process and also prevent potential health problems from occurring down the line. It is Ben Franklin who said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” I could not agree more, amen to that!