Some of the habits on this list are common and some are a bit strange, but following these tips will help keep you healthy and happy for years to come. Exercise in the morning, take naps during the day and always wear sunscreen—these are 10 tried-and-true healthy habits that you should adopt now.
We all know the saying—“early to bed, early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise”—well, it turns out that phrase may have more clout than we initially thought. A study from the University of Toronto found that early risers are both happier and healthier than those who stay up late and wake up late. Previous studies have also found early risers to have more stable personalities and typically more cheerful moods.
Regular exercise comes with more benefits than you can count and each day research is discovering new reasons it’s so important—the best way to ensure you exercise regularly? Do it first thing in the morning. In addition to feeling accomplished, morning exercise can also help you feel more energized and it can boost your metabolism.
It may sound crazy, but research has shown that the drop in temperature can bring a myriad of benefits. From faster workout recovery to increased fat burning, cold water is pretty incredible—and did we mention it might also ease symptoms of depression. Cold showers offer a slew of benefits so turn the knob to cold.
An integral aspect of overall health, our social lives are rarely talked about when compared with diet and exercise, but research suggests they may play just as important a role. An analysis of almost 150 studies published in PLoS Medicine found that people with stronger personal relationships were far more likely to outlive their lonely counterparts. Researchers looked at information on more than 300,000 individuals and they said the health risk that comes with being socially disconnected was as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even more dangerous than being obese. Make time for your friends now and ensure friendships remain a priority.
Athletes are well aware of the importance of staying hydrated, but many more people just know that water intake is important in some abstract way. In addition to being necessary for life, water can help keep you energized and it keeps the immune system strong. Water helps every organ in the body function—and it helps keep joints and muscles in good shape.
By now you’ve likely heard that a sedentary lifestyle is bad for your health. Sitting too much has been shown to increase your risk of developing cancer, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression, in addition to increasing your risk of becoming obese. Move more every day to avoid the higher risk down the line.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s time to take this habit seriously. Not only does ditching the sunscreen make you look older, but it frequently causes skin cancer. You may use sunscreen at the beach, but it’s important to use it daily year-round to protect your skin—invest in a good face moisturizer and use it every day. Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, affecting more than 3.5 million people each year.
Want to improve your memory, alertness and ability to retain information? Take a nap. These brief periods of rest have been shown to provide several benefits, including stress relief, which can ultimately lower your risk for health issues like heart disease. Aim for three 30 minute naps per week, but if you can only sneak one in, you should do that too.
Nuts, fruit and lots of dark leafy greens—all part of a healthy diet—will help with every aspect of your health. When consumed over the long-term, a healthy diet can help protect against health problems like diabetes, heart disease, obesity and a ton of other ailments.
Exercise is clearly a healthy habit worth adopting, but strength training in particular offers its own list of benefits. Researchers at Tufts University reported that weight lifting could help prevent and reverse muscle and bone loss. A regular strength training regimen could also help relieve arthritis pain, improve sleep quality and reduce the number of general injuries. To ensure healthy muscles and bones later in life, start lifting now.