By now, you probably know the basic gist of what it takes to stay healthy; eating well and exercising are arguably the two most obvious staples of good health.
However, sometimes we overlook the fact that overall health involves a few more components, many of which are commonly neglected.
Maybe you watch what you eat and exercise a few times a week, but if you’re missing out on other aspects (like sleep or stress-management) you could be impairing your efforts.
Curious if there are any healthful practices you might be accidentally ignoring? We asked a few experts to weigh in on some examples of healthy habits that are commonly overlooked, but that no one should ever really neglect.
Two health and wellness specialists that we spoke with directly include Sara Jespersen, the owner of and fitness director for Trumi Training and Kristy Del Coro, the Senior Culinary Nutritionist of SPE Certified.
Del Coro suggests slowly integrating these habits into your day to day routine one at a time.
“To ensure success, it is a good idea to plan ahead,” she said. “Think of at least one new positive step you can take per week that you know you can achieve. It may pay off more in the long run to just start with one instead of trying to achieve everything at once.”
Get Enough Sleep
Individual sleep needs vary from person to person, but most experts recommend somewhere between 7 and 8 hours a night. Studies continue to reveal that not getting enough shut-eye on a regular basis can be detrimental to your health in a number of ways, including weight gain, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, depression and premature aging. “If you don't sleep you can't repair, rebuild, or refresh,” says Jespersen. “It's our restart button. Lacking in this department means you'll lack in every other department.”
Everyone has to deal with stress, in fact a little bit of stress might even be good for you. But too much can take a serious toll on your health. “Stress raises our cortisol levels,” says Jespersen. “That increase keeps us in a fight or flight way of living. This causes cell damage, fat storage and major fatigue.” She suggests doing one small thing each day to decrease your stress levels. “Whether that is deep breathing, meditating or just plain taking on less each day—don't neglect this need.”