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With scores of information, research, and advice sprawled across the internet, it can be difficult to find the right approach to healthy living. But the key to lasting success is taking baby steps and making an incremental change towards a healthy lifestyle. There is no quick fix for feeling healthier, happier and more energized, and matter of the fact is, it isn’t a sprint. Reaching our goals is a marathon that can no doubt be achieved but involves a few steps, and the first step is to start.

To help you take the first step on that journey, we’ve decided to include 5 easy lifestyle changes you can make right now that will have long-lasting effects.

Drink Enough Water

There is no denying that water is indeed one of the most essential elements of all life. Up to 90% of body weight comes from water and approximately 60% of an adult body is made up of water. It is absolutely necessary for optimal functioning of our bodies from aiding in the absorption of vital nutrients to flushing waste and lubricating joints.

Dehydration or not drinking enough water can affect our brains which in turn causes changes in our moods and energy levels. For us to manage ourselves better, the importance of making drinking water part of our routine is absolutely critical.  Research finds that consuming about 2 liters of water a day is helpful in keeping the body and mind functioning at their best. Moreover, it’s the perfect first step to a healthy lifestyle.

Keep a bottle or a glass of water by your bed and as soon as you wake up, make it a habit to start your day with rehydration. Now we know this routine may be harder to build for some than others, so if this has not already been part of your daily regimen, try including it three times a week, to begin with, and increase it to five, then all seven days of the week. This will obviously take a while to get used to but you’ll be on a roll in no time!

Get More Sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is just as important as drinking enough water. Poor sleep or sleeping less has a direct negative effect on our mental health, productivity and even our weight. Yet a majority of us deprive ourselves of this basic necessity as our natural tendency is to prioritize work over healthy living.

It is imperative that you regulate your sleeping patterns by following a bed-time routine. Each person is different but one way to begin is by sleeping early, which means avoid consuming any caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee at least 6 hours before bed.
What also works extremely well before jumping into bed is a relaxing bath or warm shower known to improve sleep quality. If you shower in the morning, it might be worth trying to have a second one at night or switch it around for a few days to a couple of weeks. Another recommended step to follow is wrapping up dinner at least 3 hours prior to sleeping, giving your body sufficient time for the digestive fluids to work – this will help you fall asleep faster.

Take a Walk

Including physical activity in your daily routine can work wonders on your cognitive ability, mood, and stress. Scheduling time for a full workout can be complicated but taking a brisk walk is so much easier and it can be very effective in helping you achieve a healthy lifestyle. Generally, any whole body movement or activity is better than none at all so a walk for about 30 minutes every alternate day (or daily if you can!) will go a long way. Moreover, it’s completely free and may give you an opportunity to connect with the beautiful nature around you.

You don’t have to set aside special time for walking, instead, quit the elevator and opt for the stairs whenever you have the option. Consciously stand up every hour and walk away from your desk in case your work days are sedentary. However, if you decide to schedule daily walks and you can’t seem to do it alone, find a walk buddy or join a walking club. Over the course of a month, you will experience a difference in how you feel and think, and the motivation will push you to walk even more.

Listen to Music

Music is one of the best natural medicines available that does everything from reducing stress to helping us fall asleep at night. Time and time again studies show that listening to music leads to happier days, improved memory, regulated emotions, and reduced fatigue.

Make a list of songs or find a specific genre that you enjoy and take a shot at dancing to it or the simple pleasure of listening. You can even use this list while walking, exercising, driving or perhaps when working. Additionally, there is strong evidence that music can help calm thoughts and emotions to help you drift into a deeper sleep. There are easy to find playlists online specifically designed for bedtime listening that are relaxing and soothing.

With easy and fun lifestyle changes like listening to music, your path to healthy living has already begun

Laugh Often

It’s no joke that laughing actually has a myriad of benefits while bringing the mind and body into balance, which is why it can be so beneficial to incorporate a good laugh into our daily lives. Laughter is available to all of us, and the healing power of a good laugh is tremendous. Seeking opportunities to laugh more should be ingrained in our goal towards making positive lifestyle changes.

Laughter is great for your health – it relaxes the body, boosts the immune system and triggers the release of endorphins which are the body’s feel-good chemicals. It’s important to look at the humour in everyday situations and find ways to laugh with people around you.

Humour is so individual to each person, but purposefully spending time with those who bring joy and laughter into your life can be incredibly uplifting. We are lucky to live in a time where so much comedic entertainment is easily available to us – a whole genre designed to make you laugh, lift your spirits and spread positivity in the world.

If you can incorporate these simple healthy lifestyle changes now, without a doubt, you will be on your way to improved healthy living. Begin slowly and try to build these small habits over time; you won’t regret it when they become a permanent routine!