5 Realistic Ways to Live a Healthier Life

This post is by Josh Sarz of sagoyism.com.

Are you as healthy as you should be? Everyone wants to live a long, healthy, meaningful life. But the harsh reality is, it’s not that easy at all.

A healthy life

Image copyright jjpixs - Fotolia.com

We talk about it every day. How we always plan to turn our lives around live a healthier life. But do we actually follow it? Do we get up and work on our body? Do we invest in ourselves the way we all should be doing?

I didn’t think so.

Is living healthily hard work?

Of course it is. We don’t expect to get something so beneficial for free. By just sitting on your couch all day and watching mind-numbing television, you won’t miraculously turn into a healthy human being.

It’s supposed to be hard! That way, not a lot of people will turn out healthy—and the ones who do will have something to gloat about.

Well, not really.

There are actually small, realistic steps that you can take to turn your life around and start living more healthily.

You don’t have to be The Biggest Loser, folks

You don’t have to slave and torture your body in an effort to force it to lose weight. Remember, you’re not on a TV show. You don’t have to go through psychotherapy or hypnosis to quit that bad habit like smoking or drinking. There are step-by-step guidelines on this. And you don’t have to go through the whole ordeal alone.

You don’t have to finish an Ironman triathlon. Although one of the highest accomplishments bestowed upon man, this is not required to prove you are living a healthy life.

You don’t have to venture into the extremes. There are easy and realistic ways to start this healthy, upward spiral.

1. Get enough sleep

I can’t stress this enough. There’s a reason why this is number one on the list.

If you plan on living a healthier life, you need to understand that sleep is one of the most important parts of your day. You shouldn’t miss it for anything. If you run late, just make up for it.

The average adult body needs around eight hours of sleep per day. Any less would mean a visible decrease in productivity and quality of work. Spending more than nine hours on sleep causes more or less the same effects.

For the incredibly busy, what I can suggest is to prioritize your physiological needs over anything else.

2. Eat well

Healthy does not mean that you avoid food. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Food has a purpose for our bodies. It helps us grow. It helps us live for tomorrow. It gives us the nutrition and energy we need to achieve anything physically and mentally.

How many times do you eat a full meal each day? If by any chance that number is below three, then you need to change that. Fast.

If you’re trying to lose weight, simply eat smaller meals five to six times a day. It’s much more effective compared to actually starving yourself. Go on, don’t be scared. Indulge.

3. Clean up your act

I’m not just talking about physical clutter here. I’m also talking about emotional clutter, as well as psychological clutter. There’s a lot of forms of clutter. The most common ones are smoking, alcoholism, drug dependency, etc.

Moderation doesn’t cut it in the long run anymore. As long as you still have addictions in your life, you’re not going to get any better. Wean yourself off of that baggage. Lessen your smoking, day by day, to the point where you actually quit. If you can pull this off, you’ll find that this is one of the best decisions in your life.

I myself had to let go of alcohol and cigarettes. My body was addicted to them. I had to let go of alcohol because I didn’t like how my body felt every time I had a hangover. Although there were withdrawal symptoms, I was able to beat the habit after about a year.

I also defeated smoking once, until one fateful day where I eventually went back to it. This time was much harder, as my body actually wanted to smoke like a fiery dragon. The thing is, it damaged my personal relationships with my family and my girlfriend. So I decided to try and quit smoking again. I’m now on my third week of being smoke-free.

4. Put down those gadgets

This can be tied up with the previous point, on de-cluttering. But you don’t have to throw away your computer. Your console. Your phone. Or that iPad.

What you need to do is make time for yourself. Your physical self—not your social media account. Go outside. Get some fresh air. Find time to smell the roses. Learn how to ride a bike. Take leisurely bike rides along the beach or on the countryside. Play some basketball with your friends. Do something physical. Work out. Get fit. Anything.

No, Angry Birds isn’t a physical activity.

5. Fall in love with walking

One of the simplest, yet most effective way to live a healthier life is by walking. Yup. Walking.

Research shows time and time again that people live longer if they’re physically active.

No, they didn’t do some research on athletes. They did it on regular adults, both male and female, aged 40-79. One group walked for more than an hour a day, and the second group didn’t.

The results were amazing. The group who actually walked for at least an hour a day came out healthier and lived longer lives than the other group.

Just by walking for an hour a day, that group of people had an average lifespan increase of three years. Amazing.

The stage is yours

See how simple the above guidelines are? That’s the key. There are no secret techniques, and no marketing. Just simple, realistic steps you can take to start living a much healthier life.

Once you’re able to put them to practice, you can then incorporate the intense workout routines if you still need to.

Now, when do you plan on living a healthier life? What are you waiting for? What steps have you already taken toward this goal? And how many times have you tried, but failed? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Josh Sarz is a Cebu Blogger who writes about Finding Ways to Enjoy Life. You can check his series about Rest Days, or you can read all the other posts over at his blog.

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Comments

  1. Moonman1999 says:

    Josh, I don’t want to be insensitive but you look to be quite seriously overweight. Could you tell me why you feel qualified to tell me how often I should eat? Also, how does eating six meals a day fit in with your mission of simplifying life?

    • I know you weren’t trying to insensitive, but who knows, maybe Josh lost a lot of weight following these steps?

      • Josh Sarz says:

        Not a lot really, but this post was written not just for weight loss but for overall health as well. That’s why I talked about getting enough sleep and walking, instead of fitness routines. This is just to get ourselves lively enough to have a good outlook on life.

    • Josh Sarz says:

      haha Yeah I know. If I looked overweight now, you should have seen me when I was still in college. I’ve lost about 50 pounds. Then I regained 20 when I stopped working out. That picture was a year ago, but it’s my favorite one. Heh

  2. Liz says:

    Moonman – I’m pretty sure that crossed the line of insensitivity. I think Josh is just sharing what worked for him in the hopes that it might help the rest of us out in a world where there are a million different ways to “be healthy”

    • Moonman1999 says:

      You’re right, it was insensitive. I feel bad about bringing it up and hope he isn’t hurt by it, it wasn’t meant with any animosity.

      In the article he isn’t simply sharing what worked for him; first of all it’s clear that it hasn’t worked and secondly he writes:

      “How many times do you eat a full meal each day? If by any chance that number is below three, then you need to change that. Fast.”

      That isn’t simply sharing. It’s telling people what to do, taking a position of authority that he really doesn’t have any claim to. I wanted to challenge him on that.

      • Josh Sarz says:

        You’re right Moonman, I admit it did sound like I was pushing. It’s not that I’m an expert, but I’m just advocating a 3-meal-a-day routine.

        I’ll take you up on that challenge. I’m currently training for a triathlon, but I’m still on my third week. This isn’t for losing weight by the way, it’s a challenge I gave myself ever since a friend of mine invited me to join with him.

        I haven’t joined a triathlon, ever. hah A marathon yes, but I recently got addicted to biking.

        • Moonman1999 says:

          Hi Josh, I’m glad you are not offended by my comment, please accept my apologies for being so tactless. You sound like you have a great attitude and are taking a lot of positive steps to improve your health, you should be commended for that.

          I love cycling myself, especially long distance non-stop 400km and 600km rides. Reducing meal frequency greatly improved my performance by making me more efficient at using body fat for energy.

          I see so many riders who can’t manage 50km without energy drinks and really suffering with blood sugar issues after 200km that I get a bit frustrated with the ‘must eat every two hours’ dogma that just gets endlessly repeated.

          Anyway, sorry again for sounding mean, good luck with your triathlon!

  3. Peter says:

    Being healthier when it requires a lifestyle change is a tough call. Often it’s when you get that wake-up call of failing health. I’ve known of people who only gave up smoking after very serious health issues. If you don’t want to wait until then you either need to wake up to how bad you are or to get into your mind a positive futue image of yourself. The positive image is the best one and works better than just will power which often fails.

    • Josh Sarz says:

      Good point.

      In my case, every person in my family started getting sick because I used to “bathe” in smoke all day. Plus I noticed my health was deteriorating when I noticed I couldn’t jog as far as I used to.

  4. Damiana says:

    I agree that moderation doesn’t cut it. It is such a tricky word and the truth is that “moderation” is different from person to person. Then cutting the root of unhealthy habits is always the way.

  5. David says:

    I think with the busy lifestyles we lead there is definitely a need to spend some time looking after ourselves. Often we forget to do exactly that until our minds and bodies demand that we pay them some attention and give them some care and attention.

    I’ve found walking to be a great way to get some space from the constant stream of daily activity. It’s a great way to be active without the physical punishment that running can inflict on us (as my left knee will testify to!).

  6. Christy says:

    I just wanted to say, Thank You! Tonight I have decided enough is enough. I can’t continue living like this and its about damn time I do something for myself for once. Im a single mom in my late 20′s, recently separated from my kids dad, unemployed, addicted to cigarettes and my prescribed medications

  7. Christy says:

    And have been neglecting myself while focusing on my children. I rarely actually eat a meal and find myself at the end of the day realizing I haven’t drank anything all day! Never mind water im talking anything! Crazy..I actually forget to drink something during the day because I never feel thirsty? Weird. Anyways I haven’t done any form of exercise in well over 5 years.

  8. Christy says:

    Ive gained about 30lbs in the past 2 years and am so uncomfortable and depressed. I rarely sleep at night because my 2 year old is in my bed and kicks me and is just impossible to sleep next too so I wake up by him or on my own every hour or sometimes twice an hour the entire night until about 5am then I can finally sleep till 7am when the alarm goes off. First thing I do is take my medication for my ADD and within 20-30 mins I am awake enough to get my 8 year old up and off to school.

  9. Christy says:

    I skip breakfast, get my 2 year old to daycare and sit in front of my computer all day painfully searching for a decent job. By 3 oclock im exhausted and usually will nap for 2 hours then get dinner together which I skip till im hungry at around 11pm eat and go to bed waking up 50 thousand times a night. Its just all so unhealthy and its starting to really take a toll on my mental state and my depression is threw the roof. I think about getting a healthier lifestyle but am usually discouraged because of how hard it seems. Well, until I found this site. Everything is thought out for me to start taking baby steps to flip this unhealthy life into a much healthier one. Thank you so much!

  10. toofin says:

    The 5 tips though simple are really effective for one to lead a healthier life. The key here is to follow it daily, make those tips your daily routine.

  11. Karen says:

    I actually found your site through a Google search! Sitting at home today, after a long, tough winter –lost my Mom and my Mother-in-law, injured my shoulder, looking for a new job, and experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome big time!! Thanks for the inspiration and because I read this, I did not have a burrito tonight lol Maybe will even take the dog for an evening walk!! Now I just have to quit smoking, but will try phasing it out as you mentioned. I am definitely a work in progress :)

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