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10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy

by
author image Danielle O'Connell
Danielle O'Connell is based in New York City and has been working in the health and fitness field since 1994. She is a certified personal trainer, classically trained Pilates instructor, yoga teacher and nutrition counselor. She writes regular articles and blogs on her website, Urbanwellness.com.
10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy Photo Credit SZE FEI WONG/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

It's the little things that you do each day that add up to being healthy and fit. While we do what we can to be as health-conscious as we can, it is always a work in progress since there are many elements to a healthy lifestyle. Use these tips as a guide on your journey on the path to good health.

Kick Your Bad Habits

Well, some of them at least. The other ones you might just be able to cut back on. Habits in the "quit" category would be smoking, drugs, unsafe sex and other unhealthy addictions. There's just no way to do any of these in a "healthy" way. It might take some time, but it's worth it if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle. On the other hand, there are some habits that are not so bad, but can easily become a problem if taken too far. These include alcohol, sugar, caffeine and junk food. These things in moderation or on a "once-in-a-while" basis are doable, as long as the majority of your choices are mindful and healthful.

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Get Your Checkups

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Get to your doctor for your annual physical. Photo Credit Jochen Sands/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Get to your doctor for your annual physical just to make sure everything is as it should be. If you have insurance, usually these services are covered, so take full advantage of your benefits. That being said, know your own body so that you are aware when something seems awry. Do breast or testicular self-exams, and get suspicious moles checked out. Get exams regularly even if you are healthy, so that if and when something is abnormal, you know about it and can take action, in conjunction with your doctor.

Sleep

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Sleep affects our physical and mental health tremendously, and many of us do not get enough. Photo Credit Konstantin Yuganov/iStock/Getty Images

Sleep affects our physical and mental health tremendously, and many of us do not get enough. Lack of sleep adversely affects metabolism, mood, concentration, memory, motor skills, stress hormones and even the immune system and cardiovascular health. Sleep allows the body to heal, repair and rejuvenate itself in a way it simply cannot when a person is awake.

Exercise

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Even if you just get out for a walk a few times a week, exercise is important for being fit and healthy. Photo Credit Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

Even if you just get out for a walk a few times a week, exercise is important for being fit and healthy. Cardiovascular exercise helps to strengthen the heart and lungs, strength training helps to strengthen the muscles and stretching helps to reduce the risk of injury by increasing flexibility. Exercise also improves circulation and body awareness, and regular exercise can help combat depression.

Eat Healthfully

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Get as many fresh fruits, vegetables,and whole grains into your diet as possible and make them the main part of your overall diet. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images

Get as many fresh fruits, vegetables,and whole grains into your diet as possible and make them the main part of your overall diet. Include lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, tofu and beans. Eat balanced meals and do not overeat. Stop eating before you become completely full and give yourself a chance to digest your food. Snack on whole foods such as fruit, vegetables and nuts. Avoid highly processed foods that contain artificial sweeteners or colors, hidden sugars or excessive fat.

Eat Breakfast Each Day

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
A healthy breakfast starts your day off right. Photo Credit Digital Vision./Digital Vision/Getty Images

A healthy breakfast starts your day off right. It sets you up so that you have energy and fuel for optimal mental and physical performance. Eating breakfast helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels and a healthy weight because you are less likely to overindulge later in the day.

Drink Water

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Drink water Photo Credit Eduard Titov/iStock/Getty Images

Our bodies are made mostly of water. Most fluids and foods contain water that will help to keep our bodies hydrated, but fresh, clean, plain water is still the best and healthiest beverage for maintaining a healthy body. It is the most natural cleanser for our organs and digestive system. Being hydrated is crucial for the brain as well as for helping to flush toxins out through the skin (perspiration) and urine.

Reduce Stress

Stress can cause a myriad of problems, from heart trouble to digestive problems. This should not come as a surprise. What many people do not know is what to do about it, how to manage their stress. Exercise, meditation, doing what you love, appropriate boundaries, spirituality, being in nature, and enjoyable hobbies all help alleviate the harmful effects of stress on the body. Don't overwork. Take breaks (vacations, mini-vacations, days off) and surround yourself with people who support you.

Express Yourself

10 Ways to Stay Fit & Healthy
Learn to talk about your feelings, or express them through some sort of art. Photo Credit Ableimages/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Keeping emotions bottled up inside can cause mental and emotional stress as well as physical symptoms. Unexpressed feelings can lead to depression, sleep problems, eating disorders, and even physical pain. Learn to talk about your feelings, or express them through some sort of art. Even writing thoughts and feelings down is a good way to express things you find hard to say.

Consistency and Moderation

In order to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle, it's important to have some sort of consistency when looking at the big picture result. Make changes one at a time, and don't make too many changes at once or you will risk relapsing into old habits. Making these choices a part of your daily life will help you to reach your health goals. Avoid extremes in any capacity. Exercise moderation when it comes to fitness, food and fun.

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References

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