Your 9-step countdown for daily healthy habits
Sarah Hannah, Fellow Spoonie
22 May 2018
We all know that we’re supposed to drink more water, get more sleep, take time away from our screens, get to the gym… keeping a track of the list of things we’re supposed to do can be almost as tiring as actually doing it!
Thankfully, we found a really useful countdown floating around on Instagram which lists the 9 steps we can take each day to get into the routine of healthy habits – and some have even said it helps if you sing it to the tune of ‘The 12 days of Christmas’… but we’ll leave that one up to you!
So, let’s begin…
Starting at number 9 we have –
Ask anyone how many steps you should take in a day and they’ll usually reply with ‘10,000’ – but rumour has it that the 10,000 figure stemmed from a marketing campaign for a pedometer in Japan! As far as we’re concerned, aiming for a step count that works for you is more important. Some of us have trouble getting around more than others, but as long as you’re doing your best to keep moving then that’s all that matters. For us, we like to aim for 9,000 steps a day.
8 hours of sleep
It’s pretty widely-accepted that the average adult should aim for around 8 hours of sleep a night. Science says 6-8 hours, but any less than 6 hours can leave you at risk of illness and even premature death – and regularly sleeping for more than 8 hours can do exactly the same thing. Getting enough sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health; it can help to control your appetite, maintain your immune system (though if you’re anything like me, your immune system probably has a mind of its own already) and help your memory too.
7 glasses of water
As any spoonie knows, staying hydrated is key. Drinking 7 glasses of water a day can help to relieve fatigue and increase energy levels (though if you’re living with chronic fatigue you’ll know it’s not quite as black and white as that!). It can also aid with weight loss (if that’s your goal), flush out toxins and improve the complexion of your skin. Finally, staying hydrated is just another way of giving your immune system a helping hand – something most us of would benefit from!
6 minutes of meditation
We know that meditation isn’t for everyone, but even just 6 minutes a day where you can check in with yourself can have huge benefits. For some, it’s a great way of relieving stress, and for others it can help to keep their anxiety in check – but it’s worth noting that everyone is different. Finding peace for 6 minutes can also enhance your self-awareness, and promotes a sense of importance when it comes to your emotional health. It’s worth a try – it might just become your go-to for keeping calm!
5 portions of fruit and veggies
It’s been drummed into our heads for as long as we can remember – you must get your 5 a day. But why is it so important that we swap out the chocolate for carrot sticks and the diet coke for a green smoothie? Eating 5 portions of fruit and veg a day can bring a huge health benefits. They’re a great source of vitamins and minerals, and are an excellent source of dietary fibre – which can ultimately lead to a reduction in the risk of bowel cancer. Better still, they can help to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and even some cancers – plus they taste amazing and there are so many varieties!
Regardless of your lifestyle – maybe you work, study, stay at home with kids etc. – it’s important that you take a break. While everyone likes to think that they can go at 100 miles an hour all day long, it’s crucial that you take some time out. So, taking a break 4 times a day, whether that’s to stretch your legs, get some fresh air, play a game on your phone, read a couple of pages of a book or even just sit down – don’t underestimate how much better it could make you feel!
3 meals and healthy snacks
Eating three healthy, well-balanced meals a day is vital (if you’re able to do so). Even if you don’t necessarily feel like eating, giving your body breakfast, lunch and dinner each day along with three healthy snacks is a great way to get yourself into the habit of making healthy choices. If you’re anything like me then your body is probably temperamental at the best of times, but by fuelling it properly and regularly you give yourself the best possible chance at getting into a healthy routine.
2 hours of no phone before bed
Pretty closely tied into the idea that you should aim for 8 hours of sleep a night, taking two hours away from your phone before you go to bed. Studies show that using screens before you go to sleep can stop your brain from producing melatonin, meaning it could take you longer to switch off and actually get to sleep. And continued sleep interruption can eventually end up affecting your body clock – so aiming for a couple of hours phone-free before bed can ultimately benefit your health.
And finally, at number 1…
1 session of exercise
Whether it’s a gym session, a brisk walk, some yoga in your living room or running about with the kids or the dog, getting in one session of exercise is essential. Obviously, you should take rest days – over-exercising can end up having a negative impact on your health – but aiming for 1 session of exercise 3-4 times a week is a great habit to get into, and one your body will definitely thank you for!
So there you have it – our 9 steps for daily healthy habits! How many of these do you do already? Let us know in the comments!
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