Cold and flu season begins kicking into high gear soon, and living a healthy lifestyle is key to keeping illness and disease at bay. Your body will thank you in the short term and your long term health will also improve when a healthy lifestyle is put into daily practice.

So…what does a healthy lifestyle mean? It’s all about making daily choices that are good for your body, mind and soul. Here are some key factors involved in living a healthy lifestyle:

Don’t smoke. We already know that this is bad for you in so many ways. To name just a few, smoking can cause damage to your lungs, blood vessels, vision, teeth, hair, mood, heart, cholesterol, fertility, skin…I can go on and on. You already know it, but I had to write it here anyway. Don’t smoke! And if you do smoke, here is a link to 10 ways to curb tobacco cravings:

Eat your vegetables! Vegetables, particularly dark green veggies and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts) have so many nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that your body needs to combat poor health. Here is a recent blog I wrote about easy ways to consume at least five servings of vegetables daily:

Drink more water. Nearly everyone I ask about water consumption says they drink a lot of water. Then when asked how much, the answer is a bottled water once, twice or perhaps three times a day. So you might be surprised if I tell you that an ideal amount of daily water consumption is half of your body weight in ounces. Three bottled waters at 16.9 ounces each is about 51 oz. This is a perfect amount of water if you weight 102 lbs. But most people don’t. I encourage you to look at how much water you’re drinking and make adjustments where you can. Water is critical for better digestion of food, hydrating your skin, as well as detoxifying and energize your body.

Exercise regularly. You don’t have to be a body builder, but do move your body. Keep yourself limber by stretching. Keep yourself strong by lifting light to moderate weights. And keep your heart and lungs strong by performing cardio regularly. This list of cardio exercises may give you some ideas that you hadn’t thought of: List of Cardio Exercises: 14 Fun Workouts

Get plenty of sleep. So many people think that just a few hours of sleep is a badge of honor. It’s NOT! Your brain and body function best when you have had at least 8 hours of good sleep each night. Sometimes we go through poor sleep episodes. That is understandable. But do all that you can by winding down your day, getting comfortable in your bed, turning off noise on TV, and resting your mind before you fall asleep. Good sleep is not only important for your immune system, but also the condition of your heart, memory and mood. This cute video will explain how a good night’s sleep is good for your brain. What a Good Night’s Sleep Does for the Brain

Minimize stress in your life. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Did you know that stress has much to do with how you think? Yep, every thought you have lives in your cells. And negative thoughts affect your hormones and influence the neurotransmitters in your brain. These produce all of your bodily functions. So if your brain produces negative messaging, your body will receive that and react accordingly. Scientifically, optimism is linked to stronger immunity. Here’s a brief article written by a naturopath about how thoughts affect your health.

There are certainly many more healthy habits you can start today. These are just a few. I know change is challenging. But when done in small increments, they can add up to an overhaul of your health in time. So I encourage you to begin changing one thing today, and keep on going!

In wellness…

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