It’s not all about the beach bod. Eating healthy and exercising regularly goes far beyond looking good. Here are just a few of the reasons it is important to develop healthy habits in your early age:

Speaking from experience, your healthy journey does not start off by developing a routine of healthy habits. You have to be willing to change your mindset and be patient with yourself in order to be successful.

#1 – Be Healthy! Your Life Depends On It

No seriously, your life depends on it. The eating and exercise habits you choose now can have serious effects on a your overall well-being, including, chronic disease, mental health problems, premature aging, organ failure, must I go on? If you want to reverse or seriously inhibit your body from breaking down early on you, start taking notes!

You must first analyze your current healthy state, which can be done at home or by the help of a doctor. Do you notice that you are not getting any sleep at night? Or feeling overly fatigued? This will allow you to target areas where your healthy may be lacking.

Once you identify some key target areas to work on, you can start building healthy habits into your daily routine.

#2 – Good Nutrition Improves Well-Being

Most people assume that eating healthy and exercising is all about looking good, but it is actually all about feeling good! The Mental Health Foundation reported that majority of individuals who suffer from mental health issues have an unhealthy diet. Your well-being can be maintained by ensuring that your diet is full of essential fats, complex carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. Here is a list of common healthy foods and their nutritional value, approved by the FDA: Nutrition Information for Raw Fruits, Vegetables, and Fish.

I recommend a journal to keep track of what you eat in a day for at least a week. Naturally, since you will be monitoring yourself you will eat healthier than usual. Try your best not to leave out those guilty foods in order to best track your healthy habits.

Similarly, record how much you move your body on a daily basis. This can be in the form of walking, going to the gym, hitting the yoga or dance studio ; something that raises your heart rate.

#3 – Healthy Foods Boost Your Immune System

Do you find that you are sick more often than not, even when there’s not a bug going around? Much related to your well-being, your immune system can be a great indicator of your eating habits (or lack there of).

Recall the last time you visited the doctor when you were ill, that first set of questions they ask you always involve something regarding your exercise level, eating and sleeping habits. Maintaining your immune system requires an intake of proper vitamins and minerals.

Eating a well-balanced diet, including fruits, vegetables and food low in fats, can actually boost your body’s immune system and help fight off bacteria and disease. Developing these healthy habits can save you from several doctor visits and unnecessary days off.

#4 – Avoid Early Signs of Aging

Age is not the cause of decline in fitness. The decline in fitness is a result of aging.

There are these little chromosomes in your body called telomeres that control your cell’s aging process. As we age these telomeres get shorter and shorter, therefore speeding up the aging process. Studies from the University of California San Francisco have found a link between the rate of telemeres and regular exercise. The more you exercise on a regular basis, the longer it takes for these telomeres to shorten, allowing your cell’s to have a longer shelf life.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to exercise everyday of the week for the rest of your life; however, leisure exercise at least 5 days a week for about one hour can have a great impact on your health. Strength training also plays an important role in building and maintaining muscle as well as preventing bone density loss. Develop healthy habits of physical activity at least 20 minutes a day.

#5 – Fend Off Dreaded Wrinkles

By increasing blood flow, sending more oxygen throughout your body, exercise keeps skin cells healthy and vital. In one study, researchers asked sedentary volunteers to work out for 30-45 minutes, twice a week, showed reduced signs of aging after just 12 weeks. Think of what you can do in one year!

I cannot stress enough the importance of developing these healthy habits now, so you can continue to enjoy the things you do today several years from now. A healthy diet is equally as important as regular exercise.

Foods like tomatoes, berries, avocados, nuts and fish all contain certain vitamins and minerals that are good for the skin. For example, tomatoes contain vitamin C, which helps build collagen, in turn making your skin look firmer and slow premature aging. Berries are full of antioxidants and vitamins and eating them promotes cell regeneration for new skin.

#6 – Maintain a Healthy Weight

Eating a nutritious diet filled with fruits, vegetables, protein, complex carbs and healthy fats will maintain your healthy physique. We often take for granted the power that foods can truly have on our bodies.

For example, leafy greens such as spinach and kale, just one cup is packed with your daily value of Vitamins K, A and C. Similarly, every day herbs & spices like oregano, cinnamon and peppermint, are loaded with antioxidant which can lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease and many more impressive healthy benefits.

You can start your healthy journey by downloading a list of foods and their nutritional benefits. Begin by incorporating these foods into your diet little by little and before you know it you will be planning healthy meals on a weekly basis. Start your healthy habits journey today!

Healthy habits weight loss scale.
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# 7 – Healthy Diet Gives You Energy and Increased Focus

Our bodies derive energy from the foods we consume. The main nutrients are body uses for energy are carbohydrates, fats and proteins. So next time you are on your way to Starbucks to order one of their specialty drinks with a bagel on the side, take a look at the nutrition value. I promise, your jaw will drop.

Foods rich in iron, Vitamin B, C, D and the entire alphabet all play a crucial role in your body’s energy levels. More importantly, these nutrients monitor your body’s glucose levels which directly effects your brain and energy focus.

Trust me, I get it, I used to never eat breakfast in the morning and survive on coffee until lunchtime. But if you start your day with a full glass of water and a healthy snack, I promise you won’t crash and burn like you do without the second cup of coffee.

# 8 – Regular Exercise for a Better Sleep

Much like energy and focus, a healthy diet and regular exercise can help you sleep better at night. Regular exercise can impact your sleep quality by raising your body’s temperature. No, I am not saying that you will be sweating when you sleep.

As the day progress, your internal thermostat drops back down to normal. triggering feelings of drowsiness. If you are not doing anything for your body either in the morning or afternoon that generate this extra heat, your body will maintain this normal temperature; either causing you to feel sleepy all day or keep you awake all night.

To reap the benefits of a good nights sleep, develop this healthy habit by exercising in the morning or afternoon, rather than late in the evening. By exercising too late at night, you are not allowing your body enough time to get back to it’s optimal temperature.

# 9 – Healthy Habits Means Less Stress

That’s right, you heard me, STRESS LESS. Good nutrition, exercise and adequate sleep all help your body in coping with stress. Physical activity in not only an outlet for managing stress, but more importantly physical activity pumps up your endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters, responsible for making your brain feel good.

Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, keep your relaxed and lower symptoms associated with depression and anxiety. Additionally, healthy foods that are packed with nutrients play a vital role in balancing your body functionality, including hormone and serotonin levels.

And if you didn’t already guess it, exercise can also improve your sleep which is often disrupted by stress and anxiety. Find an physical activity that you generally enjoy and one that you can challenge yourself with; life is all about balance. This is my all time favorite of the healthy habits, who doesn’t want less stress?

#10 – Eating Healthy Will Save Money

Most people assume that eating healthy is expensive. While they are not wrong, eating organic foods can certainly add a few dollars on to that total amount. However, by preparing your own meals at home you will actually be saving money.

By investing in frozen, canned or dry ingredients, you are not only saving money in the long run but also giving yourself options on a daily basis on what to prepare. Aside from just saving money, ordering takeout on a regular basis can negatively effect your healthy as most meals are prepared with large amounts of sodium, sugars and fats that can lead to clogged arteries and heart disease.

While you may think that you can offset eating out with all of those vitamins you take, think of how much money you are spending on those vitamins that you can easily get from one healthy serving of fruits & veggies. Develop these healthy habits and your bank account will thank you!

Some Final Food For Thought

Healthy habits are hard to develop and require actual time and sacrifice. If you are having a difficult time starting your healthy journey, invite a friend or family member to join you. You can both create a list of healthy habits you want to adopt and compare your progress later on.

In order to stay motivated in your healthy journey, you must remember that you are human and all good things take time. By educating yourself on the basics of a healthy diet and the benefits of exercise, you will not only feel empowered to help others but also reap the rewards later on.

Couple practicing healthy habits.
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