Eat your fruits and veggies — and make sure they’re organic. Exercise daily. Drink water like your life depends on it. Meditate and banish stress permanently.
You’ve likely heard these health rules time and time again. However, let’s be honest: Life happens. You’re already busy enough trying to balance work and personal life. Adding more things to your to-do list, like sipping a ton of water throughout the day and stopping at the organic foods store, feels untenable.
This raises the question: How important are these health rules, really? What happens if you don’t follow them to a tee?
Good news: You’ll probably be just fine. There are ways to bend or even break these rules and still live a healthy, happy life. Let’s look at some of these popular health rules and walk through how to adjust them to fit your lifestyle.
You’ve probably heard that chronic stress is bad for you. It’s true — stress can lead to a host of health problems such as high blood pressure and heart disease. However, it’s just about impossible to go through life without ever stressing out about anything. Sometimes, your job is especially challenging for a few weeks, or you may get nervous about managing a personal conflict. These stresses are actually okay.
Instead of feeling stressed about being stressed, use it to your advantage. A little anxiety can also boost motivation and performance on the job and is an excuse to get creative since art can reduce stress. When you’re stressed about a project or event, you’ll likely be motivated to check it off your to-do list ASAP and take that responsibility off your plate.
That said, too much stress is harmful, so don’t hesitate to see a therapist if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Buying organic does lower your chances of consuming food grown with hormones, pesticides, or antibodies, which can cause sickness and gastrointestinal issues. However, organic food can be more expensive than other options. Shopping organic doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Instead, focus on buying organic when you’re purchasing one of the Environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen,” the varieties of non-organic produce that contain significant amounts of dangerous pesticides and chemicals. In 2021, the dirty dozen includes strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, cherries, peaches, pears, bell and hot peppers, celery, and tomatoes. If the item on your grocery list isn’t part of the “Dirty Dozen,” it’s not a priority to buy organic.
Exercising, along with a balanced diet, can lower your risk of heart disease and cancer, strengthen your muscles, and reduce stress. However, if you’re too exhausted after a long day and miss a workout, are you doomed?
Of course not. The CDC suggests getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise each week. Pressed for time but like going hard? Perfect. Just set aside 15 minutes for high-intensity interval training five times per week. If you have one or two free days, set aside 30 or 40 minutes for a light jog or yoga session.
Sipping water seems pretty basic, but reaching those eight glasses per day is easier said than done. Luckily, you can stay hydrated without draining your water bottle three times a day. Produce like watermelon and cucumber are about 90 percent water and boast tons of vitamins and antioxidants that may lower your risk of developing cancer.
If you feel like you struggle to drink enough water, try using an app like Daily Water Tracker and send yourself reminders to sip.
A healthy lifestyle will look a little different for everyone, depending on your goals, finances, and time. Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot precisely follow your doctor’s healthy living guide 24/7/365. Instead, do the best you can — a little bit is better than nothing at all! While many of these recommendations come from evidence-based research, it’s important to understand that what’s optimal isn’t always realistic. Eating only organic, homemade meals, drinking at least eight glasses of water per day, and exercising at 5 a.m., all while staying stress-free, is next to impossible. Listen to your body, make compromises where you need to, and live your healthiest life on your own terms.
BlissMark provides information regarding health, wellness, and beauty. The information within this article is not intended to be medical advice. Before starting any diet or exercise routine, consult your physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, the United States Health & Human Services department has a free online tool that can help you locate a clinic in your area. We are not medical professionals, have not verified or vetted any programs, and in no way intend our content to be anything more than informative and inspiring.
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