Like most people, you probably experience the natural peaks and valleys of healthy living: You read about the newest fad, try it for a few weeks, realize it is not so fun/helpful and go back to your generally C+ fitness regimen.
But maybe that’s because you're not going big enough. Maybe those baby steps have been setting you up to take a bold leap, and actually commit to one of those huge health changes you read about and scoffed. Maybe, just maybe, now is your chance to totally transform your body and mind.
Below are 7 major changes you should make today, and the simple, compelling reasons why they are integral to your health, brought to you in partnership with Toyota.
Why you should…. cut out processed, sugary snacks:
Everyone knows that refined sugar isn’t exactly good for you. In addition to adding belly fat and increasing sluggishness, sugary treats can have a similar toxic effect on your liver as alcohol, and can cause severe heart damage. But let’s be honest: Doesn’t everyone deserve a little treat once in awhile?
Unfortunately, each bite contributes to high blood glucose levels, and, what’s more, cutting out sugar can be more than just a preventative measure. According to a study published by Sage Journals, some types of cancer might actually be more survivable if you cut out refined sugar.
Why you should… take a daily multivitamin.
Despite some misleading information in the media, daily vitamin supplements most likely won't kill you. In fact, taking multivitamins could actually keep you healthier as you age, potentially cutting down on significant healthcare costs. And since gummies for adults are an actual thing, you have no excuse!
Why you should… stop drinking alcohol:
Let’s call a spade a spade: Alcohol is essentially poison. Sure, it’s a legal poison that probably doesn’t kill you immediately (as long as you drink it in moderation and NEVER drive under the influence), but even mild and moderate imbibers can suffer from serious health consequences.
Besides for the short-term risks, memory problems, digestive issues and high-blood pressure are common long term effects of alcohol use. And if you thought that only pregnant women need to abstain, think again: Even occasional alcohol use can disrupt a normal menstrual cycle.
Why you should… get at least 7 hours of sleep:
Ah, sleep. That beautiful, elusive thing so many of us are too busy to really prioritize. Unfortunately, all those priorities can go straight out the door if you aren’t catching enough Zzzs.
While most people know about the miraculous healing properties and benefits of sleep, sometimes our cognitive dissonance gets the better of us and we ignore all the self-evident truths. But if there is one thing you need to keep in mind in order to get under the sheets an hour earlier, it’s this: You might be able to function on the surface with six hours of sleep, but your body knows the truth. Seven-hours-per-nighters have significantly better immune systems; those few hours per week can make all the difference.
Why you should... move around daily:
If you are not one of those naturally athletic people who just love to climb rocks and ski cross-country, don’t worry: we totally get you. Unfortunately, horizontal running is not a real thing, and exercising on a regular basis is pretty integral for your internal health (and not just to have a rockin’ bod.)
Thankfully, you don’t need to have oodles of time or be a fitness junkie to get some of the best exercise perks. Working out for just 15 minutes per day has a slew of health benefits, including a lower mortality rate than those with more slothful lifestyles.
Why you should… use sunscreen. EVERY DAY.
Remember that time you went to the beach last summer and actually DID put on suncreen? And it was SPF 30? AND you didn’t even get a little bit burned? While we are super proud of you, unfortunately that one day of protection isn’t nearly enough.
As most people know, exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer. But in addition to that, they can also significantly age your skin and impact your health. Just one day of application is a good start, but to really reap the benefits of sunscreen you will need to make it a part of your daily routine. And yes, we mean even on the cloudiest, winteriest of days.
Why you should… finally stop smoking:
It is 2014, not 1964, which means the majority of Americans know that smoking kills. But this isn't one of those instances where “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” Death is one common and very unfortunate side effect of smoking, but there are tons of others that force you to stick around and live with the painful illnesses brought on by this habit.
Forget that “last cigarette.” Quit smoking right now, and save yourself from tons of misery down the line.