There’s no shortage of reasons to take care of yourself, the most obvious ones being that it’s what your body needs and deserves. Many factors, including family, longevity, avoiding specific health issues, productivity, alertness, energy levels, and more, are influenced by how we treat our bodies. Having the discipline and self-control to eat healthily and exercise regularly can positively affect all areas of your life.

Daily exercise is a significant component of health. It helps to reduce stress levels, increase energy levels, and create a positive self-image. As many find themselves sitting at a desk for multiple hours per day, it’s vital to get your body moving and use all those muscles (that can become dormant). One of the most challenging aspects of working out is getting started. First, learn whether going to the gym or working out at home is best for you. Next, find the best time every day to work out and hold yourself accountable. If a full workout sounds daunting after a long day, then do 15 minutes. Continuity is essential, and your body will soon crave and depend on it.

What you are eating and drinking also determine the quality of your health. The adage of “you are what you eat” still applies. Start by removing the word “diet” from your vocabulary. Approaching a change in eating habits as a “diet” makes it impermanent. What we eat shouldn’t change periodically based on fitting into a specific outfit or (for) a special event. It needs to be an actual, long-lasting lifestyle change. If you’re busy during the week and the uncertainty at mealtime makes you grab something quick and easy, then make a meal plan and prep some dishes over the weekend. Review your grocery list and cut out or decrease the number of items that don’t fit into the lifestyle you desire. I’m not saying to never eat ice cream (I could never do that), but instead of the half-gallon, buy a pint and stretch it out as long as you can. A nutrient-rich and balanced meal plan will make a significant change in how your mind and body operate. Also, drinking enough water is critical to one’s health. If you don’t have a water bottle, get one, and plan to have it by your side throughout the day.

The term “health” is a catch-all for many things. It may include daily routines, sleep patterns, what you’re eating (and how much of it), and daily exercise. But there’s also spiritual health and cognitive health. Taking time to read, reflect, and pray should be a pillar of your wellness plan. Spending time with friends and family also has to fit into the definition of wellness. Social connections are vitally important to our well-being.

It’s essential always to prioritize self-care. If you don’t, your relationships can struggle, your work can fall off, and you could develop life-altering conditions such as diabetes. Taking care of yourself needs to be deliberate but not overwhelming. If you want to “up your game” and feel your best, the answers might lie in exercise and healthy eating. Maybe there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, but there are certain guiding principles that everyone can use to look better, feel better, and perform better.

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