4 things you should be doing for your health

Between long workdays, family commitments and budding social lives, it’s not always easy making your health and well-being a top priority. But while those work projects or errands may seem pressing now, you’ll never regret putting your health first.

» RELATED: 5 things you're doing 'for your health' that aren't so healthy

Making smart decisions doesn’t have to be a chore, either. Here are four simple ways to ensure a happier, healthier you.

1. Eat healthy, whole foods

Fresh fruits and vegetables lie on display. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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A recent study conducted by researchers at Stanford University revealed eating more vegetables along with other whole foods is the key to a healthy diet. The research further suggested that losing weight is more about diet quality than calorie quantity.

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According to the research, dieting individuals who reduced their consumption of added sugars, highly processed foods and refined grains while focusing on increasing their vegetables and whole foods, lost significant amounts of weight over the course of a year without counting calories or limiting the size of portions, the AJC previously reported.

Participants in the study also showed improvements in other important health markers such as reduced body fat, lower blood sugar, improved blood pressure levels and decreased waist size.

» RELATED: What you need to know before starting the keto diet

Of course, eating healthier, whole foods may seem difficult and time consuming to prepare. But thanks to delivery meal kits, it doesn’t have to be hard at all. There are numerous convenient and relatively affordable options out there. Blue ApronHelloFresh and Plated are all great choices with different packages depending on your needs. 

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2. Start an exercise routine you can stick with

Photo: Shutterstock

It’s no secret that being too sedentary takes its toll on us as we get older, but adequate exercise is vital to keeping our bodies functioning properly as we age.

After a long day at work, there’s nothing easier than laying on the couch and watching television instead of swinging by the gym or taking a jog around the block. Fortunately, there are a lot of great home workouts that you can use from the comfort of your living room or bedroom. You can sweat and burn calories in privacy, without ever leaving the house.

» RELATED: 5 home workout programs worth the investment

Beach Body sells a variety of home workouts to fit all lifestyles. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can browse their collection of Under 30 Minutes workouts. For those who bore easily and need a little more entertainment while they workout, there are also great Dance Fitness Programs available with a wide variety of musical genres.

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3. Rest more and sleep better

A survey of scientific studies from around the world revealed that "short sleep duration may be associated with the development of obesity from childhood to adulthood." According to the research, adults who sleep too little have a 55 percent greater risk of becoming obese, whereas children see a disturbing 89 percent greater risk.

Whether or not you’re worried about your weight, quality sleep each night will give you more energy to face the stress of the week, while also recharging your body.

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If sleep is a struggle, think about the things keeping you awake. Is it too noisy? Not dark enough? Are your pillows not comfortable enough?

A sleep mask and earplugs set will ensure you always rest in quiet darkness. Try one out for just $9.99. And a Live & Sleep memory foam pillow ($29.95) is sure to greatly improve your comfort all night long. 

4. Drink more water

Atlanta dietitian Rahaf Al Bochi says she drinks 6-8 glasses of water in addition to fluids from tea and soup. (Contributed/For the AJC)

Drinking enough water is important for our health. It keeps us hydrated and may even fight aging.

Water makes skin smoother, helps reduce fatigue, makes the immune system function more efficiently and helps with weight management. Despite the importance of staying hydrated, it’s all too easy to forget to drink an adequate amount of H2O daily.

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Investing in a quality water bottle is a good step to increase your daily water consumption. Fill it up each morning and make sure you finish it by lunchtime. Then repeat after lunch, finishing a second bottle by the end of the day.

Try this 32-ounce Hydro Flask for $44.95. It will even keep your water cold, and it’s BPA and phthalate free.

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