When it comes to setting goals, we often think of career advancements, traveling, and other once-in-a-lifetime milestones. While accomplishing those things can make life more fun, it won’t hurt to take a break from being an overachiever sometimes. After all, job titles and thrilling experiences aren’t the most important things in life. Rather, it’s your well-being.
If you’ve been engaging in self-destructive behaviors since you started your 20s, perhaps it’s time to scale back on that now. Not only does age affect your immune system, but your bad habits may begin taking their toll a few years down the road. Just because you’re not sick now doesn’t mean you’ll stay healthy tomorrow.
Hence, try to add health goals to your bucket list, too. Life is so much more enjoyable when your body can do what it’s made to do.
1. Get More Exercise
The nine-to-five grind can make exercising every day feel like an impossible task. But it’s totally doable. Exercising doesn’t require a gym anyway. Morning or nightly walks, cycling, running, or walking your dog counts as physical activity too, and therefore exercise.
Ideally, you should do cardiovascular exercises for 25 to 30 minutes each day. Twenty-five minutes if you’re doing a vigorous aerobic activity, and 30 for moderate-intense cardio activity. If you’re losing weight, you can also include high-intensity interval training (HIIT) in your workout routine. HIIT workouts twice a week will help you shed off the extra weight at a healthy rate.
Strength training is important as well. Do bodyweight exercises two to three days per week. Some examples include lunges, squats with shoulder press, and push-ups.
If squeezing these movements into your day isn’t efficient, don’t give up on exercising. Again, low-impact activities like cycling, running, and walking are better than no exercise at all. Just aim to increase your heart rate for a few minutes every day. It will help boost your energy and endurance.
If you haven’t been exercising because you don’t have time, identify an activity you can swap for a workout. For instance, if you spend an hour each day lying down and browsing your phone, maybe you can exercise instead. Just 10 to 20 minutes of workout will do for starters. Do this until your body can last through 30 minutes of exercise.
2. Improve Sleep Quality
Grown adults should take sleep more seriously. The running joke that “sleep is for the weak” has put many people at risk for disease. Lack of sleep also worsens symptoms of anxiety, depression, and high stress levels.
To improve your sleep quality, increase your exposure to natural light and bright lights during the day. This would keep your circadian rhythm healthy. That’s because light exposure stimulates energy release. As such, exposure to dim lights at night does the opposite. It will trigger your body’s instinct to rest until you fall asleep.
Hence, keep the lights dim during the night, and reduce your exposure to blue light. Instead of browsing your phone or watching TV, try reading a book or listening to music. And, of course, avoid consuming caffeine six to eight hours before your bedtime. Try chamomile tea instead or melatonin supplements if you’re an insomniac.
3. Reduce Sugar Intake
For many, this might be an unrealistic goal. But reducing sugar intake—or quitting it all together—isn’t as hard you think. Challenging, of course, but what’s life without a challenge?
If you’re willing to take this challenge, beware that it will not feel good at the beginning. Sugar activates your brain’s reward system, so having less of it can induce cravings and mood swings. So do it gradually. You also don’t have to quit sweets. Sugar substitutes will allow you to continue indulging your sweet tooth.
To be satisfied with less sugar in your system, fill up with more protein, fiber, and water. Such healthy food will also help you release the happy hormone, dopamine.
4. Get Regular Checkups
If you’re below 50 years old and healthy, aim to get physical checkups once every three years. Regular checkups will help detect diseases early on and treat them. They’re rather beneficial if you have tricky illnesses, like an autoimmune disorder. So find a reputable wellness center that’s good at diagnosing and treating such conditions.
Regular checkups can also detect signs of a life-threatening disease. That may be dreadful to think about, but it’s better to have them discovered than only seeking help when it’s too late. Early diagnoses save lives.
When you prepare your next bucket list, jot down and tick off these health goals. They’re achievable for every adult, regardless of age, gender, and profession. Promote them to your peers, too; being healthy is the new cool.