5 Basic Habits To Get Healthier According To Experts

Aditi Shenai

October 9, 2023

In today’s fast-paced world, the quest for good health and well-being is a universal aspiration. However, navigating the vast landscape of health advice available on the internet can be overwhelming. With countless articles, blogs, and opinions on how to get healthier, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of information.

Health isn’t just the absence of illness; it’s a dynamic state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being. By focusing on these five fundamental steps—eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, getting sufficient sleep, managing stress, and staying hydrated—you’ll be equipped with a holistic approach to improve your health and vitality. It’s also important to remember that health isn’t defined by a single parameter. For example, don’t look at not having an illness or rapid weight loss as your singular definition of health. Health refers to the overall wellness of your body, mind and soul.

Whether you’re looking to kickstart a healthier lifestyle or fine-tune your existing habits, this article will provide actionable advice that you can start implementing today. Join us as we explore the essential building blocks of a healthier life.

I. Eat a Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet is a cornerstone of good health, providing your body with the necessary nutrients to function optimally. It’s not just about what you eat but also about how you eat and the quality of your food choices. In this section, we’ll delve into the significance of nutrition in overall health and provide practical tips for achieving dietary balance.

A. The Significance of Nutrition in Overall Health

  • Nutrition as Fuel

Think of your body as a finely tuned machine. Just as a car needs the right fuel to run efficiently, your body requires proper nutrition. Nutrients from food serve as the fuel that powers all bodily functions, including digestion, metabolism, and cell repair.

  • Macronutrients

Macronutrients are the major components of your diet:

  • Carbohydrates: These are your body’s primary source of energy. Opt for complex carbohydrates like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables over simple sugars.
  • Proteins: Essential for tissue repair and growth, proteins can be found in lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, and legumes.
  • Fats: Healthy fats, like those in avocados, nuts, and olive oil, are crucial for brain health and nutrient absorption. Limit saturated and trans fats.
  • Micronutrients 

While macronutrients provide energy, micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are vital for maintaining various bodily processes. They include:

  • Vitamins: These organic compounds are necessary for various functions, such as vitamin C for immunity and vitamin D for bone health. Get a variety of vitamins from fruits, vegetables, and whole foods.
  • Minerals: Minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron are essential for strong bones, muscle function, and oxygen transport. Dairy, leafy greens, and lean meats are good sources.

B. Tips for Achieving Dietary Balance

  1. Incorporate Fruits and Vegetables: Aim to fill half your plate with colourful fruits and vegetables. They provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fibre while keeping calorie intake in check.
  1. Choose Lean Protein Sources: Opt for lean proteins like skinless poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes. These sources are rich in protein without excessive saturated fats.
  1. Select Whole Grains Over Refined Grains: Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread, offer more fibre and nutrients than refined grains like white rice and white bread.
  1. Limit Added Sugars and Processed Foods: Excessive sugar consumption can lead to various health issues. Minimize your intake of sugary beverages, candies, and processed snacks.
  1. Practice Portion Control: Be mindful of portion sizes. Use smaller plates and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues to avoid overeating.

II. Regular Physical Activity

Regular physical activity is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. It offers a multitude of benefits for both physical and mental well-being. In this section, we will explore the significance of exercise, different types of physical activities, and how to incorporate them into your routine.

A. The Impact of Exercise on Health

  1. Holistic Well-Being

Exercise isn’t just about achieving a certain body shape; it’s about enhancing your overall well-being. Regular physical activity has far-reaching effects on your physical, mental, and emotional health.

  1. Physical Health Benefits
  • Weight Management: Exercise helps burn calories and build muscle, making it an effective tool for weight management.
  • Cardiovascular Health: Aerobic exercises like running, cycling, and swimming improve heart health, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Bone and Joint Health: Weight-bearing activities, such as walking and strength training, support bone density and joint function.
  • Metabolism: Physical activity boosts metabolism, aiding in efficient nutrient utilisation.
  1. Mental Health Benefits
  • Stress Reduction: Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood lifters. It can help reduce stress and anxiety
  • Improved Cognitive Function: Regular activity is associated with better cognitive function, memory, and mental clarity.
  • Better Sleep: Exercise can promote better sleep quality and reduce insomnia.
  • Enhanced Self-Esteem: Achieving fitness goals can boost self-esteem and confidence.

B. How to Start and Maintain an Exercise Routine

  1. Set Realistic Goals: Define clear, achievable fitness goals to stay motivated.
  1. Choose Activities You Enjoy: Select activities that you find enjoyable to make exercise a sustainable habit.
  1. Start Slowly: If you’re new to exercise, begin with shorter, less intense sessions and gradually increase intensity and duration.
  1. Consistency Matters: Aim for regularity in your exercise routine, whether it’s daily walks, weekly yoga classes, or a gym workout plan.
  1. Mix It Up: Vary your workouts to prevent boredom and avoid overuse injuries.
  1. Seek Professional Guidance: Consider consulting a fitness trainer or healthcare provider, especially if you have specific health concerns or goals.

III. Get Sufficient Sleep

Quality sleep is often underestimated but plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health and well-being. In this section, we will explore the importance of getting sufficient sleep, the consequences of sleep deprivation, and practical tips to improve your sleep quality.

A. The Importance of Sleep for Health and Well-Being

  • Recovery and Repair

Sleep is a period when the body undergoes repair and restoration processes. It allows cells to regenerate, muscles to recover, and the immune system to strengthen.

  • Cognitive Function

Adequate sleep is essential for cognitive functions such as memory consolidation, problem-solving, and learning.

  • Emotional Well-Being

Sleep plays a significant role in regulating emotions and mood. Lack of sleep can contribute to irritability, mood swings, and even depression.

  • Physical Health

Quality sleep is linked to a lower risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

B. Consequences of Sleep Deprivation

  • Impaired Cognitive Function: Sleep deprivation can lead to difficulty concentrating, reduced alertness, and memory problems.
  • Mood Disturbances: Lack of sleep can cause mood swings, increased irritability, and a higher susceptibility to stress.
  • Weakened Immune System: Chronic sleep deprivation may weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses.
  • Weight Gain: Poor sleep is associated with an increased appetite, particularly for high-calorie, sugary foods.
  • Cardiovascular Risks: Sleep deprivation can contribute to high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease.

C. Tips for Improving Sleep Quality

  1. Establish a Sleep Schedule

Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock.

  1. Create a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Engage in calming activities before bedtime, such as reading, gentle stretching, or taking a warm bath. Avoid stimulating activities like intense exercise or watching TV.

  1. Optimize Your Sleep Environment

Ensure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows.

  1. Limit Screen Time Before Bed

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep. Avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime.

  1. Watch Your Diet

Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol close to bedtime, as they can disrupt sleep.

  1. Get Regular Exercise

Engaging in regular physical activity can improve sleep quality, but avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime.

  1. Manage Stress

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation to reduce stress before sleep.

  1. Limit Naps

Short naps (20-30 minutes) can be refreshing, but long or irregular naps during the day may interfere with nighttime sleep.

IV. Manage Stress

In our fast-paced world, stress has become a common companion in our lives. However, chronic stress can take a significant toll on our physical and mental health. In this section, we will delve into the importance of stress management, strategies to cope with stress, and the connection between stress and chronic health conditions.

A. Understanding the Impact of Stress on Health

The Body’s Stress Response

Stress is a natural response to challenging situations. When we perceive a threat, our body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. This prepares us to react quickly, often referred to as the “fight or flight” response.

Chronic Stress

While acute stress is a normal and necessary response, chronic stress—persistent stress over an extended period—can be harmful. It can lead to physical, emotional, and behavioural health problems.

B. The Connection Between Stress and Chronic Health Conditions

Cardiovascular Health: Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke.

  • Immune System: Prolonged stress weakens the immune system, making you more susceptible to illnesses.
  • Digestive Problems: Stress can exacerbate gastrointestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
  • Mental Health: Chronic stress is a significant contributor to conditions such as anxiety and depression.
  • Pain: Stress can exacerbate chronic pain conditions like headaches or back pain.

C. Strategies for Managing Stress

  1. Relaxation Techniques
  • Deep Breathing: Practice deep, slow breaths to calm the nervous system and reduce stress levels.
  • Meditation and Mindfulness: These techniques promote relaxation, increase awareness, and improve focus
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Tense and then relax different muscle groups to release physical tension.
  1. Physical Activity

Exercise helps reduce stress hormones and triggers the release of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Even short, brisk walks or stretching can alleviate stress.

  1. Healthy Lifestyle Choices
  • Diet: Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol.
  • Sleep: Prioritize good sleep habits to ensure you’re well-rested and better equipped to handle stress.
  1. Time Management and Organisation

Use tools like to-do lists and calendars to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively.

Break tasks into smaller, manageable steps to reduce feelings of overwhelm.

  1. Social Support

Connect with friends and family. Sharing your thoughts and concerns with loved ones can provide emotional support. Seek professional help if needed, such as therapy or counselling.

  1. Limit Stressors

Identify sources of stress in your life and work on reducing or eliminating them where possible.

Learn to say “no” when necessary to avoid taking on too much.

D. Developing Resilience

Building resilience is a key component of effective stress management. Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from adversity and cope with challenges in a healthy way. Strategies for building resilience include:

  • Positive Thinking: Cultivate a positive outlook and focus on solutions rather than dwelling on problems.
  • Self-Care: Prioritize self-care activities that promote physical and emotional well-being.
  • Seeking Support: Don’t hesitate to seek help from friends, family, or professionals when dealing with overwhelming stressors.
  • Adaptability: Embrace change and adapt to new circumstances rather than resisting them.

V. Stay Hydrated

Staying adequately hydrated is a fundamental aspect of maintaining good health, yet it is often overlooked. In this section, we will delve into the importance of hydration, the role of water in bodily functions, signs of dehydration, and practical tips for staying properly hydrated.

A. The Importance of Proper Hydration

Water as the Essence of Life: Water is essential for life itself. The human body is primarily composed of water, and it plays a crucial role in numerous physiological processes.

Bodily Functions: Water is involved in nearly every bodily function, including digestion, circulation, temperature regulation, and the elimination of waste products. It acts as a medium for chemical reactions, a lubricant for joints, and a shock absorber for vital organs.

Balancing Body Fluids: Proper hydration helps maintain the balance of body fluids, which is essential for overall health. It ensures that your cells, tissues, and organs function optimally.

B. Signs of Dehydration and Its Health Consequences

  1. Thirst: While feeling thirsty is a natural indicator of dehydration, it’s not always the first sign.
  2. Dark Urine: Dark yellow or amber urine can be a sign of dehydration.
  3. Dry Mouth and Skin: Dry mouth, dry or sticky-feeling mouth, and dry skin can all signal dehydration.
  4. Fatigue: Dehydration can lead to feelings of tiredness and reduced energy.
  5. Dizziness or Lightheadedness: In severe cases, dehydration can cause dizziness and fainting.

C. Health Consequences of Dehydration

  1. Impaired Physical Performance: Even mild dehydration can lead to decreased physical performance, making everyday activities more challenging.
  1. Cognitive Impairment: Dehydration can affect cognitive functions, leading to difficulty concentrating and memory problems.
  1. Heat-Related Illness: Severe dehydration can result in heat exhaustion or heatstroke, which can be life-threatening.
  1. Kidney Stones: Chronic dehydration can increase the risk of kidney stones.
  1. Constipation: Insufficient water intake can contribute to constipation and digestive discomfort.

C. Tips for Staying Adequately Hydrated

  1. Drink Enough Water Throughout the Day

Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, often referred to as the “8×8” rule. Adjust your water intake based on your individual needs, which can vary depending on factors like activity level, climate, and age.

  1. Consume Water-Rich Foods

Incorporate foods with high water content, such as fruits (e.g., watermelon, oranges) and vegetables (e.g., cucumber, lettuce), into your diet.

  1. Monitor Urine Color

Keep an eye on the colour of your urine. Pale yellow to light straw indicates proper hydration, while dark yellow or amber suggests dehydration.

  1. Stay Hydrated During Physical Activity

Drink water before, during, and after exercise to replace fluids lost through sweating. Consider sports drinks for longer, more intense workouts to replenish electrolytes.

  1. Limit Sugary and Caffeinated Beverages

Sugary drinks and excessive caffeine can contribute to dehydration. Consume them in moderation.

  1. Create a Hydration Routine

Establish a habit of drinking water at specific times, such as before meals or as soon as you wake up.

  1. Use a Reusable Water Bottle

Carrying a reusable water bottle with you makes it easier to track and maintain your daily water intake.

  1. Pay Attention to Thirst Signals

Listen to your body’s thirst signals and drink water when you feel thirsty, even if it’s not at a scheduled time.

HealthifyMe Suggestion

Achieving holistic wellness is important to feel good. There are many parameters that you need to consider when achieving this goal. But keep in mind, that you need to develop healthy habits in a slow and sustained manner. If you are just starting on your journey don’t try to follow all steps at once. Start one step at a time. Fix your water intake and work on it for 1-2 weeks then work on your sleep and so on. Give yourself time so as to not overwhelm your mind.


Remember that achieving and maintaining good health is a continuous journey, not a destination. It requires dedication, self-awareness, and adaptability. By implementing these five key principles into your daily life, you can take significant steps toward improving your overall health and well-being. Embrace a holistic approach to health, and make positive choices that empower you to live a healthier, happier, and more fulfilling life.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this article is just to disperse knowledge and raise awareness. It does not intend to replace medical advice from professionals. For further information please contact our certified nutritionists Here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is a balanced diet, and why is it important?

A balanced diet includes a variety of foods that provide essential nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. It’s important because it supports overall health, helps maintain a healthy weight, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.

2. How much exercise do I need per week?

The recommended amount of exercise varies based on factors like age and fitness level. Generally, adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week, along with muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days.

3. What are the common signs of stress, and how can I manage it?

Common signs of stress include irritability, mood swings, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and physical symptoms like headaches or muscle tension. Managing stress involves techniques like deep breathing, meditation, exercise, and seeking social support.

4. How can I improve my sleep quality?

To improve sleep quality, establish a regular sleep schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine, maintain a comfortable sleep environment, limit screen time before bed, and avoid caffeine or large meals close to bedtime.

5. How can I ensure I’m drinking enough water each day?

Pay attention to your body’s thirst signals, monitor the colour of your urine (pale yellow is ideal), carry a reusable water bottle, and incorporate water-rich foods like fruits and vegetables into your diet.

6. What are the health risks of chronic dehydration?

Chronic dehydration can lead to health issues such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, constipation, and an increased risk of heat-related illnesses. It can also affect cognitive function and mood.

7. Is it better to snack throughout the day or have three main meals?

The choice between snacking and having three main meals depends on individual preferences and energy needs. What’s important is consuming balanced, nutrient-rich foods and listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.

8. How can I incorporate stress management into my daily life?

Stress management can be integrated into your daily routine through practices like mindfulness meditation, brief breaks for deep breathing, regular physical activity, and finding enjoyable hobbies or activities that help you relax.

9. What are some easy ways to add more fruits and vegetables to my diet?

Include fruits or vegetables in every meal and snack. Experiment with different cooking methods, like roasting, steaming, or blending them into smoothies. Keep convenient, ready-to-eat options available for quick and healthy snacks.

10. How can I make exercise a consistent habit?

Choose activities you enjoy, set achievable fitness goals, establish a routine, find an exercise buddy, and create a supportive environment. Gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts as your fitness level improves.

About the Author

M.Sc in: Dietetics and Applied Nutrition from Manipal University. Worked: All over India and have been involved in helping set up nutrition departments in start ups. Interested in lifestyle based nutrition. Mantra: A healthy lifestyle isn't a choice to be made or discarded, it's a way of life!

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One response to “5 Basic Habits To Get Healthier According To Experts”

  1. Do you have a reference for 5 hours of sleep? Everywhere else I have read it is minimum 7-8 hours of sleep. I think 5 hours is way too less for a healthy life style. Nice article though!

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