For most people, being healthy means achieving their ideal body that can launch a thousand Instagram likes. For others, it means being prepared to take on even the most hectic weeks with full-on productivity. Whichever it is, we often tend to categorise health as a part of #adulting. After all, achieving your health goals requires discipline, as with most things that come with being an adult (i.e., budgeting your salary, living alone). Simply put: Being a responsible adult means being health-ready — don’t you agree?
But what are the health goals that one should have anyway? And some of you might be asking, isn’t it better to simply enjoy your youth and worry about the rest later? Well, we’re here to tell you that you can definitely make the most out of early adulthood while also taking good care of your body. So, we’ve come up with a list of must-have health goals that you should get started on — aside from the obvious one that is achieving your dream body!
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1. Getting enough sleep daily
This is probably the simplest, no-brainer one among all health goals. But let’s be real — sometimes, it’s easier said than done, especially if you’re a night owl with a nine-to-five schedule. So, it’s absolutely important to get at least seven hours of sleep! This will allow your body to heal, rejuvenate, and be ready for another day.
On the other hand, chronic sleep deprivation can increase stress hormones, which will definitely affect your concentration and productivity level. It could also lead to more serious health problems like high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart failure. And you’d definitely want to decrease your chances of getting such, right? That said, make it a habit to wind down and be in bed at least eight hours before you need to wake up. So by morning, you’ll be feeling alive, vibrant, and prepared to take on anything!
2. Eating well-balanced meals
Clearly, we don’t necessarily mean going on a diet. But we do mean eating on time thrice a day, being mindful of the right portions, and adding as much as greens to your plate. After all, as far as health goals go, you are what you eat. So, it’s best to get as many vitamins and nutrients as possible from what you consume! And this goes without saying, but avoid consuming empty calories (save for the occasional cheat day, of course).
Aside from leafy greens and fruits, don’t forget to add whole grains as well as lean protein to your plate. But for protein, steer clear of processed and manufactured meat that are way too high in saturated fat and sodium. The rule of thumb is to remember what we learned in elementary: go, grow, and glow foods. Don’t forget to try out new healthy recipes every now and then to keep it interesting! Hey, sticking to your health goals shouldn’t be boring.
3. Keeping your workouts interesting
Beyond just achieving your dream body, it’s also important to enjoy the process especially when it comes to exercising. That said, why not try a new workout every now and then to switch up your routine? After all, sticking to the exact same routine isn’t always a good thing. Not only will you get bored easily (and therefore less motivated), but you’ll also hit a plateau (meaning your body will cease to get stronger).
In relation to that, don’t forget to make sure that you’re doing your workout right! And we don’t mean simply doing it diligently — perfecting your form is also a must. You see, if you’re not doing the right form, then you might risk getting injured. Intensity and number of reps for weight loss are good and all, but protecting your body and building your muscles are better. Rule of thumb: strengthen, don’t strain!
4. Devoting to stretching every day
Yes, you read that right: every day. You shouldn’t limit stretching to just before and after your workout, but even on days when you won’t be exercising! Allot at least a few minutes to stretch properly throughout the day: in the morning when you wake up, in between work breaks, and in the evening before you sleep.
Going back to the previous item, stretching also helps strengthen muscles and avoid injuries while working out. Oh, and it also helps relieve tension — both physical and mental! And who wouldn’t want that for their health goals?
5. Cutting back on your vices
Sure, you might know some people who are #BodyGoals despite being avid drinkers and/or regular smokers. But of course, we all know that these habits tend to have harmful effects in the long run. So, the question here is not so much as “can you quit?” but more of “will you?” — and to that we say, you should. Or at the very least, minimise it. (Hey, we’re not here to lay down judgement!)
A great way to go about cutting back (or quitting altogether) on vices is to set a ‘consequence system.’ For instance, if you break your promise and drink more than one glass of wine, you treat a friend to dinner at a nice restaurant. Or, say, if you ended up smoking a cigarette, then you won’t be buying those shoes you want. But hey, feel free to modify this to whatever will work best for you and your health goals.
6. Remembering your mental health, too!
You know what they say — a sound mind means a sound body. That said, it’s definitely important to add this to your health goals. Fortunately, working out, sleeping enough, and eating right all go hand in hand with your mental well-being. Apart from helping manage stress levels, these activities also put your mind at ease, since you know that you’re taking care of yourself.
Furthermore, there are also smaller (but equally important) ways to take care of your mental health. This includes being honest about your feelings (both good and bad), taking breaks to avoid burnout, limiting your personal social media time, and generally making time for your hobbies and interests! Oh, of course, don’t forget to seek help whenever you feel like you need it.
7. Focusing on long-term overall wellness
Instead of focusing on just the results, make your health goals an actual part of your lifestyle. You might have noticed that all the previous points combined make for holistic healthy living. And rather than having an exact end goal (e.g., your dream body), these are the things that we aspire to eventually come naturally to us. Simply put: it’s all about forming a set of good habits that we (and our immune system) will thank ourselves for later on!
8. Being financially prepared for the worst
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but sometimes, life happens — no matter how much you keep a healthy lifestyle. Because whether we like it or not, our health will deteriorate as we grow older. And while there’s nothing we can do to prevent this (apart from acquiring an immortality elixir that doesn’t exist), there’s definitely something we can do to prepare for whatever might happen! One word: health insurance.
Okay, we’ll admit that this sounds like a daunting concept for some, especially those who are still on the younger side. But what if we told you there’s one that promises protection at a price you can totally afford? Clearly, we’re talking about AXA’s Health Care Access.
Health Care Access comes in two plan types: Health Care Access Prime and Health Care Access Lite. Health Care Access Prime provides comprehensive coverage of up to ₱5 million annually, among others, which is ideal for those who have no HMO like entrepreneurs, freelancers, and consultants. Meanwhile, Health Care Access Lite provides additional protection on top of one’s existing health care coverage, plus more. Did we mention that it also includes a Longevity Health Fund where you can get financial assistance for health concerns as you grow older and when you need it most? So yes, you can keep getting the medical treatment you need even beyond the age of 75!
At the end of the day, adulting really is about maintaining healthy habits and being as health-ready as we can be. So, before you consider investing in the fancier things, we’d definitely suggest starting with your health first and foremost.
So, which of these health goals have you already started on? Or better yet, are you already doing these important things on the daily? Because if it’s the latter, then kudos to you, that’s for sure! Either way, we’d definitely love to hear more about your experiences so far. Don’t be shy and tell us all about it in the comments!
Brought to you by AXA Philippines. Featured image credit: Elina Fairytale