Ever heard the saying, 'prevention is better than cure'? Well, it's true. It is easier to prevent an illness from occurring than it is to treat it. Not only is your health protected from harm, but your finances and general quality of life as well.

We have provided just what you need to make those decisions every day and reap the healthy rewards that go along with them.

Ready? Let's go!

1. Eat Healthy

One secret to healthy living is eating right. And before you give yourself props for doing a good job, you should know that eating healthy is more than just abstaining from junk food. According to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC), a balanced and healthy dietary pattern contains a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and low fat dairy products.

Take an honest review. When last did you eat fruits or vegetables? Does your diet contain low or high fat dairy products? Do you eat only a particular class of food? If you can't answer any of the questions above, then you have some work to do, my friend.

Plan your meals for the week, ensuring that you incorporate all the required nutrients into your diet. This way, you can monitor what goes into your body and eat properly.

You should also scrutinize your hunger cues. Determine why you want to eat. Is it out of boredom, cravings, or thirst? You're more likely to avoid overeating when you do this.

Similarly, snack wisely. A great snack has low calorie content and a high concentration of nutrients. Consider whole grain snacks, dairy foods (such as yogurt and milk), fruits and vegetables. Nuts and seeds are also a good choice. These edibles make you feel full.

Eating healthy prevents, delays and manages diseases. Therefore, make it a duty to eat well.

2. Stay Hydrated

Water is very important. Don't allow its simplicity fool you. It is essential for every biological function in the body.

Your body needs water to eliminate waste, digest food, and maintain body temperature. These are all essential processes in the body which require water.

Drink water! Everyday, down at least 6 to 8 cups of water. Even if you don't meet this goal, aim for it. You can do this by: taking a water bottle with you to school or the office, setting alarms on your phone which remind you to hydrate, or filling your fridge with bottles of water. Adopt attitudes that will make drinking water a habit. Your health is counting on it.

While plain water is the best option for hydration, other drinks might help as well. Examples include fruit juice, tea and milk. These contribute to your daily water intake and keep your body hydrated.

3. Engage in Physical Activity

From mowing the lawn, to washing dishes, swimming and even walking, physical activity cuts across all bodily movements that require energy expenditure.

Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only does it prevent the risk of diseases, but it also strengthens your bones and muscles, preventing stiffness.

CDC recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity or 11 minutes of vigorous intensity activity every day. This should also include muscle strengthening activities.

4. Sleep

Good sleep is just as important as eating healthy and engaging in physical activity. It enhances your brain performance, reduces stress levels and boosts your immune system. Thus, it is a priority and should be treated as such.

As an adult, you should get at least 7 hours of sleep daily. To do this, you have to create an atmosphere that will support sleep. This might include; turning off the lights, playing soothing music in the background and keeping your devices (yes, your phone) as far as possible.

Furthermore, set up a sleep schedule. Ensure you go to bed and get up at the same time everyday. This maintains the timing of the body's internal clock and helps you fall asleep quickly at night.

Give your body the rest it deserves. It works hard. Let it sleep well.

5. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is a normal reaction of the body to changes in life. Whether it's work-related or people issues, we encounter triggers of stress in our day-to-day life. Therefore, it is pertinent we handle it effectively. Poorly managed stress will negatively affects all aspects of your health (including your physical and mental health).

You can manage your stress levels by:

  • Developing stress relieving habits. Stress relieving habits differ from person to person. For some, it's taking a long walk and for others, it's journalling. Discover what works for you and roll with it.
  • Eliminating stressors that are within your control. You might not be able to completely remove all stressors from your life, but you can handle some. Identify situations in your life that are triggering stress and deal with them effectively. If it's a toxic relationship, cut it off. If it's an unhealthy habit, seek possible solutions. Whatever the case might be, if it's within your control, deal with it.
  • Exercising. People who exercise more tend to sleep better. Thus, reducing stress levels.
  • Seeking medical help when necessary.

6. Quit Smoking (or never start)

Smoking is bad (with a capital b) for your health. It has been associated with life-threatening diseases such as cancers, stroke, coronary heart disease and chronic bronchitis; to mention a few. If you want to live a long, healthy life, you might want to stop smoking or avoid people who do.

Quitting smoking is not entirely easy, but it is possible. Tobacco cravings are strong, however, they don't last more than 10 minutes. Keep this in mind when those urges come.

Know you can resist it and each time you do, you're a step closer to quitting smoking for good.

7. Go For Regular Check-ups

Don't wait till you're sick before you see the doctor. Don't do that. Ensure that you go for medical check-ups at periodic intervals.

Regular check-ups discover potential health issues before they become a problem. It also makes you more aware of your health and enables you to make better health decisions.

Take charge of your health today and schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.