There are countless things out there on the internet that tell you exactly what you must do in order to live a healthy life. Some of them are 20 (or more!) step guides on planning out your day to the minute, along with memberships to expensive gyms and crazy-sounding supplements.

Those aren’t necessary–you don’t need to implement every single tip under the sun and spend tons of money in order to be healthier. But, if you do want to live a healthy life, here are the three things that you must do.

These things aren’t revolutionary or groundbreaking. They don’t involve spending tons of money on fancy outfits, accessories, or learning the new complicated fitness craze. They’re almost exceedingly basic. That said, they’re also incredibly important.

Sleep.

Get some sleep! Stop staying up late or depriving yourself of sleep in the mornings and trying to make up for it with coffee or energy drinks.

Sleep might be one of the most annoying things we have to do (8 hours unconscious–really?), but you have to do it. Sleeping is super important and missing out on it can have real effects on not only your productivity and happiness, but also your overall health.

According to a Harvard study:

Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite.

That’s not all. The report goes on to say:

Sleep deprivation alters immune function, including the activity of the body’s killer cells. Keeping up with sleep may also help fight cancer.

Yikes!

While it might seem unimportant, or potentially even cumbersome, sleep is one of the things you can’t skimp out on if you’re trying to live a healthier lifestyle.

Get outside and move.

Forget the gerbil machine (a.k.a. the treadmill). Get outside, even if it’s something as simple as a 30-minute walk. Get outside, throw on a podcast or some music, and move!

If you’re not walking, you can get by with a 7-minute workout, or something as simple and basic as interval sprint workouts up and down your neighborhood street. Whatever it is, just make sure you get up and move at some point throughout the day (preferably outside).

If the weather means you must stay indoors–be active. Join a gym, find a class you enjoy, and figure out a way to work up a sweat. If running is your thing, then go ahead and jump on the treadmill, but there are tons of other ways (CrossFit, boxing, yoga, Pilates, etc) to get your sweat on without spending hours running in place while staring at the television.

Eat real food.

This might be the biggest thing you can do to drastically improve your health in the fastest amount of time.

Try to live one week with the rule to only eat food with ingredients that you can pronounce, and see what happens.

Find healthy recipes made with whole foods, and learn how to cook. Try to prepare your meals for the week and then eat accordingly.

This means eating out less and being deliberate about the foods you get ready at the beginning of the week, but it’s a trade-off you’re going to have to make if you want to live a more intentionally healthy lifestyle.

 

That’s it. That’s the least you have to do live a healthy lifestyle. No fancy contraptions, medications or gym memberships required. Simply sleep, move, eat real food, and I bet you’ll see a massive improvement in how you feel and act throughout your day.

Now it’s your turn: what’s your favorite simple thing you can add to your life to live a little healthier? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Strawberry #2 (reworked)/.craig via flickr.com

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