“Health is wealth” is a very common saying, and although it might seem to have become quire cliched, it is still as true as ever. Being unhealthy is a draining thing in a wide range of ways. First, there is the obvious likelihood of getting ill of a wide range of diseases, as well as dying early from any or a combination of those diseases.

There are also financial implications as well. For instance, when it comes to selecting a life insurance plan, you may find that the terms you get offered may not be very good. This is because insurance companies evaluate people whom they want to insure and then offer them terms based on how likely they are to die while the insurance term is pending. If the risk is higher, they will charge higher premiums.

The good news is that you can get healthy if you are willing to put in the work. The results will be astounding. You can start progressively too, and you should, because taking on too much at once can be overwhelming and lead to failure. Here are ten few small steps you can begin taking today to achieve a healthier life:

  1. Cut Out Soda:  Barring any medical conditions from birth, your diet will be the biggest determinant of how healthy you will be. If you eat a lot of food that is healthy and nutritious, your body will use that nutrition to good effect. Soda is neither of those things, but it is still one of the most common things people take on a regular basis. It is filled with copious amounts of sugar instead, and simply cutting out soda from your diet will help you begin to become healthier almost immediately.
  1. Veggies and Fruits:  There is a reason why parents always tell their children to eat their veggies. Fresh vegetables and fruits contain a lot of vitamins and minerals which are essential for your organs to function properly. They also help to strengthen the immune system to ensure that your body is well equipped to fight against any infections that might get into your body. Another good thing is that vegetables and fruits usually have a lot of fiber, making them a great way to keep yourself satiated, so you can keep your calorie intake down if you need to.
  1. Fresh over Processed Food:  Most of the food that is commonly available has been processed in one way or another, and that processing takes off some of the nutrients in the food, at every stage. In practical terms, it means that although the fried potato chips you are eating from the bag and a boiled potato are technically the same kinds of food, their nutritional profiles are very different. One contains almost all its original nutrients and the other has lost most of the nutrients and comes with various additives to preserve it and make it look or taste nice. Many of those additives will be artificial chemicals that are best avoided.
  1. Reduce your Portions:  You can eat too much of even healthy food, and when you are not quite at the perfectly healthy food stage, overeating can have disastrous consequences for your health. Most people eat far more than what you need, even when it does not seem like overeating. Try cutting back on your portions by making little reductions over time, and you will begin to see changes in your waistline as well. Also watch how you snack because even though they might seem not to be as much, snacks (especially of the highly processed variety) often contain a lot of calories which can make all the other changes you’ve been making irrelevant.
  1. Quit Smoking:  Smoking is one of the most reliable pointers to the possibility of early death, according to several studies. Nicotine is addictive, and it’s understandable why many people find it difficult to stop, but smoking over a long period of time is going to inevitably result ion massive damage to one’s lungs, leading to lung cancer or any number of other respiratory conditions. Thankfully, there are quite a few methods to help smokers quit for good and you should consider taking one of them up if you truly want to achieve a healthier life in the long term. You can start with small steps like reducing how much you smoke each day, and then progressively take the number down until you’ve stopped.
  1. Lift Weights:  Cardio exercises like walking and running are great for getting your fitness level up and increasing your endurance. Strength training also helps get you healthier too because of how it strengthens your muscles and body generally. You will be able to do more physical work without being exhausted, plus you will look great too. You can start with small weights – Again, what you start with does not matter. What is important is that you have gone from 0 to 1 and are making progress over time.
  1. Walk More:  Exercise is great for your health. Along with watching what you eat, exercising is also crucial for keeping you fit and making sure your body is shipshape. It might seem like a major hurdle to go from no activity to suddenly run regularly though, but that is not so bad since you don’t have to go run a marathon on your first day. Understand that any physical activity is better than sitting on your couch and start with something as simple as walking. You can begin by talking leisure walks around your house in the evenings and walking short distances instead of driving. You’ll find that it makes you feel better. Your motivation and fitness level will have you doing much more exercise in a short while.
  1. Drink Enough Water:  If you go without enough water for a while, you’ll begin to feel tired and low on energy. Those are natural results of dehydration. Drinking water is easy, but too many people overlook it and don’t drink unless they are feeling very thirsty. The better approach is to take water consistently throughout the day to be sure that your body is well fuelled at every point in time, whether you’re thirsty or not.
  1. Get Enough Sleep:  Rest is important for your body. If you eat well, exercise and do all the other things on this list but don’t get enough sleep, your body won’t be able to translate all that into good health effects because it is when you sleep well that your body recovers, grow muscle and even burns fat efficiently. The number of hours you need to sleep every night depends on your age but generally, aims to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep daily.
  1. Meditate:  There is a lot of confusion regarding meditation, with some seeing it as something spiritual and others seeing it as something that can only be done in conjunction with those painful-seeming yoga poses. The truth is that it can be anything – spiritual, part of your yoga routine, or just a period where you stay still and focus your mind on something (or nothing, if you prefer). Meditation helps you find calmness and clarity, and it can be very beneficial for your mental health, which is just as important as physical health.