This article is Medically Approved ✓ by Dr. Edward Salko
There is no such thing as a perfect life.
But you get closer when you aim to lead a healthier life.
If there is one consistent entry in people’s new year’s resolution that is to change certain lifestyles that harm their health or practice new habits that promote wellness.
Why wouldn’t you wish to lead a healthier life when it promotes the following benefits:
- Fewer health problems
- Better mood and mental health
- Increased energy levels
- Improved memory
- Better control of your life
In contrast to leading a healthier life, the risks of developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity remain a threat to public health.
According to Harvard, two out of three American adults are obese or overweight. As this number remains consistent, more people pay attention to adopting a healthy lifestyle.
However, as cliché as it sounds, it is easier said than done. Especially, with the absence of a proper guide.
If you wish to become committed to lead a healthier life, look into these 4 essential aspects:
- Social activities
To get you started with your new health goals, let’s break down these 4 simple steps you can take starting right now to lead a healthier life.
Nutrition affects all critical attributes of a healthy life.
Naturally, the quality of food you intake dictates your risks to certain diseases and infections as well as the general functions of your tissues. In the same way, it has an impact on your mood, metabolism, and chemical imbalances.
As they say, you are what you eat. You can take on the following steps to improve your diet.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
Even in kindergarten, we have been informed that eating fruits and vegetables is always a healthier choice.
Most fruits and vegetables have low sodium, cholesterol, calories, and glycemic loads. They are packed with vitamins and minerals. They also provide the fiber that aids digestion and prevents the risk of developing chronic diseases.
Studies have shown that a diet of fruits and vegetables significantly reduces the development of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure. It is also linked to protection against cancer.
Before you rush to your nearest grocery store, it is important to know if you have an allergy or intolerance to a specific fruit or vegetable. Consider having yourself tested for food allergens.
Eat Regular Meals
Japanese are known to have low obesity rates. There are many factors tied up to this statistic.
One of which is their strict abidance to eating regular well-balanced meals. It is typically three meals a day spread across breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Snacks are often unnecessary as the meals are already enough to sustain them for the day reducing their appetite.
Western diets, on the other hand, include in-between snacking as a common practice.
Likewise, skipping meals is no answer to your weight loss management either.
Those who are aiming to lose some pounds tend to cut down on their regular meals, cold turkey. However, this has been proven to cause more harm than help to your health.
When you under-eat you can potentially develop eating disorders, decrease your energy, experience bone loss, develop digestive problems, and become irritable.
If you want to have a better diet, eat regular meals but with the right kind of food on your plate.
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
A high intake of sugar is associated with metabolic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Sugar (carbohydrate), in the form of glucose, is the main source of energy in our body. However, excess glucose is stored in fat cells produced by the liver. The more glucose you take in, the more fat cells are needed.
Low sugar intake is recommended not only to those who are at risk of developing chronic disorders linked to metabolism.
The American Heart Association recommends 36 grams or nine teaspoons of sugar for men and 25 grams or six teaspoons for women.
Fast foods are notorious for being sugary and fatty. If you are ready to stick to the recommended sugar intake, the best way to start is to avoid eating fast foods altogether.
Physical activity is a core requirement in leading a healthier life.
As much as we’d like to ignore exercise, it has undeniable benefits to our health that promote longevity. The oldest people on record commonly attribute their long life to their dietary choices and active lifestyle.
Aside from its effects on weight management, building strong bones and muscles, and health risk reduction, exercise can enhance learning and lower the probability of depression and anxiety. Consider the following activities to get you to the active lifestyle you desire.
Play Sports To Lead A Healthier Life
Playing sports is one of those productive hobbies that can improve your physical functions.
Devoting time for physical activities like sports improve your heart health and lung capacity. It extends your endurance, strengthens your immune system, and protects you from diseases such as cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
So, which sports can you start playing today?
If you are new to athletics, you can simply begin with simple sporting activities like cycling, swimming, running, and racquet sports. In choosing the right sports for you consider your interest, accessibility, affordability, and risks of injury.
Maybe you’re not really into sports. Are there any other options?
Of course, there is.
Exercise can be performed in simple ways. It is the consistency and frequency that matter most. With the added degree of work, in the long run, you can simply adopt a routine that fits your capacity.
Walking, for example, is a recommended physical activity. Nowadays, a sedentary lifestyle remains a huge factor in developing chronic diseases including obesity.
The 10,000 steps a day movement became popular especially among those who must spend most of their time working. However, the validity of its results had been deemed problematic.
An important factor in walking or taking a specific number of steps in a day is the speed and intensity that allow your heart to pump more blood and lets your muscles work harder than usual.
Stretching / Yoga
If you’re not into rigorous activities, you can always do stretching or yoga.
Stretching is pushing or pulling your body through hold positions. It is sometimes interchanged with Yoga because they both share the same benefits such as muscular relaxation and flexibility. However, they are different types of physical practice.
Yoga is an ancient Indian practice that focuses on simple meditation, breathing, and doing bodily postures that promote good circulation and relaxation.
In 2016, there was a noticeable rise in interest in yoga, especially among young women. As a result, do-it-yourself Yoga for beginners began swarming on the internet making it accessible to everyone.
Your health does not only depend on what you eat and what activities you do every day.
An important aspect of optimum health that is often overlooked is your social life. This encompasses your relationships and how you spent your time for leisure and relaxation.
Studies have shown that the quality and quantity of your social life have short-term and long-term effects on your health. Do simple things like the following to improve your social life.
A positive outlook in life is associated with lower blood pressure and blood sugar level as well as effective weight management.
Cultivating an optimistic mindset begins with the simple practice of gratitude. Ofttimes, you may become selective of things you are thankful for.
Celebrations are every so often reserved for bigger achievements such as getting a promotion, buying a new car, or accomplishing a major goal.
However, it is also important to celebrate minor wins regularly.
It’s not necessary that have a party per se, a simple recognition of what you have in your life is already a beneficial form of celebration.
Keep in Touch with Friends and Family
Your relationships are a good source of comfort and confidence.
Strong relationships are often associated with strong health.
You enjoy the following benefits if you establish stronger relationships:
- Lessens your stress and anxiety
- Allows you to achieve better behaviors
- Lets you heal faster
- Provides you with clarity of purpose
- Makes you happier
There is a lot of scientific evidence that supports the health advantages of having social connections.
For one, being with your family and friends stimulates the release of stress-reducing hormones that gets you in a better mood.
You are also bound to make more rational decisions as you tend to consider how it affects your closest connections.
Assistance / Support Groups
Let’s face it, the picturesque of a happy family and tightly knitted social group may not be accessible to everyone.
There are circumstances where our relationships can be permanently stained, or it is a better choice to sever the ties than remain in an abusive environment. Cases as delicate as this require medical intervention or psychological help.
Nonetheless, being part of a support group even if it is in a certain community in the absence of friends and family, will help you achieve full healing.
Loneliness, especially during a crisis, can become deadlier than a disease. Support groups are typically seen to have an impact on those who are recovering from drug use, alcoholism, depression, suicide, and even cardiovascular disease.
When you reached adulthood, you most likely recognized the value of sleep.
In a world where we are constantly tired of making a living, sleep can sometimes be very elusive.
Not because of a shortage in time but mostly because sleep is easily exchanged for other activities that do not fit our usual schedule.
Here’s how you can improve your sleep.
Sleep on Time To Lead A Healthier Life
Believe it or not, your body has a strict schedule to follow.
Our physiology depends on our internal body clock or circadian rhythm. Hormones that affect this rhythm are released on a particular schedule.
Take for example melatonin, the hormone released by the pineal gland of the brain which is responsible for regulating the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is released at night as influenced by the time of the day and the amount of light.
An increased activity that involves exposure to blue light such as screen time delays the release of melatonin. This contributes to the development of sleeping problems.
The best thing you can do to sleep on time is to set a target time for sleeping. Within this schedule put away your gadgets, turn off your light, and set the mood of your room for sleeping.
Lead A Healthier Life With 6-8 Hours of Sleep
There had been a long-time debate on how much sleep a person should secure to guarantee good health.
But studies supported the notion that adults need to have six to 8 hours of sleep to reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke. Additionally, those who sleep less increases the likelihood of early death.
What exactly happens to your body when you are sleep deprived?
- You develop skin problems
- You’re prone to getting sick
- Your sexual desire diminishes
- You’re most likely to gain weight
- Your mental faculties are affected
- You have a higher risk for diabetes and cancer
If you already have a pre-existing medical condition, the more you need to secure adequate sleep.
But even if you are as fit as a fiddle, sleep deprivation can critically affect your health.
Follow a strict sleep schedule with at least 6 to 8 hours.
Drink Water Before and After Sleeping
Hydration is a basic requirement of the body. Cells can function well with enough water supply.
When it comes to sleeping, drinking water so close to bedtime should be lessened as it may interrupt your sleep. You may end up waking up to urinate all night long.
However, drinking enough water during the day and hours before sleep ensures a better mood for the next day and aids in your body’s detoxification.
On the other hand, drinking water after waking up is highly recommended. It quickly rehydrates your body, boosts your alertness, strengthens your immune system, and eliminates toxins in the body.
A healthier life constitutes better choices in diet, exercise, social connection, and sleep.
Doing the necessary steps to adopt a healthy lifestyle requires commitment. They may seem difficult to carry out in the beginning, but your initial struggles are proven to be worth it.
Take full control of your health and you are sure to take a hold of your life. Pay attention to what your body needs and correspond accordingly.
Make your decision today. Start small and remain consistent with your goal of living a healthier life.