A healthy lifestyle is a person’s behavior and habits that help him maintain and improve his health. Taking care of physical and mental health, a person is able to prevent various diseases, better cope with problems, stress, and enjoy life. Leading a healthy lifestyle is critical for everyone as it ensures wellness and longevity. Find out how these choices will affect your life.
Why is it important to live a healthy lifestyle?
Many state and public organizations actively promote a healthy lifestyle, noting and proving its benefits based on the study of critical health indicators, including weight, glucose, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure.
People who lead healthy lifestyles are much less at risk of developing diseases and less likely to die prematurely from cancer or cardiovascular disease than people with bad habits.
A 2012 analysis of 15 international studies involving more than 500,000 participants found that more than half of human premature deaths were caused by unhealthy lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. In order to protect the body from the influence of negative factors, it is necessary to study the elements of a healthy lifestyle that lead to good health and longevity.
What does a healthy lifestyle consist of?
A healthy lifestyle includes a person’s physical health and emotional (or mental) health that function well together. As the saying goes: “There is a healthy mind in a healthy body.” The main components of a healthy lifestyle include:
- No bad habits. Getting rid of bad habits is the first and most important thing that a person can do for his health and increase his life expectancy. For example, smoking is very harmful to your health, increasing your risk of lung, kidney, esophageal, and other cancers. According to the National Cancer Institute in the United States, tobacco smoking is the most common cause of premature death. It takes about 15 years without smoking to reach a “normal” level of risk of heart disease in smokers. Therefore, it is better to quit smoking right now and avoid secondhand smoke.
- Proper nutrition. Eating a healthy diet is another important part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating well involves consuming healthy foods (unprocessed foods, fiber, nuts, whole grains, unsaturated and omega-3 fatty acids, low-fat dairy products) and limiting the amount of fat, salt, and sugar consumed. The main part of the diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, as fruits contain many vitamins and minerals. Consuming healthy food strengthens the immune system, reduces the risk of many diseases, and helps in the treatment of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular system, and diabetes.
- Physical activity. Exercise is a major contributor to a healthy lifestyle, as movement is the key to a successful life. Exercising for 30 minutes daily not only improves body shape but also helps prevent coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and musculoskeletal diseases by building muscle and increasing bone strength. Exercise also stimulates the production of happiness hormones “endorphins”, which relieves stress, reduces symptoms of anxiety, depression, improves self-esteem, and improves mood and overall mental health.
- Weight control. The correct weight for each person depends on factors such as gender, height, age, and genes. Healthy body mass, defined as normal body mass index (BMI), should be between 18.5 and 24.9. Being overweight increases your risk for a wide range of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that a 5-10% reduction in total body weight can help normalize cholesterol, blood sugar, and lower blood pressure. Regular exercise can help control weight gain and obese people lose weight.
- Stress management. The way a person feels physically has a big impact on his state of mind. Likewise, stress decreases physical health and energy levels. Therefore, it is important to relax after emotional stress in an effective way (exercise, sleep, walk) to prevent depression and anxiety. Research has shown that people who take time to relax are more resilient to stressful situations.
- Rest, healthy sleep. To maintain efficiency and productivity, the body needs adequate rest and healthy sleep. Lack of sleep and chronic fatigue can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. Prolonged sleep deprivation reduces immunity and the body’s ability to resist colds and flu. A person needs 7-9 hours to get adequate sleep. Physical activity also contributes to healthy sleep. Just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise (walking, cycling, walking in the fresh air) significantly improves sleep quality.
Scientists have found that one component of a healthy lifestyle already increases the life expectancy of people by 2 years. Therefore, the more healthy habits people have, the longer they live.
Where to begin?
Many factors affect health. Some of them are beyond your control, including genetics or age. But you can make lifestyle changes to improve your health and extend your life. Start with the following steps:
- Evaluate the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. For motivation, imagine the desired outcome of a healthy lifestyle, including an improvement in appearance, inner state. These positive changes should get you on the right track.
- Make an action plan. Consistency is critical in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, so it is necessary to build a model of behavior over a long period. For example, create a daily routine and try to stick to it all the time.
- Get rid of anything that negatively affects your physical and mental well-being. Quitting bad habits is difficult, as many of them are addictive. But if you don’t, your efforts and successes in other areas of healthy eating may be in vain.
- Change your bad habits to good ones. Beneficial actions, as well as harmful ones, with regular repetition, also become a habit. If you accustom your body to the right food, you are unlikely to have the desire to eat in fast food, knowing all the disadvantages of this food.
It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle. But the more you experience it, the greater the effect. Therefore, start right now, so that later you will not regret not having done this earlier.
A healthy lifestyle includes a whole range of actions that are individual for each person. The number of actions required to maintain a healthy lifestyle varies depending on the characteristics of the lifestyle (presence of bad habits, occupation, amount of free time). But based on the main components of a healthy lifestyle, there are basic tips:
- Eat healthy foods. Eat healthy foods. The World Health Organization recommends consuming fruits and vegetables as a regular part of the diet to reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. They are high in nutrients (vitamins, minerals, antioxidants) to help strengthen the immune system and fight disease-causing toxins. For a healthy diet, reduce your intake of sugar, salt, increase your protein intake, switch from saturated to unsaturated fats, and opt for complex carbohydrates over simple ones.
- Drink water. The human body is 55-78% water. The natural liquid has moisturizing, nourishing, and well-being properties. Water removes toxins from the body, improves brain function, supplies muscles, controls weight gain, and balances temperature. A person is recommended to drink at least 1.5 liters of water per day.
- Be physically active. Physical activity is good for everyone. You can start training at any age with the help of different types of exercises (walking, running, swimming, dancing, aerobics, yoga). The American Heart Association recommends exercising at least 2.5 hours per week.
- Avoid excessive sun exposure. Avoid sun exposure by using hats, skin protective sunscreens. By protecting your face and body from sun exposure, you can prevent melanoma and other types of skin cancer, as well as preserve youthfulness by preventing wrinkles.
- Get pleasant emotions. Mental health is the basis of the general condition of the body and a prerequisite for enjoying life. Find sources of good emotions, inspiration, and refer to them regularly. Recognition of one’s own achievements, doing what you love, communicating with loved ones, walking with pets, etc., have a beneficial effect on the state of mind.
- Do not overdo it. Create a routine for yourself in which you will be comfortable living a healthy lifestyle for your whole life. Do not overdo it with physical activity and dietary restrictions. You shouldn’t feel a lot of psychological pressure. A healthy lifestyle should be fun, but with discipline.
These tips will help you avoid health problems and significantly improve your body condition. There are other useful tips for a healthy lifestyle that eliminate risky forms of human behavior. These are safe driving of vehicles, avoidance of nightlife, an excessive hobby for computer games, social networks, the use of warm clothes in the cold season, and other rules based on specific characteristics of the lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is a way to change life for the better, available to everyone. This is the long-term, but the most effective process that helps a person to improve physical, mental health and maintains youth. Change to a healthy lifestyle to live a long and happy life.
A healthy lifestyle during the coronavirus pandemic
What is a healthy lifestyle during the coronavirus pandemic? This is a healthy diet, an adequate level of physical activity, adherence to sleep and daily routine, plus personal hygiene and avoiding addictions (tobacco, alcohol, and so on). Compliance with these five rules is just the guarantee that the body will be in a sufficiently strong form. Then any problems will be easier to bear. It is an absolutely scientifically proven fact that people who already have the burden of disease are more often and more severely ill. To make it easier for anyone to transfer this infection, it is important to keep your body in good shape. It would seem that these eternal truths are known to everyone, but they are very difficult to observe.
To date, the connection between smoking and 25 diseases has been proven, and first of all, the respiratory organs, heart, and blood vessels are affected, which on average shortens life expectancy by ten years. There are 7000 components in tobacco smoke, they cause both toxic damage and oncological diseases. All this worsens the state of health. Moreover, all doctors know: if a person smokes for tens of years, sooner or later he will definitely smoke up to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. With this disease, the lungs lose their elasticity, which makes it difficult to breathe, it becomes difficult to inhale and exhale.
What does a person need for life? Food, water, and oxygen, therefore, people who smoke are exposed to additional exposure during coronavirus, since one of the main complications is severe pneumonia. You don’t need to be a doctor to understand that if the lungs are healthy, pneumonia is easier to carry. In smokers, covid-19 progresses to severe forms 14 times more often.