Do you know the 5 most important healthy lifestyle habits which can change your life? There can be very few questions more important to answer then ‘how healthy is your lifestyle?’ Is your lifestyle making you ill? Is the way you live supporting your physical, mental, and emotional health, or are you damaging yourself?
Most of us have totally freedom to decide the type of lifestyle we have and the healthy lifestyle habits we will adopt. Free to live life in the style we choose, eating what we want, doing what we want, and taking care of ourselves the way we want. Will our choices make us healthy or not?
This is surely one of the most important decisions we get to make in our lifetime. Many life-threatening diseases – including heart disease, emphysema, strokes, and certain forms of cancer are all linked to lifestyle factors and can be avoided by adopting healthy lifestyle habits. It is an undeniable fact that poor lifestyle habits play a big part in these illnesses occurring. By embracing a healthy lifestyle the risk of contracting these diseases can be greatly reduced.
A huge problem seems to be that very few of you really know what to do to have a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is far more than eating a healthy nutritious diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes every day. Although both these are important there are other factors that are essential to include. So what are the most important healthy lifestyle habits we need to adopt?
I speak with people every day who truly want to live a healthy lifestyle. Most people want to be healthy and I don’t know anyone who wants to experience chronic illness. That is why health products and advice are a huge market. Yet in our discussions it’s obvious they are totally confused about what a healthy lifestyle consists of. We are living at a time of massive misinformation, and so many people get confused and end up making the wrong choices. This also is demonstrated to me by the huge numbers of people who read a blog post I wrote many years ago aptly named ‘What is a healthy lifestyle?’
Years and years of a bad lifestyle can really take a toll on one’s health. Sadly, many individuals don’t realize the compounding effects of their lifestyle choices until it’s too late. That is why it is important to not only stay educated about your health and wellbeing, but to also take preventative action now, so that you can stay committed and enjoy all of life’s pleasures for a long time to come. Your starting point is to immediately begin putting into place healthy lifestyle habits.
For those of you looking to adopt healthy lifestyle habits there is good news. According to a study led by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health the right healthy lifestyle habits in adulthood may increase women’s life expectancy by 14 years, men gain 12. Researchers also found that women and men who maintained the healthiest lifestyles were 82 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular disease and 65 percent less likely to die from cancer when compared with those with the least healthy lifestyles over the course of the roughly 30-year study period.
More good news is that there are five habits you need to adopt.
THE FIVE ESSENTIAL HEALTHY LIFESTYLE HABITS
1. EATING A HEALTHY DIET
The right diet will keep your body healthy, give you energy, and boost your spirits. Healthy food can be delicious, and its fun learning new recipes and healthy combinations. Eating a healthy diet means eating no processed foods, reducing sugar, fat and salt. Eat mainly fruit and vegetables, and other plant based foods, and a small amount of lean protein. For example, eating a chicken breast, salad, fresh vegetables lightly steamed and an apple. Vegetables are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and disease-fighting phytochemicals. The nutrients in vegetables can reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, slow bone loss and decrease the risk of fractures, keep your skin healthy as you age, maintain blood pressure control, and keep you feeling full, so lots of benefits from adopting this as one of your healthy lifestyle habits.
2. EXERCISING REGULARLY
On average, people spend anywhere from 7.7 to 15 hours a day, every day just sitting. Sitting for long periods of time can cause several health issues, including obesity and metabolic syndrome and many others. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution: Walk more! That’s a great start for anyone living a very sedentary lifestyle, but in truth you need to do more. You need to engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity most days of the week, including activities that strengthen muscles and bones on at least 3 days of the week. Strength training exercises are great for your health.
3. KEEPING A HEALTHY BODY WEIGHT
Maintaining a healthy body weight can protect you from a variety of illnesses. By assessing your body’s healthy weight and maintaining it as much as possible, you will be armed with an additional tool to stay in shape… and live longer! The secret to maintaining a healthy weight is to balance “energy in” and “energy out.” Energy in means the calories you get from the food and beverages you consume. Energy out means the calories you burn for basic body functions and during physical activity. Check your weight once a week. Then you’ll know whether you are balancing the calories in and calories out or whether you need to be more active. Adopting habit one and two will contribute to you achieving this habit.
4. NOT DRINKING TOO MUCH ALCOHOL
The short and long-term effects of alcohol can affect your body, lifestyle and mental health. Armed with the facts you can make an informed choice about your drinking. Consume no more than one alcoholic drink a day for women, no more than two drinks for men. Moderate alcohol intake (for example, up to about one 5-ounce glass of wine per day for women, or up to two glasses for men. The newest advice says men and women who drink regularly should consume no more than 14 units a week – equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine. It also says if people drink, it should be moderately over three or more days and that some days should be alcohol-free.
5. NOT SMOKING
Every cigarette you smoke is harmful. Smoking is the biggest cause of preventable deaths in England, accounting for nearly 80,000 deaths each year. One in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. Quit smoking to live longer. Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Being smoke-free not only adds years to your life, but also greatly improves your chances of a disease-free, mobile, happier old age.
Let me add one more
Get a good night’s sleep
A little extra sleep can drastically improve your health. Not only will it cure your under-eye circles and boost your energy, but it can improve your memory and quality of life, curb inflammation, sharpen your attention, help you maintain a healthy weight, and lower your stress.
The average adult needs between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night.
Here is a simple truth for you to absorb. A 50 year old woman who drinks, smokes, is overweight, does not exercise regularly, and has a poor diet overall will die 14 years earlier than someone with none of those risk factors (and for men it is 12.2 years).
So let’s recap.
People who stick to these five healthy habits in adulthood can add more than a decade to their lives, these habits are:
- not smoking
- maintaining a healthy weight
- doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day
- eating a healthy diet high in fruit, vegetables and whole grains, and low in red meat, saturated fats and sugar
- not drinking too much alcohol – current UK guidance recommends no more than 14 units a week for men and women
Remember above all, making lifestyle changes takes making a commitment. You can be as educated on healthy lifestyle habits as you’d like, but unless you make a lifelong commitment to remaining healthy, you won’t be able to accomplish your goals and reach your optimal health.
So if you want to add more than a decade to your life stick to these five healthy habits. I encourage you to use these recommendations for the next 90 days. They can really massively improve your health, help you lose weight and just make you feel much better on a regular basis. They may also stick with you for the rest of your life.
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