A healthy lifestyle – this is probably not the first time you have come across this kind of narrative. You can also be sure this will not be the last time you encounter it. The narrative comes across as obvious, but you will be surprised to know that many people actually do not deliberately lead and live a healthy lifestyle. Why is that so? This is because every day seems to come with its own tastes, cuisines, and indulgencies.
It is therefore vital that you take deliberate measures to live healthily. Doing so confers several benefits. For example, studies show that people with healthy habits cut risks of heart failure in their lifetime by half compared to those who do not. A healthy lifestyle also reduces the risks of cancer. Generally, people who live a healthy lifestyle are less likely to die in the next two decades, according to some research studies. So, whether you are just starting a health routine or looking to regain your health, the following are 5 things you can do for a healthy lifestyle.
- Exercise at least three times a week
Exercising at least no less than three times weekly can keep you fit and in good health. Physical activity is moreover vital for preventing stroke and heart disease, indeed, exercise promotes overall cardiovascular health. Most health practitioners recommend at least 150 minutes per week of exercise. This translates to at least one hour, thrice a week. If it happens that you have a busy work schedule, and cannot afford this recommended schedule, then exercise for at least 30 minutes, five days every week can work.
It is indeed difficult to rise off the couch and keep active for some time after a long, mentally and physically engaging day. But you have to draw self-motivation and schedule yourself for enjoyable exercise. This can be anything from rope skipping, dancing to Yoga. From experience, the start is usually difficult, but over time, you start enjoying the whole process. Eventually, you will be missing and looking forward to your exercise drills every day.
- Watch your weight
Heath and general life problems associated with being overweight are well documented. For instance, being overweight increases the risk of cancer, including colon, breast, osteoarthritis (OA), endometrial, diabetes (type 2), eye disease, heart problems, and a host of age-related cataracts, among others. Studies also show that for women, having a lot of abdominal fat confers low bone mineral density. Generally, many health problems are associated with being overweight.
Living a healthy lifestyle, therefore, requires one to watch their weight, and keep it within the recommended range. In practice, this can be very difficult, seeing as it calls for you to give up on some common habits. Nonetheless, having the right weight confers several benefits that should encourage you. A previous review study found that weight loss for those who are overweight is significantly beneficial, and reduced their chances of sugar and heart diseases.
- Eat fruits and vegetables
Healthy living also includes eating fruits and vegetables. These typically have many nutrients, including antioxidants and vitamins. The nutrients give you more energy whereas antioxidants confer their own broad range of health benefits to the human body. They are useful for eye health, skincare and overall enhance your immune system, ensuring that your body is able to fight off diseases, and say healthy.
The nutritional and overall health importance of vegetables is the reason the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the eating of vegetables and fruits regularly. According to WHO, vegetables and fruits should be a regular part of one’s daily diet due to the numerous benefits they confer. For example, they play a key part in reducing the risks of some cancers, including heart disease and stroke. Living a healthy lifestyle, therefore, means eating fruits and vegetables frequently.
- Sleep enough – not too much
Part of living a healthy lifestyle is to get enough sleep. However, what constitutes enough sleep, before you get too much of it? Many health experts put enough sleep to be anywhere between 7 and 8 hours. Sleeping this long helps to boost the body’s immune system, and reduces incidences of diseases and other illnesses, such as diabetes.
For example, a 2015 study of about 3,000 adults found that people sleeping less than 6 night hours were two times more likely to suffer from stroke or heart attack compared to those who slept for between 6 and 8 hours. Depriving oneself of sleep causes their body to secrete high amounts of cortisol and insulin hormones, according to doctors. These two hormones are risk factors of heart disease. Conversely, regularly sleeping for more than 8 hours qualifies as ‘sleeping too much”, and is unhealthy. It notably increases the likelihood of coronary artery disease and diabetes type 2.
- Manage your stress
Healthy living also involves managing your stress levels better. Studies have found that people who are stressed chronically experience large amounts of adrenaline and cortisol hormones. These hormones lead to an increase in blood pressure, which can damage artery walls in the end. Research also links these hormones to high blood sugar and weight gain. Both of these factors are risk factors for diabetes type 2, and heart disease.
Consequently, a healthy lifestyle manages stress. You may not eliminate it, but you can reduce it to less harmful levels through coping strategies such as yoga, meditation, and massage, among others. You should choose among these many strategies for managing stress, the one that suits your daily schedule, and helps you cope better.
The above ways of living can help you to live a healthy and fulfilling life, free of diseases and more active in physical and mental aspects. Implement them progressively as you acclimatize and come to enjoy every bit of consciously making healthy choices. It will take sacrifice and personal discipline, but eventually, the benefits are worth it, including a more fulfilling and long healthy life.