The benefits of healthy habits
Everyone knows from childhood that healthy habits like eating healthy foods and exercising are good. But have you ever wondered exactly why you should practice these habits? Healthy habits are any behavior that benefits your physical, mental and emotional health. That is, they improve your overall health.
Healthy habits are hard to learn, and they often require a change in mindset. But if you're willing to make sacrifices to improve your health, you'll enjoy the results for years to come, regardless of your gender, age or physical ability. Here are five benefits of a healthy lifestyle:
- Weight Control. Eating right and exercising regularly will help you avoid gaining too much weight.
- Improved mood. Physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that make people feel happier and calmer. Consequently, you will begin to feel better about your appearance, which can increase your self-confidence. There are also short-term benefits of exercise, such as improved cognitive function and reduced stress.
- Disease Prevention. Regular exercise helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system and the immune system. In this way, you will be able to prevent many diseases. But remember the importance of consulting your doctor beforehand.
- Increased energy. We all feel sluggish after eating too much junk food. On the contrary, when we stick to a balanced diet, our body gets the fuel it needs to perform daily tasks. And regular physical activity promotes the timely delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, improves muscle strength and increases endurance, giving a person more energy.
- Life Extension. When you practice healthy habits, you increase your chances of living longer. In the United States, a study was conducted for eight years, involving 13,000 people. The study found that people who walked just 30 minutes a day significantly reduced their chances of dying prematurely compared to those who walked infrequently [The American Council on Exercise, 2009]. What about more serious physical activity?
The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are obvious, but it's not easy to get started. You won't change your mindset and behavior overnight, so be patient and incorporate healthy habits into your life gradually.
Ways to stay healthy every day
The best way to stay healthy is to maintain it every day with a healthy lifestyle, rather than waiting for illness or malaise to force you to deal with serious problems.
Of course, it is impossible to protect oneself 100% from diseases. Nevertheless, a person should do everything possible to develop resilience and prepare the body and mind to deal with illnesses as they arise.
There are many different ways to maintain your health. Below are 8 of the most important and simple things you can do every day to live a happy, healthy life.
Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
Food is the fuel that keeps your body in balance. At the same time, food can also be a poison that slowly destroys you. It depends not only on what you eat, but also on how much and how often you eat.
There is a common misconception that fruits and vegetables are the only components of a healthy diet. No doubt they are very important, but they are not the only healthy foods. In fact, a healthy diet is about balancing key food groups that also include proteins, fats and carbohydrates.
The principles of a balanced diet:
- Eat a variety of foods rich in nutrients. The body needs more than 40 different nutrients. Your daily food choices should include good carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats (nuts, fish, olives, avocados, etc.).
- Eat moderate portions. If you keep your portion size in moderation, it will be easier for you not to give up your favorite foods and stick to a healthy and balanced diet.
- Don't skip meals. Skipping breakfast or lunch can lead to uncontrollable hunger and often leads to overeating later. In addition, skipping breakfast can raise blood sugar levels, which increases your body's fat storage. Snacking between regular meals can save you in the face of catastrophic time constraints, but you should have at least two balanced meals a day.
- Do not exclude certain foods from your diet. Because our bodies need a variety of foods, it is a bad idea to eliminate all salt, fat and sugar from your diet unless prescribed by your doctor. Choosing healthier options, such as nonfat dairy products, can help you maintain a balanced diet.
While maintaining a balanced diet, it is also important to avoid improperly processed foods. There is a good reason why they are called junk food. Fast food, for example, fills your body with unhealthy toxins and excess fats. So instead of a slice of pizza and a Coke, opt for a casserole and fresh juice.
Keeping active is another great way to keep yourself healthy. Physical activity helps not only your body, but also your mind and has many benefits.
Experts recommend doing at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. To exercise regularly, choose activities that you really enjoy. This can be yoga, running, swimming, etc. Examples of moderate-intensity activities:
- brisk walking
- water aerobics
- quiet cycling
If you can't make that much time to exercise, look for simple ways to increase your activity during the day. For example, try walking instead of taking private or public transportation, walking up the stairs instead of using the elevator, or walking around the apartment when you are on the phone. It is important to try to be active during the day.
Being healthy is not just about a strong and healthy body. As we noted earlier, being healthy also includes taking care of your mind. Studies have shown that stress and depression can actually manifest as physical illness. One way it can manifest is through a decrease in immunity.
There are many ways to deal with stress:
- Exercise. Physical exercise promotes the release of "happy hormones" - endorphins.
- Mental self-regulation. With the help of simple methods of mental self-regulation a person is able to manage stress. For example, appropriate affirmations can help you program your consciousness that you can easily cope with any problems.
- Meditations. Relaxation practices can also help to calm the mind - meditate in any way that suits you. Even a massage or a relaxing bath can help.
- Professional help. Sometimes it takes a little more willpower to deal with mental problems. So consider seeing a psychologist if you find it difficult to deal with your depressed state on your own.
Keep both body and mind in tone. Only then can you talk about full health.
Improve the quality of your sleep
For the most part, taking care of your body is your job. However, there are several functions that your body performs on its own. One of them is sleep. This autonomous state allows the body to rest and recover. Your job is not to interfere with your body. Just watch the quality and quantity of your sleep.
According to the non-profit charity Sleep Foundation, teenagers need 8-10 hours of sleep, adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need 7-9 hours of sleep, and people over 65 need at least 7-8 hours [Sleep Foundation, 2020].
Sleep quality, on the other hand, depends on many factors-the ability to fall asleep quickly, maintain deep sleep, and external influences.
You can improve the quality of your sleep in the following ways:
- Avoid coffee, energy drinks, or other brain stimulants in the afternoon
- Make sure your sleeping place is as quiet and comfortable as possible
- Do not expose yourself to bright light before going to bed, it disrupts the production of the sleep hormone melatonin.
The above actions will allow you to sleep better and recover effectively.
Maintain social relationships
Another unique but very effective way to stay healthy is through social interactions.
Socializing with people and romantic relationships helps mental health in the same way that exercise does. In addition to endorphins, spending time with loved ones increases adrenaline and oxytocin levels in the body. These biochemicals help improve mood and overall health.
Make any social connections: volunteering, joining a hobby club, or attending social events will boost your mood and your psyche will function normally. Don't isolate yourself. It really does work.
Keep your brain toned.
The brain, like a muscle, needs constant exercise to stay toned. The central nervous system controls every process in the body, from digestion and assimilation of food, to movement and even breathing. The brain is at the heart of this complex system and therefore needs care.
Training the brain also helps develop cognitive functions. This means improving alertness, concentration, memory and even the ability to solve problems.
One way to keep your brain healthy is to give it its favorite foods. These include healthy fats such as omega-3's, vitamins, minerals and, of course, water. You can also keep your brain healthy by challenging it. Read a book, do a puzzle or something else - any activity can keep your brain healthy. The main thing is that it must be systematic.
Drink enough water
Water is literally the source of life. It has many benefits when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. One of them is the fact that water helps cleanse the body not only from the outside, but also from the inside. And a cleansed body can show maximum performance.
Experts still argue about the rate of water consumption per day, so often the recommended eight glasses of water per day (2 liters) is not a panacea for everyone. Different people have different needs. Still, you should drink at least 2 liters, otherwise your body will experience dehydration.
Have regular medical check-ups
Don't forget about regular medical check-ups. It doesn't matter if you're 20, 40 or 70. Examinations allow you to detect and promptly deal with diseases in their early stages. Cancer and various infections are much more difficult to treat if they are discovered too late. So schedule regular doctor's visits to make sure you are healthy.
Maintaining your health on a daily basis is not difficult at all. However, the main objection of many people to good health is a lack of time. If you too think that the current pace of life does not allow you to make time for healthy habits, we recommend that you take our online program "Time Management", where in just 5 weeks of training you will learn the most effective techniques for allocating your time.