The Benefits of Healthy Habits
The impact of good health
You know that healthy habits, such as eating well, exercising, and avoiding harmful substances, make sense, but did you ever stop to think about why you practice them? A healthy habit is any behavior that benefits your physical, mental, and emotional health. These habits improve your overall well-being and make you feel good.
Healthy habits are hard to develop and often require changing your mindset. But if you’re willing to make sacrifices to better your health, the impact can be far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability.
Here are five benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
Eating right and exercising regularly can help you avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, being physically active is essential to reaching your weight-loss goals. Even if you’re not trying to lose weight, regular exercise can improve cardiovascular health, boost your immune system, and increase your energy level. Plan for at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity every week. If you can’t devote this amount of time to exercise, look for simple ways to increase activity throughout the day. For example, try walking instead of driving, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or pace while you’re talking on the phone.
Eating a balanced, calorie-managed diet can also help control weight. When you start the day with a healthy breakfast, you avoid becoming overly hungry later, which could send you running to get fast food before lunch. Additionally, skipping breakfast can raise your blood sugar, which increases fat storage. Incorporate at least five servings of fruits and vegetables into your diet per day. These foods, which are low in calories and high in nutrients, help with weight control. Limit consumption of sugary beverages, such as sodas and fruit juices, and choose lean meats like fish and turkey.
Doing right by your body pays off for your mind as well. The Mayo Clinic notes that physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins. Endorphins are brain chemicals that leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. Eating a healthy diet as well as exercising can lead to a better physique. You’ll feel better about your appearance, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Short-term benefits of exercise include decreased stress and improved cognitive function.
It’s not just diet and exercise that lead to improved mood. Another healthy habit that leads to better mental health is making social connections. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a club, or attending a movie, communal activities help improve mood and mental functioning by keeping the mind active and serotonin levels balanced. Don’t isolate yourself. Spend time with family or friends on a regular basis, if not every day. If there’s physical distance between you and loved ones, use technology to stay connected. Pick up the phone or start a video chat.
Healthy habits help prevent certain health conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. If you take care of yourself, you can keep your cholesterol and blood pressure within a safe range. This keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Regular physical activity and proper diet can also prevent or help you manage a wide range of health problems, including:
- metabolic syndrome
- certain types of cancer
Make sure you schedule a physical exam every year. Your doctor will check your weight, heartbeat, and blood pressure, as well as take a urine and blood sample. This appointment can reveal a lot about your health. It’s important to follow up with your doctor and listen to any recommendations to improve your health.
We’ve all experienced a lethargic feeling after eating too much unhealthy food. When you eat a balanced diet your body receives the fuel it needs to manage your energy level. A healthy diet includes:
- whole grains
- lean meats
- low-fat dairy products
Regular physical exercise also improves muscle strength and boosts endurance, giving you more energy, says the Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and gets your cardiovascular system working more efficiently so that you have more energy to go about your daily activities. It also helps boost energy by promoting better sleep. This helps you fall asleep faster and get deeper sleep.
Insufficient sleep can trigger a variety of problems. Aside from feeling tired and sluggish, you may also feel irritable and moody if you don’t get enough sleep. What’s more, poor sleep quality may be responsible for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, and it can also lower your life expectancy. To improve sleep quality, stick to a schedule where you wake up and go to bed at the same time every night. Reduce your caffeine intake, limit napping, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Turn off lights and the television, and maintain a cool room temperature.
When you practice healthy habits, you boost your chances of a longer life. The American Council on Exercise reported on an eight-year study of 13,000 people. The study showed that those who walked just 30 minutes each day significantly reduced their chances of dying prematurely, compared with those who exercised infrequently. Looking forward to more time with loved ones is reason enough to keep walking. Start with short five-minute walks and gradually increase the time until you’re up to 30 minutes
The Benefits of a Healthy Living Lifestyle
Living a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge when you are faced with processed foods, lack of time for exercise and going out with friends. Too many options are available for fast food, poor exercise choices and alcoholic beverages that negate other healthier lifestyle choices you may have made. There are significant benefits to improving the way in which you live so you can have a healthier and longer life.
There are several physical and mental benefits associated with living a healthy lifestyle. With most individuals (adults and children alike) living a fast-paced, hectic and under-nourished lifestyle, it is no wonder that visits to the doctor, missed work and work-related injuries have increased at such an alarming rate.
Simply put, the human body is a machine that requires physical activity on a regular basis, appropriate nutrition and mental rest and relaxation in order to exist at its optimum level. Just as a vehicle is designed to be driven at a high level of frequency, the human body requires that the cardiovascular system and the various muscle groups be exercised. By doing so, the organs are stimulated, the soft tissue of the body is flooded with blood and oxygen, and toxins are eliminated.
Regularly consuming a well-balanced, nutritious, and whole foods diet ensures that the body receives the nutrients that it requires to perform the various bodily functions necessary to sustain life. In addition, the immune system is strengthened, allowing the body to ward off many common debilitating diseases as well.
There are countless benefits associated with living a healthy lifestyle. Several of the more apparent benefits are as follows:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes
- Reduction in probability of virtually all diseases
- Increase the length of one’s life
- Improve joint stability, flexibility and strength
- Increase overall strength and stamina
- Increase and improve range of movement
- Help maintain flexibility, balance and coordination as you age
- Maintain bone density
- Prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures
- Improve sense of wellness and mood
- Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
- Improve self-esteem
- Improved self-confidence
- Improve sharpness and clarity of mind
- Improve memory in elderly people
- Reduce stress
Statistics to Consider
As listed above, there are several benefits associated with living a healthy lifestyle. By simply achieving a proper weight level, an overweight person can cut their risk of heart disease by up to 25%, reduce their risk of a heart attack by 29%, reduce their risk of diabetes by up to 64%, reduce their risk of having high cholesterol by 33%, reduce their risk of dying from any cause by 16%, reduce their risk of asthma by 30%, reduce their risk of stomach cancer by 10%, reduce their risk of gallstones by 60%, cut their risk of osteoarthritis by 12%, reduce their risk of esophageal cancer by 55%, and cut their risk of having high blood pressure by 44%.
In obese people, living healthy will reduce these risks by an even greater percentage. For example, in an obese person, becoming fit can cut their risk of heart disease by up to 77%, reduce their risk of a heart attack by 48%, reduce their risk of diabetes by up to 88%, reduce their risk of having high cholesterol by 29%, reduce their risk of dying from any cause by 33%, reduce their risk of stomach cancer by 63%, reduce their risk of gallstones by 60%, reduce their risk of esophageal cancer by 68%, reduce their risk of asthma by 39%, reduce cut their risk of osteoarthritis by 25%, and cut their risk of having high blood pressure by 66%.
One of the long-term benefits of living a healthier lifestyle is the prevention of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. According to MayoClinic, these changes can be difficult. Even though you may understand the relationship between eating specific foods and your risk for heart disease, it can be difficult to undo years of unhealthy eating habits. However, the benefit is the prevention of arthritis, osteoporosis, stroke, diabetes and other immune-mediated illnesses that are affected by the dietary and lifestyle choices we make every day.
Living healthy improves not only the physical wellness of an individual, but mental wellness as well. Individuals that live a fit and healthy lifestyle tend to feel more comfortable with themselves and how others view them.
With today’s hectic lifestyles, many individuals become so busy with everything that is going on in their lives that they forget to pay attention to their own personal health. The truth of the matter is that if an individual will simply devote a small portion of time to their personal fitness, health and nutritional requirements, they will actually increase their level of focus and productivity, and have more time and energy to devote to friends, family, work, and virtually every other aspect of their lives.
When you live a life filled with good health and fitness, you tend to feel more in control of your life. Since an individual that embraces a healthier lifestyle tends to feel better about herself, she tends to be more open to trying new activities.Healthier individuals tend to perform better at work and obtain more enjoyment from the activities in which they already participate. When a healthy individual feels more in control of their life, they typically accomplish more and have a higher level of productivity.
By being fit, an individual will be more willing to participate in activities that he or she may have otherwise chosen to avoid. Since participating in physical activities tends to increase an individual’s overall strength and stamina, the individual is more confident and tends to be more willing to participate in activities that require some level of physical fitness, from sports to volunteer work.
This increase in strength and stamina also improves the individual’s self-esteem. Strength training is beneficial for increasing or maintaining lean muscle mass, and also reduces the effects of osteoporosis as an individual ages. For additional information related to strength training, please see our section entitled Weight Training.
By embracing a lifestyle filled with good health and fitness, the risk of contracting several diseases can be greatly reduced. Typical diseases that healthy individuals reduce the risk of contracting include diabetes, heart disease, several types of cancer, asthma and osteoporosis.
In addition, a healthy lifestyle also promotes lower blood pressure, reduces the likelihood of injuries and falls, and improves mental health and a sense of well-being. It is also beneficial in overcoming insomnia. In fact, even the length of one’s life can be increased by adhering to a healthy and fit lifestyle.Living a healthy lifestyle is beneficial in many ways. In fact, an individual who is healthy tends to feel more confident, and may feel more in control of their life.
In addition, the strength and stamina of that individual will increase, allowing them to participate in new activities. Living a lifestyle that is conducive to good health, fitness and mental well-being can reduce the probability of contracting numerous diseases and ailments and extend the length of one’s life as well.