You must have heard people often saying “health is wealth” and that we should live by it. This is true as without good health, life can go downhill pretty quickly. Thus, we must understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
Even the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasises that a healthy lifestyle is a “way of living that lowers the risk of being seriously ill or dying early.” But what does one need to do to live healthily? Should they adopt good eating habits, exercise daily or just maintain a positive attitude? While there are several tips to follow, it can be extremely difficult to pick some of the best ones.
So, we bring you a few key points that will help you not only maintain a healthy lifestyle but also make you understand its importance better.
Meaning of ‘healthy lifestyle’ and its significance
According to Healthline, “A healthy lifestyle simply means doing things that make you happy and feel good.” However, it also states that the meaning of ‘healthy lifestyle’ can differ from person-to-person. While for someone, it can be minimal consumption of fast foods, others might relate to regularly exercising, running marathons and following Keto diets, to name a few.
Benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Many among us already follow a healthy lifestyle which has probably become our life’s motto. It not only helps us remain fit but also reduces the risk of diseases. Moreover, a fitter self not just boosts confidence and self-esteem but also inner strength.
However, being only physically fit is not all that encapsulates healthy living. So, one must aim to attain a balanced physical and mental state by making positive changes that benefit the mind, body, as well as planet. Here are some benefits of living a healthy life:
- According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), eating healthy has several benefits. These include living longer lives, having healthy skin, teeth, eyes and bones, and high immunity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will make one follow good eating habits like avoiding diets that are high in fats, free sugars and salt.
- Excluding or limiting highly processed food from your diet is a great habit to adopt. It does not just help you get fitter but also aids in reducing factors adversely impacting the environment as these ultra-processed foods contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
- A healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of diseases. A study published in BMJ reveals that every 66-gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake is associated with a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
- When it comes to doing exercises, a 2020 study, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, reports that researchers conducted a harmonised meta-analysis of 44,370 adults. Those who got 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) each day had a lower risk of death compared to those who only got a 2 min MVPA. This comparison stands true even if people had a low sedentary time (i.e., <8.5 hours per day).
- It improves mental health and makes one naturally more energetic. Additionally, it boosts one’s mood.
- It saves money. A healthy lifestyle means a healthy body and mind, which also means fewer doctor visits and prescription drugs.
- It increases life expectancy. A study published in AHA/ASA Journals reports that “increased exercise, not smoking or a reduced amount of smoking, a healthy dietary pattern, moderate alcohol intake, and optimal body weight” are all associated with a longer life span.
How to maintain a healthy lifestyle?
- A healthy diet: This is the first step to ensuring a sufficient intake of nutrition. WHO states that “eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially produced trans-fats are essential for a healthy diet.”
- Proper sleeping schedule: One of the most important tips to follow for a healthy lifestyle is to stick to a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. This helps maintain the body clock. According to the US Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, most adults need at least seven hours of good-quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.
- Yoga and meditation: Having a regular exercise routine is always beneficial. Moreover, yoga and meditation together help reinforce the connection between the mind and body. They also aid in regulating hormones and lower blood pressure.
- Don’t neglect your mental health: Mental health is part of your overall well-being and should not be ignored. Talkspace therapist Bisma Anwar, a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), says, “Our mental health is something that impacts our eating and sleeping habits and has a lot to do with our physical health as well. It is important to address our mental health needs, or oftentimes we will feel the impact of it in other areas of our health as well.”
- A good work-life balance: A healthy work-life — one that lets you adjust your daily activities to achieve a sense of balance between your work and personal life — is central to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Self-love: Daily care of your physical and mental needs and managing stress in a positive way instead of indulging in activities like smoking and drinking can be one of the best ways to practise self-love.
Thus, while we are busy managing various aspects of our lives, it is essential to look after ourselves as well. For this, having a healthy lifestyle is of paramount importance. So, we must ensure consuming a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and maintain work-life balance, among various other things.
(Main image: Courtesy Jared Rice/Unsplash; Featured image: Courtesy No Revisions/Unsplash)
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Answer: A Johns Hopkins-led study points out four ways to follow healthy living for a long time: 1. Avoid smoking. 2. Maintain weight. 3. Get up and move. 4. Make healthy food choices.
Answer: Ken Immer, president of Culinary Health Solutions, US, suggests one to "keep a 'safety box' of some filling foods in your car, at your desk or at another location where you can often feel trapped without any good choices. The box can contain foods like beef jerky, nuts, nut butter, apples or high-fibre bars. The key is to have single-serving amounts that you can grab as needed," reveals 'SparkPeople'. Meanwhile, National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM)-certified personal trainer Allan Misner says, "Over the course of a work shift, you could get a full-body workout, 20 seconds at a time."
Answer: A few healthy snacks to munch on are sunflower seeds, soft baked almond flour peanut butter, chocolate chip bars, pumpkin seeds, plain oatmeal packets, and dried fruits and nuts.