When you think of a healthy lifestyle, what you eat and how you maintain your body are extremely important. But that is only the beginning. A healthy lifestyle is more than that. Do you have too much stress? Do you feel lonely? Are you fulfilled? Do you smoke? Overcoming some of these life-stalling obstacles can extend your life for many years, studies show. Making changes in diet, exercise and managing stress – and getting enough sleep – can take you on the path toward good health, living longer, and a happier life.
Let’s look at some of the ways that can enhance your life and make it more enjoyable.
What You Eat and Drink
All humans have to eat food for a healthy body. Most food consumption should be fruits, vegetables, and whole grains or fat free or low fat milk products. And if you want to control your weight or reduce the risk of heart disease or being overweight or obese, choose lean poultry, fish, beans, and foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt and added sugars. When you eat, eat slowly and chew your food or finish your plate.
Drink plenty of water
Water, as a carrier of nutrients, makes up two thirds of the body, and also helps regulate the body temperature and improves your energy levels. Most people don’t drink enough water and carry oxygen and nutrients through the body. There is disagreement over how much water you should drink. While you may have heard you should drink 8 eight-ounce glasses of water each day, what’s right for you often is based on an individual.
Avoid Tobacco Use
By many accounts, quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your health, and it is never too late to quit and improve your lungs and thwart the possibility of lung cancer or COPD.
Tobacco use is the most important preventative and cause of death in the U.S., according to the National Cancer Institute. Tobacco use was estimated to cause 443,000 deaths in 2011. It takes about 15 years of nonsmoking behavior to achieve a normal risk level for heart disease who do not smoke. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that women who quite smoking by 35 add roughly six to eight years to their lives.
Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Too much drinking – excess and chronic alcohol consumption — is the major cause of liver cirrhosis in the U.S., which can cause a host of problems: from mental confusion, coma, and kidney failure to internal hemorrhaging. Taking the first step to recovery is to recognize there is a problem, and then makes a commitment to address it as alcoholism.
Physical activity and exercise contributes greatly to a healthy lifestyle
Walk regularly, that’s a first step in getting the physical exercise you need, and which has many benefits for the brain and body. You don’t have to run; even low-impact walking – 30 minutes – results in reduced risk of chronic disease. A 30-minut walk can reduce cardiac risks. Higher-intensity exercises can add years to your life, studies show. Resistance exercise helps strengthen the body and maintains muscles.
Meditate and Breathe Deeply
Meditation is soothing and is a great technique to calm the mind. Breathing deeply is the key. Oxygen is vital for life yet most of us don’t breathe property. That’s because we take shallow breaths and breathe to 1/3 of our lung capacity. A full breath is when the lungs are completely filled, and the abdomen expands with minimal movement of the shoulders.
Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Nearly 30 percent of adults report using complementary and alternative medicine. Physicians are embracing them too, combining them with mainstream therapies, integrative medicine, according to the Mayo Clinic. Such alternative medicine includes dietary supplements and herbal remedies, with treatments found in nature. The therapy also can focus mind and body practices, such as chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation and massage, with the goal of unblocking or re-balancing your energy force.
As part of that, nutritional supplements or multivitamins may help provide you with more energy and help you feel better, because many people do not enough fruits and vegetables, and may be short on nutrients. Supplements may replenish nutrients that we may make.
Spend time talking and enjoying others, explore your connections with family and friends. Social or spiritual groups also can be life enriching. You may be at a greater risk of disease by being lonely or without a strong network of friends, studies show. Practice random acts of kindness, by making a quick call or reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, but care about. Show consideration on the road, or open a door for someone, and give a seat in a crowded restaurant.
Shut off the computer
Shut off your computer or turn off the TV before you usually would. Take in the silence. A study showed that people who watched four or more hours a day of TV were 46% were more likely to die from any cause than people who watched less than two hours a day.
Exercise Your Mind
Do mind exercises and read, do a puzzle occasionally, or play an instrument, and learn a new craft, something you may not have been used to, in your free time. Enjoy a hobby or sport that you’ve never done before. Or something you are going back to: feel free and relaxed.
Get enough sleep to recharge yourself both mentally and physically. The optimal amount of eight hours of sleep a night has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic disease and improve longevity.