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Healthy Lifestyle Benefits: 5 Tips for Living Your Strongest, Healthiest Life Yet

When you’re not at your healthiest, you can probably tell. You may simply feel “off.” You may find that you feel tired, your digestive system isn’t functioning as well as it normally does, and you seem to catch colds. Mentally, you may find you can’t concentrate and feel anxious or depressed.

The good news: a healthy lifestyle can help you feel better. Even better, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. It’s pretty easy to make a couple of small changes that can steer you in the direction of improved well-being. And once you make one change, that success can motivate you to continue to make more positive shifts.

What is a “healthy lifestyle”?

Ask 50 people to define what a “healthy lifestyle” is, and you’ll likely get 50 different answers. That’s because there’s no one way to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle simply means doing things that make you happy and feel good.

 

For one person, that may mean walking a mile five times a week, eating fast food once a week, and spending virtual or in-person time with loved ones every other day. For someone else, a healthy lifestyle may be training and running two marathons a year, following a keto diet, and never having a sip of alcohol.

 

Neither of these is better than the other. Both are perfect for that person. You get to decide what your healthy lifestyle looks like.

 

How is it beneficial?

Making changes to improve your health can lead to benefits for your body, your mind, your wallet, and even the environment.

 

1. Prevents disease

Healthy habits can reduce the risk of various diseases, including those that may run in your family.

 

For example, in a recent study, adults who followed a standard American diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) for 8 weeks had a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

In another 2020 studyTrusted Source, researchers found that every 66-gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

Swapping out some refined grains for whole grains also reduces the risk of disease. In an observational studyTrusted Source of almost 200,000 adults, those who ate the most whole grains had a 29 percent lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least.

 

And a reviewTrusted Source of 45 studies concluded that eating 90 grams (or three 30-gram servings) of whole grains daily reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent, coronary heart disease by 19 percent, and cancer by 15 percent.

 

In terms of exercise, as little as 11 minutes a day may add years to your life. In a 2020 study, researchers tracked more than 44,000 adults. Those who got 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day had a lower risk of death compared to those who only exercised at that intensity for 2 minutes. This comparison held true even if people sat for 8.5 hours every day.

 

2. Saves money

It’s always smart to see your primary care physician for an annual physical exam. This is especially true seeing how some health conditions, such as high blood pressure, are “silent.” This means they don’t have any symptoms, so unless you are checked, you usually don’t know you have the condition.

 

However, the healthier you are, the less likely you will have to see a doctor. This could save money by reducing co-pays, the need for prescriptions, and other treatments.

 

3. Lengthens lifespan

Basic healthy habits are connected with living a longer life. If, at age 50, you’ve never smoked, maintain a healthy weight, are regularly active, follow a healthy diet, and keep alcohol SUBSCRIBE

 

Healthy Lifestyle Benefits: 5 Tips for Living Your Strongest, Healthiest Life Yet

Medically reviewed by Emelia Arquilla, DO — Written by Brittany Risher on January 6, 2021

Healthy lifestyle definition

Benefits

How to start

Drawbacks

Giving up bad habits

Takeaway

When you’re not at your healthiest, you can probably tell. You may simply feel “off.” You may find that you feel tired, your digestive system isn’t functioning as well as it normally does, and you seem to catch colds. Mentally, you may find you can’t concentrate and feel anxious or depressed.

 

The good news: a healthy lifestyle can help you feel better. Even better, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. It’s pretty easy to make a couple of small changes that can steer you in the direction of improved well-being. And once you make one change, that success can motivate you to continue to make more positive shifts.

 

 

What is a “healthy lifestyle”?

Ask 50 people to define what a “healthy lifestyle” is, and you’ll likely get 50 different answers. That’s because there’s no one way to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle simply means doing things that make you happy and feel good.

 

For one person, that may mean walking a mile five times a week, eating fast food once a week, and spending virtual or in-person time with loved ones every other day. For someone else, a healthy lifestyle may be training and running two marathons a year, following a keto diet, and never having a sip of alcohol.

 

Neither of these is better than the other. Both are perfect for that person. You get to decide what your healthy lifestyle looks like.

 

How is it beneficial?

Making changes to improve your health can lead to benefits for your body, your mind, your wallet, and even the environment.

 

1. Prevents disease

Healthy habits can reduce the risk of various diseases, including those that may run in your family.

 

For example, in a recent study, adults who followed a standard American diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) for 8 weeks had a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

In another 2020 studyTrusted Source, researchers found that every 66-gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

 

Swapping out some refined grains for whole grains also reduces the risk of disease. In an observational studyTrusted Source of almost 200,000 adults, those who ate the most whole grains had a 29 percent lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least.

 

And a reviewTrusted Source of 45 studies concluded that eating 90 grams (or three 30-gram servings) of whole grains daily reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent, coronary heart disease by 19 percent, and cancer by 15 percent.

 

In terms of exercise, as little as 11 minutes a day may add years to your life. In a 2020 study, researchers tracked more than 44,000 adults. Those who got 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day had a lower risk of death compared to those who only exercised at that intensity for 2 minutes. This comparison held true even if people sat for 8.5 hours every day.

 

2. Saves money

It’s always smart to see your primary care physician for an annual physical exam. This is especially true seeing how some health conditions, such as high blood pressure, are “silent.” This means they don’t have any symptoms, so unless you are checked, you usually don’t know you have the condition.

 

However, the healthier you are, the less likely you will have to see a doctor. This could save money by reducing co-pays, the need for prescriptions, and other treatments.

 

3. Lengthens lifespan

Basic healthy habits are connected with living a longer life. If, at age 50, you’ve never smoked, maintain a healthy weight, are regularly active, follow a healthy diet, and keep alcohol to a moderate consumption, you could live up to 14 yearsTrusted Source longer. Making even a few of these changes could lengthen your lifespan.

 

4. It can be good for the environment

Ultra-processed foods are those that contain refined grains and additives to change the texture, taste, or color. Some examples of these foods are cheese puffs, packaged dessert cakes, chicken nuggets, and sweetened breakfast cereals. More than 70 percent of foods in U.S. supermarkets are ultra-processed.

 

The making of ultra-processed foods contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, decreased biodiversity, plastic waste, and deforestation.

 

Then, there are animal products. According to a 2013 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (an agency within the U.N. that focuses on reducing hunger and food inequality worldwide), raising livestock for meat and dairy makes up 14.5 percent of human-created greenhouse gases.

 

However, there are easy fixes for this. For example, if every American cut their weekly beef consumption by 1/4 pound, the decrease in global warming gas emissions would be the equivalent of taking four to six million cars off the road, according to the National Resources Defense Council.

 

But it’s not only about what you eat more or less of. Replacing short car rides with biking can also cut back on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere.

 

In a non-peer reviewed 2010 study, researchers estimated that if 20 percent of citizens in Madison, Wisconsin biked for trips less than 5 miles, it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 57,000 tons each year.

 

And, a 2017 study in Stockholm found that, if drivers who lived within a half-hour bike ride to and from work commuted by bike rather than car, it could save 449 years of life annually in the county due to reduced vehicle emission.

 

These estimates aren’t simply dreams. Barcelona’s bike-share program reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by about 10,000 tons each yearSUBSCRIBE

 

Healthy Lifestyle Benefits: 5 Tips for Living Your Strongest, Healthiest Life Y

Medically reviewed by Emelia Arquilla, DO — Written by Brittany Risher on January 6, 202

Healthy lifestyle definitio

Benefit

How to star

Drawback

Giving up bad habit

Takeawa

When you’re not at your healthiest, you can probably tell. You may simply feel “off.” You may find that you feel tired, your digestive system isn’t functioning as well as it normally does, and you seem to catch colds. Mentally, you may find you can’t concentrate and feel anxious or depressed

 

The good news: a healthy lifestyle can help you feel better. Even better, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life overnight. It’s pretty easy to make a couple of small changes that can steer you in the direction of improved well-being. And once you make one change, that success can motivate you to continue to make more positive shift

 

 

What is a “healthy lifestyl

Ask 50 people to define what a “healthy lifestyle” is, and you’ll likely get 50 different answers. That’s because there’s no one way to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle simply means doing things that make you happy and feel good

 

For one person, that may mean walking a mile five times a week, eating fast food once a week, and spending virtual or in-person time with loved ones every other day. For someone else, a healthy lifestyle may be training and running two marathons a year, following a keto diet, and never having a sip of alcoho

 

Neither of these is better than the other. Both are perfect for that person. You get to decide what your healthy lifestyle looks lik

 

How is it beneficia

Making changes to improve your health can lead to benefits for your body, your mind, your wallet, and even the environment

 

1. Prevents disea

Healthy habits can reduce the risk of various diseases, including those that may run in your family

 

For example, in a recent study, adults who followed a standard American diet (rich in fruits and vegetables) for 8 weeks had a reduced risk of cardiovascular diseas

 

In another 2020 studyTrusted Source, researchers found that every 66-gram increase in daily fruit and vegetable intake was associated with a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabete

 

Swapping out some refined grains for whole grains also reduces the risk of disease. In an observational studyTrusted Source of almost 200,000 adults, those who ate the most whole grains had a 29 percent lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those who ate the leas

 

And a reviewTrusted Source of 45 studies concluded that eating 90 grams (or three 30-gram servings) of whole grains daily reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent, coronary heart disease by 19 percent, and cancer by 15 percen

 

In terms of exercise, as little as 11 minutes a day may add years to your life. In a 2020 study, researchers tracked more than 44,000 adults. Those who got 11 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day had a lower risk of death compared to those who only exercised at that intensity for 2 minutes. This comparison held true even if people sat for 8.5 hours every da

 

2. Saves mon

It’s always smart to see your primary care physician for an annual physical exam. This is especially true seeing how some health conditions, such as high blood pressure, are “silent.” This means they don’t have any symptoms, so unless you are checked, you usually don’t know you have the condition

 

However, the healthier you are, the less likely you will have to see a doctor. This could save money by reducing co-pays, the need for prescriptions, and other treatment

 

3. Lengthens lifesp

Basic healthy habits are connected with living a longer life. If, at age 50, you’ve never smoked, maintain a healthy weight, are regularly active, follow a healthy diet, and keep alcohol to a moderate consumption, you could live up to 14 yearsTrusted Source longer. Making even a few of these changes could lengthen your lifespan

 

4. It can be good for the environme

Ultra-processed foods are those that contain refined grains and additives to change the texture, taste, or color. Some examples of these foods are cheese puffs, packaged dessert cakes, chicken nuggets, and sweetened breakfast cereals. More than 70 percent of foods in U.S. supermarkets are ultra-processed

 

The making of ultra-processed foods contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, water scarcity, decreased biodiversity, plastic waste, and deforestatio

 

Then, there are animal products. According to a 2013 study by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (an agency within the U.N. that focuses on reducing hunger and food inequality worldwide), raising livestock for meat and dairy makes up 14.5 percent of human-created greenhouse gase

 

However, there are easy fixes for this. For example, if every American cut their weekly beef consumption by 1/4 pound, the decrease in global warming gas emissions would be the equivalent of taking four to six million cars off the road, according to the National Resources Defense Counci

 

But it’s not only about what you eat more or less of. Replacing short car rides with biking can also cut back on the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmospher

 

In a non-peer reviewed 2010 study, researchers estimated that if 20 percent of citizens in Madison, Wisconsin biked for trips less than 5 miles, it would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 57,000 tons each yea

 

And, a 2017 study in Stockholm found that, if drivers who lived within a half-hour bike ride to and from work commuted by bike rather than car, it could save 449 years of life annually in the county due to reduced vehicle emissio

 

These estimates aren’t simply dreams. Barcelona’s bike-share program reduces emissions of carbon dioxide by about 10,000 tons each yearTrusted Sourc

 

 

What is the easiest way to start o

Your journey toward a healthier lifestyle starts with small changes that you feel confident you can achieve. Consider making “SMART” goals. SMART stands for

 

specif

measurabl

attainabl

relevan

time-bound (met by a deadline and done in a certain amount of time

When you focus on SMART goals, you could find more success. And one initial “win” will propel you to set new, bigger goals

 

Consider the following tips for beginning to improve your overall healt

 

1. Eat more vegetabl

A 2010 analysisTrusted Source of prospective studies suggests consuming more veggies and fruit is associated with lower risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and premature death

 

Although eating more vegetables is better, you don’t have to go from zero to nine servings a day. Perhaps your goal is eating one serving of vegetables at dinner. If you already do that, consider eating one vegetable or fruit at every mea

 

Keep in mind that less-processed veggies are better. Rather than fries, try roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs or make a stir-fry of several colorful vegetables and drizzle them with a tasty vinaigrett

 

2. Swap in whole grai

Replacing refined grains with whole grains will benefit your health. In a small 2017 studyTrusted Source, 81 men and postmenopausal women were divided into two groups. Half followed a diet that contained whole grains, and the other half followed a diet that was calorically the same but contained refined grains. After 6 weeks, the whole grain group increased their resting metabolic rate (RMR). RMR is how many calories your body burns at rest

 

Research from 2016Trusted Source and 2020Trusted Source link consuming more whole grains with reduced risk of diabetes, coronary heart disease, cardiovascular disease, and cance

 

Start small by replacing one refined grain each day with a whole grain — maybe it’s your breakfast toast or the pilaf you make with dinner. Experiment with different grains and flavorings to see which ones you enjoy mos

 

Whole grains includ

 

plain oa

whole grain bread and past

brown and wild ric

buckwhea

bulgur whea

mille

barle

spel

quino

farr

Refined grains include

 

white bread and pas

white ric

most breakfast cereal

chip

pretze

cracker

3. Be more activ

If the words “exercise” or “workout” put you off, think of this step in terms of physical activity or simply moving your body

 

You don’t have to run a marathon — or run at all — to be health

 

You could walk, go for a bike ride, take salsa dancing lessons, practice martial arts, or try a workout class online. The most important thing is to choose an activity you enjoy. Choosing an activity you have an interest in will increase the chances that you’ll stick with i

 

Secondly, remember that you don’t have to start with a long workout. Aim for 10 minutes a day, 5 days a week. When you feel ready, add another 5 or 10 minutes. Keep doing this until you reach at least 30 minutes a day most days of the wee

 

 

 

4. Maintain friendship

Strong relationships and staying in communication with friends and loved ones can support mental health

 

For one, the risk of depression is greater in people with low-quality relationships. Those with the poorest quality social relationships have more than double the risk of depression compared to people with the highest quality connections

 

 

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