What are the benefits of a healthy lifestyle is something we all need to fully understand.
Oh, we have all heard it is important to eat well, and get regular exercise, but why?
How can a healthy lifestyle benefit me?
I’m a grandmother, is it even safe for me to exercise now that I am older?
These are all very valid questions that should be answered so so we can all make informed decisions about everything we do in life.
What is a healthy lifestyle?
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as being in “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
This suggests that this concept goes much deeper than just having or not having a disease.
Therefore a healthy lifestyle must encompass all areas of lifestyle including diet, exercise, preventative healthcare, work, environment, and social activity.
What is a healthy diet?
One of the most important things you can to protect your health is to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.
Did you know that up to 80% of premature heart disease can be prevented by healthy lifestyle choices such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise?
Another startling fact is that both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes are on the rise. The development of type 2 diabetes is directly lifestyle related and could so easily be avoided with healthier choices.
What does a healthy diet look like?
Be sure to include each of the following in your healthy meal plan:
Plenty of vegetables and fruit. Fruits and vegetables are packed full of essential nutrients ( antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals) and fiber that help fill us up. Fruit and vegetables will aid in both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
At each meal or snack be sure to fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit.
Whole-grain foods include whole-grain bread and crackers, wild or brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, and hulled barley. These foods are prepared using the whole grain. They contain fiber, B vitamins, and protein which will help keep you full longer.
At each meal, whole grain foods should only be 1/4 of your plate.
Protein foods include poultry, lean red meats including wild game, fish, shellfish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, tofu, fortified soy beverage, lower-fat milk, lower-fat yogurts, lower fat kefir, and cheeses low in both fat and sodium.
These foods make up the final 1/4 of your plate.
Some minimally processed foods are ok. These would include bags of salad, frozen vegetables, eggs, milk, cheese, brown rice, oil, and dried herbs.
Make plain old-fashioned water your drink of choice.
What is exercise?
Wikipedia defines exercise as “any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.”
Exercise typically involves engaging in physical activity that increases the heart rate beyond resting levels.
It is an important part of preserving both physical and mental health.
Whether diabetic, overweight, or battling some other health challenge, exercise can help you achieve a healthier version of yourself.
Naturally, you should consult with your doctor before embarking on a new exercise regimen to ensure it is safe for you to do so.
There are actually several main types of exercise we will discuss today.
Aerobic exercise is mainly for improving how the body uses oxygen. Most aerobic exercise is done at a moderate level of intensity over a longer period of time.
Aerobic exercise would include activities such as:
There are many benefits of aerobic exercise:
- improves muscle strength in the heart, lungs, and throughout the body
- lowers blood pressure
- improves circulation (blood flow) in the muscles
- increase red blood cell count which enhances oxygen transportation
- reduces the risk of heart disease or stroke
- improves both life expectancy and symptoms of people with coronary artery disease
- reduces the risk of osteoporosis by stimulating bone growth
- improves the quality of sleep
- enhances stamina by increasing the ability of the body to store energy within muscle
Anaerobic exercise is for building power, strength, and muscle mass. These are very high-intensity exercises that should not be longer than 2 minutes in duration but may be repeated after a short rest.
Anaerobic exercise would include:
- weight lifting
- fast, intensive skipping with a rope
- interval training
- any rapid burst of energy
Anaerobic exercise offers fewer benefits for the heart and lungs and uses fewer calories. The payoff is it is more effective for building muscle and improving strength.
Increasing muscle mass causes the body to burn more fat, even while resting. Muscle is by far the most efficient fat-burning tissue in the body.
Agility training improves our ability to maintain control while speeding up, slowing down, or changing direction.
This would be of particular benefit to a tennis player who needs to maintain court positioning after each shot.
It would also benefit hockey, soccer, or football players as you need to constantly change direction with the play.
Anyone who participates in sports that rely on positioning, coordination, speed, and balance needs to engage in agility training regularly.
Those sports would include:
- football (American)
- martial arts
There are some exercises that combine stretching, muscle conditioning, and balance training. Yoga is a perfect example of this.
Yoga movements are known to improve balance, flexibility, posture, and circulation.
Other popular options that promote stretching, flexibility, and core strength include Pilates and Tai Chi.
Practicing a healthy lifestyle may help prevent the development of many chronic diseases or injuries.
Choosing to remain smoke-free, eating healthily, and regularly exercising may even help reduce the genetic risk of dementia. According to a 2019 study by JAMA, involving 196,383 older adult participants.
If we start practicing a healthy lifestyle while maintaining a healthy weight and drinking in moderation in middle age, we can live a long, disease-free life.
The earlier we begin living a healthy lifestyle the greater chances of preventing high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease later in life.
An important part of mental health that shouldn’t be neglected is maintaining a healthy and active social life.
It is important to stay in regular contact with friends and family.
Exercising our mind with stimulating conversation helps prevent the mind from deteriorating.
Isolating ourselves from social events for too long a period increases the risk of developing anxiety and depression.
Sex is also good for cardiovascular health as well as relaxing our minds. Be sure to protect yourself against any sexually transmitted diseases by practicing safe sex by using condoms.
Slow the aging process
A healthy lifestyle can help slow the aging process but in order for this to be a benefit, it must be a continuous practice.
Researchers have found that regular exercising and slows the deterioration of muscle mass and bone density as you age.
Making healthy choices in life can also help maintain youthful skin.
You can improve your skin health if you:
- eat a healthy diet
- get 7-8 hours sleep nightly
- get regular exercise and avoid stress
- take good care of your skin and wear sunscreen daily
- limit alcohol and avoid smoking
It can be difficult to establish new behavioral patterns and create new healthy habits. Here are a few tips that may help you achieve long-term success.
- Clearly understand your why. Whether for health reasons or appearance, be sure to keep your goal in your mind’s eye. Knowing why you increased your level of exercise helps push through when it gets tough.
- Go at your own pace. you don’t want to risk injury by doing too much too soon. Start slow and increase from there as your body adapts.
- Have fun. It is much easier to be consistent with the program if you enjoy it.
- Exercise with a friend. Whether at home or at the gym, working out with a friend makes it more enjoyable but also keeps you accountable.
- Take advantage of trainers and teachers. Especially when first starting out a trainer or teacher can help ensure you are doing the exercises properly to get the most benefit and least risk of injury. They can also be an important source of motivation.
- Vary your exercises. This helps prevent boredom but also increases the benefits by working out different muscle groups. If you really enjoy a particular exercise, such as running, try varying the speed or distance. For a different challenge try changing your route for one with more hills or less. Changing it up keeps your body guessing therefore keeps you getting the most out of your workout.
- Make it a habit. By regularly exercising you are creating a habit even if you find it difficult at first. I can certainly attest to this as I never thought of myself as a runner. My husband went with me a few times and coached me with breathing techniques and before I knew it I found myself enjoying it. It didn’t take long before I found it easier and I actually look forward to my daily runs now. I have also found that I really miss it on days that I am unable to run due to injury or sickness. Thank goodness those days are rare.
What Are The Benefits Of A Healthy Lifestyle was something I did not fully understand until recently.
A healthy lifestyle allows us to become the best version of ourselves.
It allows us to be the healthiest version of ourselves we can be and can help ensure not only our longevity but the good health to enjoy it.
The earlier in life we begin making healthy lifestyle choices the greater the benefits will be but we can certainly benefit by beginning at any age.
Healthy lifestyle choices include:
- eating a well-balanced diet, including plenty of vegetables and fruit, whole-grain foods, and protein foods
- drink plenty of water
- get regular exercise and change it up by trying different forms of exercise such as aerobic exercise, anaerobic exercise, agility training, and stretching and balance exercises
- get 7-8 hours sleep nightly
- socialize with family and friends frequently
as hard as it is to break bad habits, adopting a healthy lifestyle is a decision you won’t regret.
Healthy habits reduce the risk of certain diseases, improve physical appearance, and help maintain good mental health while also giving you a welcome energy boost.
“I am not in any way a medical practitioner, please do not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider. We only share our experiences.”
What healthy choices do you make?
What are your favorite exercises?
What are your favorite healthy meals?
Leave your tips in the comment section below and please stay healthy.