You don’t know you what you have until it’s gone; while it stands true for many things, it can also be said about your health. No matter what your age is but staying healthy has always paid off and there are numerous why you should switch to a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly, drink alcohol only in moderation, consume a nutritious diet and avoid smoking can pocket an additional 14 years on to their life expectancy. Staying in good shape gives you more energy to perform everyday tasks at work and at home. If you remain fit as you age you also reduce your risk of falling ill. Not bad, eh? In other words, gather all the motivation you need to get started on a healthy lifestyle. Here’s the basic guide on how to stay healthy.
1. Stop smoking/drinking.
The first and the foremost step to stay healthy is to quit smoking or drinking. The regular consumption of tobacco and alcohol magnetizes deadly diseases and is the third leading cause of deaths in the world. Such habits destroy your health and drain your bank accounts as well. Smoking releases nicotine in your bloodstream which leads to increase in risk of heart diseases and breathing difficulties as it disrupts body’s method of filtering air and cleaning out the lungs. It causes lung cancer, chronic bronchitis and and asthma. More than 80% of cases of lung cancer are due to smoking. Alcohol interrupts with your sensory nerves and each time you consume alcohol, a bigger dose is required to get the same feeling which forces you to consume more and more of it. And when you consume a considerably bigger amount, it can cause disruptions in your brain and can change mood and behaviour. It can also put your liver at risk by causing variety of problems and liver inflammations.
2. Workout regularly.
To maintain good health, one must exercise regularly. Exercising provides oxygen to the system, improves eyesight, normalizes blood pressure and prevents obesity, diabetes and mental disorders. A brisk walk in the park or an hour or two in gym would be enough to maintain a good health and keep you fit. Physical exercises keep you mentally and physically fit which is an essential aspect to lead a healthy life and lessen the trips to the doctor. Taking up activities like swimming, tennis or basketball can also help you maintain a good health and will keep you entertained as well.
3. Eat clean.
While junk food feels good to our taste buds, it isn’t as good for our health. We have always been taught in school as kids that junk food makes you unhealthy, but often we choose to ignore the lesson and take a bite or two. Junk food is high in sugar, fat and calories and leads to numerous problems like heart stroke, weight gain, tooth decay and gastrointestinal problems. A quick snack of potato chips or soda doesn’t seem much while you are having them. But that’s how we end up with few extra pounds at the end of the day. If you feel the urge to snack choose to have fruits or salads, they are loaded with vitamins and you are less likely to gain weight. Fill your plate with greens and grains. Working out will not help unless you eat clean and is the main ingredient to the recipe of health.
4. Sleep your way to healthy life.
Getting enough rest at night is more important than you think as it plays an important role in your health. The way you feel while you are awake, depends upon the quality of sleep you get. A good night sleep improves your learning and problem solving skills. If you don’t get enough sleep you might be prone to depression, anger, impulsive behaviour and lack of motivation. While it is really important to maintain mental well being, it is also quite important for our physical health as well. Sleep helps you maintain the level of hormones, boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues. Lack of sleep can attack your health in many ways, it can lead to the risk of obesity, heart diseases, kidney diseases and may affect your immune system.
5. Don’t skip breakfast.
The term ‘breakfast’, means breaking the fast, as you stay on an overnight fast. Breakfast provides you with much needed nutrition like calcium, vitamins, protein and fibre, thus making it the most important meal of the day. Studies have shown that those who tend to skip breakfast, weigh more than those who don’t as it reduces your hunger throughout the day and you are likely to make better food choices later in the day. Thereby, making it a bad decision to skip breakfast for those who are seeking to lose weight. Eating breakfast helps you balance your calories and lowers your cholesterol levels. Breakfast is the fuel that gets you going and provides you energy to function well till lunch. Don’t underestimate the importance of a healthy, yummy breakfast.
6. Water for good health.
We take water for granted, but are we really aware of its importance to human body? Our bodies are 60% water and our brain is 75% water. Given that, water is more crucial to us than we think. Water is needed to maintain the health and integrity of each cell in our body. It regulates our temperature and maintains moisture in our mouth and lungs and keeps the skin hydrated. It carries oxygen and other nutrients to the vessels. In short, it keeps our body hydrated, fresh and clean. It flushes out toxins from our bodies and is a natural cleanser for our organs and digestive system. These are some of many reasons why you should start having 10-12 glasses of water each day and have a healthy mind and body.
7. Beat the stress.
Stress can cause a number of health problems which shouldn’t come as a surprise. With work load and emotional stress that we all go through, it isn’t really hard to conclude that stress causes illnesses. But many are unaware how to tackle stress in life, and choose to ignore it. Stress directly affects our heart by increase in heart rate and blood flow; it also leads to increase in the level of cholesterol and other hormones which cause obesity. Stress also triggers serious cardiac issues including heart attacks. Researchers have also proved that chronic stress may increase the risk of developing asthma. Stress eating causes increase in glucose leading to diabetes in no time. Stress also causes premature aging and one can look years older than their age if they are suffering from stress. But it isn’t difficult to beat the stress and lower down the risk of developing these diseases. You can indulge in activities like meditation, yoga, and taking a mini vacation from work. Beating stress doesn’t necessarily require much time and effort.
8. Satisfy your sweet tooth.
Having a little piece of dark chocolate can prove to be really beneficial to your health. The sweet, rich and delicious dark chocolate with high cocoa content is very nutritious, as it can improve your health and lower down your blood pressure. It is loaded with organic compounds that function as antioxidants. Packed with healthy chemicals like flavonoids and theobromine, this delicacy has a disease killing aspect. It also has cardiovascular benefits, in a 9-year Swedish study of more than 31,000 women, those who ate one or two servings of dark chocolate each week cut their risk for heart failure by as much as a third. You must have heard that dessert is stressed spelled backwards, it turns out that it is true; when in stress, grab some dark chocolate instead of ice cream and it will reduce your stress hormone levels.
9. Keep a check on your weight.
Maintaining a perfect weight is easier than shedding off the extra pounds. Sitting at one place for hours and snacking now and then during our free time keeps adding weight without us realising. Being overweight isn’t fun of course, it causes depression, anxiety, health issues and low self esteem. Keeping your weight in check is highly essential to lead a healthy life full of vigour. Encouraging healthy snacking and engaging in physical activities which can also be fun like swimming, gardening and dancing will help you maintain perfect weight.
10. Practice hygiene.
Having proper water and sanitation facilities doesn’t necessarily mean that you are hygienic. Maintaining personal hygiene is necessary for mental, social, psychological, and physical health. It is a way of life and if avoided, may cause illness and bad odour which isn’t desirable. People with low self esteem, motivation and confidence are less likely to have a hygienic routine. It is obvious that health issues arise if you don’t wash hands often, take a regular bath and skip oral routines. But it also affects us psychologically; it affects our confidence and alters the way we perceive ourselves and the way we feel when we are around people. Hence, being hygienic is more important than you think.