With the number of diseases and infections, which were previously unheard of, are rising in the world, staying healthy is more important now than ever. But here’s the unfortunate fact – there’s no shortcut to stay healthy. Your health quotient is the sum of your diet, your lifestyle, and your genetic buildup. And while there’s not much you can do to alter your genes, there are a few things you can do to set your diet and lifestyle right.
1. What You Eat
It’s believed that you are what you eat. And this couldn’t be further from the truth. Everything you eat has an impact on your body and its functioning. So, watch out for what you eat and consume your favorite foods in moderation. Eat foods that are healthy for you; this includes berries, nuts, green vegetables, lean meat, fish, and whole grains. And avoid foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats; this includes burgers, sweetmeats, and other processed foods. Make sure you eat a balanced diet of a variety of foods and make sure you get all the nutrients that your body needs. Also, eat smaller meals instead of 3 large meals – they will keep you satiated and keep you from reaching out for junk.1
2. How You Exercise
The importance of exercise cannot be emphasized enough. Regular exercise – especially, aerobic activity – can boost immunity, reduce the severity of diseases, help lose weight, enhance mood, support better sleep, and improve brain function and thinking skills.2 3 According to the National Health Services, adults between the age of 19 and 64 should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity. One simple way to achieve this is to get at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times a week.4
3. How Much You Sleep
Sleep is essential not only for your mental well-being but also for your physical health. Sleep gives your brain the rest it requires to prepare for the tasks of the following day. Also, your brain converts short-term memory into permanent long-term memory while you sleep. A sleep deficiency is, in fact, associated with an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and stroke.5 So, every night, aim for at least 7–9 hours of sleep.6
4. How Much You Weigh
It’s important to work toward a healthy Body-Mass-Index (BMI) and prevent your risk of obesity. Being overweight can lead to an overall drop in the quality of your life and increase your risk of hypertension, high cholesterol levels, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, chronic body pain, and sleep apnea.7 To fight obesity, eat high-protein foods, avoid saturated fats, count your calories, and exercise regularly.
5. Amount Of Water You Drink
It’s easy to forget that water makes up about 73% of your brain and heart. While the effects of dehydration might not be evident immediately, it can cause problems in the long run, some of them being headaches, constipation, exercise asthma, hyperglycemia, skin conditions, delirium, digestive issues, kidney disorders, cognitive performance, and even heart disease.8
6. Your Smoking And Drinking Patterns
This one’s something most of us are guilty of, even though we know how bad it is for us. Smoking generates free radicals that damage the cells in your body, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, oral cancer, respiratory diseases, and complications during pregnancy.9 Alcohol, meanwhile, can cause impaired brain function, liver damage, and cause several other disorders of the lungs, bones, and the heart.10 So, limit your alcohol consumption and avoid binge-drinking.
7. Your Social Support Group
Your mental health is just as important as physical health. For a healthy mind, have a support group. It could be your close friends, family members, or even online support groups. They will help you cope with emotional turmoils, mental disorders, or addiction. Being a part of support groups is linked to reduced health and an enhanced mental well-being.11
8. Number Of Times You Visit Your Doctor
Ideally, you should visit your doctor 4 times a year, and get complete health-checks done once every year. Often, the initial stages of a disease cannot be noticed until a screening is done. And with the right preventive care, you can get the required treatment and stop the disease in its tracks. It might be expensive to visit the doctor regularly, but in the long run, it’s worth the money you spend.12
These are just some of the things you can do to ensure that you stay healthy 10 years from now. Making these practices a habit might be difficult, but it’s important that you make an effort – your future self will thank you for it!
|↑1||Taking Charge of Your Health & Well-Being: How To Start. University of Minnesota.|
|↑2||Exercise. John Hopkins Center for Health Equity.|
|↑3||Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School.|
|↑4||Physical activity guidelines for adults. Choices, National Health Services.|
|↑5||Why Is Sleep Important? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.|
|↑6||National Sleep Foundation Recommends New Sleep Times. National Sleep Foundation.|
|↑7||The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity. Centers For Disease Control And Prevention.|
|↑8||Popkin, Barry M., Kristen E. D’anci, and Irwin H. Rosenberg. “Water, hydration, and health.” Nutrition reviews 68, no. 8 (2010): 439-458.|
|↑9||Effects of Smoking. Boston University School of Public Health.|
|↑10||Alcohol Effects on the Body. Santiago Canyon College.|
|↑11||Thoits, Peggy A. “Stress, coping, and social support processes: Where are we? What next?.” Journal of health and social behavior (1995): 53-79.|
|↑12||Preventive Health Care. Centers for disease control and prevention.|