10 steps to a Living a Healthy Lifestyle
Around the New Year, most people make resolutions to be healthier -- to starting living a healthier life and maintain a healthy lifestyle. But how many of us actually keep that up? It's important to make a healthy lifestyle change that lasts: healthy habits usually mean longer lives and fewer health problems.
10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle
- Eat well. Eating a balanced diet helps us get the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. It's important to eat a variety of different foods – an apple a day is great, but an apple one day, a banana the next and grapes after that is better! We draw our energy from food, and it is important to eat a little bit from every food group: fruits and vegetables, grains, meats and dairy products.
- Stop smoking. We all know the stats, but they're worth repeating: Over 438,000 Americans die of smoking-related causes every year; this accounts for about 18 percent of all deaths. Furthermore, 50,000 of these deaths are due to secondhand smoke. Do yourself and your family a favor and kick the habit – quit smoking cold turkey or with aids. You'll save money and your health!
- Find someone to talk to. Expressing yourself is important. If you keep something bottled up inside, it will eat away at you and have a negative effect on your attitude and stress level. By finding someone to talk to – a family member, friend or therapist – you can rest easier knowing someone else is aware of what's going on in your life. If you don't feel as though you can trust anyone with your deepest, darkest secrets and feelings, try writing everything down in a journal.
- Exercise. Staying fit goes hand in hand with healthy eating, but there are so many other reasons to exercise. Exercise helps prevent disease, improves stamina and is a key factor in controlling weight. Exercising regularly also strengthens and tones the body and improves flexibility, so aim to exercise at least three times each week.
- Drink water. Make stopping by the water cooler at work a habit. Staying hydrated with 6-8 glasses of water every day cleanses the body, keeps our skin soft and smooth and promotes the healing process. If we fill up on water, we're also less likely to consume drinks high in caloric content, like pop. Avoiding such empty calories is important for maintaining a healthy weight.
- Visit the dentist. Research shows that a happy, healthy smile is more than just nice to look at. Our oral health is also connected to health problems like coronary heart disease. Poor oral health also leads to bad breath, pain and even tooth loss, so keep brushing.
- Develop a routine. This means everything from a regular sleeping pattern to exercising at the same time every day or every week. Your body will look forward to what it knows is coming and can adjust easily, so you'll feel prepared for whatever comes next.
- Stay positive. Being a positive, understanding person doesn't just make you somebody other people want to be around – it's also good for your health! A 2004 psychiatric study found that people who had high levels of optimism were 23 percent less likely to die from cardiovascular causes.
- Maintain relationships. When your relationships with the people around you are healthy, you will be healthier, too. There is nothing more stressful than fighting with a loved one, and it's certainly not worth the toll it takes on your body and spirit.
- Get your rest. The hustle and bustle of life can be exciting, fun and interesting, but it is also taking a toll on our health. Studies show that if we don't get our 8 hours of sleep a night, we are less alert and our performance (particularly at work) is greatly diminished.
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