Many lifestyle factors can promote good health if you want to live long and healthy lives. While you can not change your genes or much of the environment, making informed and deliberate decisions about diet, exercise, sleep, alcohol use, and smoking can reduce health risks and possibly add years to your life.
We know that maintaining a healthy lifestyle can seem difficult because of so many activities during the day. We work, eat whenever we can and wherever we can and there is no time for proper rest. The conclusion of the various surveys is very clear: healthy eating habits and physical activity are the most effective principles in the fight against eating disorders and obesity.
There are many texts and hundreds of articles that you could read about the lifestyle factors that promote good health or have negative effects on your physical well-being.
That said, these lifestyle changes are those that have the best evidence to maximize their longevity.
1. Regular and Adequate Amount of Sleep
A regular and adequate amount of sleep is one of the lifestyle factors that promote good health that is often downplayed in comparison to dieting and exercising. The relationship between sleep and life expectancy has been demonstrated in many studies. But what surprises some people is that it is a U-shaped curve. In other words, too much and too little sleep increases mortality (risk of death).
A 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the “ideal” sleep time was 7 hours per night. This is the amount of sleep which is associated with the lowest risk of premature death.
Some evidence suggests that lack of sleep is more likely to have negative effects in women. But regardless of gender and age, a good night’s sleep is important.
Sleep gives your body the opportunity to restore and regenerate. It also caters to all the metabolic functions required by the body. Such functions include the regeneration of old cells, the elimination of waste and the repair of cellular damage. You should know that sleep is important for memories and sleep deprivation leads to forgetfulness.
Even if you intend to sleep well, medical conditions can sometimes occur. Sleep apnea is a disease that can significantly increase health risks. Although the disease affects millions of Americans, it is thought to be misdiagnosed. This is partly because the symptoms of snoring and airless awakening are not always present and sleep apnea may present a series of surprising signs and symptoms. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor about these things (such as CPAP and other interventions) that can reduce your risk and improve your life.
Changes in your sleep patterns can also be a sign of changing your health. Consult your doctor for a checkup if you change.
2. Regular Physical Activity
Thirty minutes of exercise can help improve health by reducing the heart rate associated with age and osteoporosis.
An article found that participation in moderate, non-recreational physical activity correlates with a lower risk of heart disease and overall mortality, regardless of income.
Regular physical exercises are a part of the effective lifestyle factors that promote good health.
Best of all, your physical activity can be a cost-effective way to improve your health (and maybe your life). Not only that, it can even save you money. Think about washing your windows, mowing your lawn, sweeping a sidewalk and more. (It is important to keep in mind that people with certain medical conditions should not perform this level of activity).
Once you’re 65 years old, your needs do not decrease and you can benefit by adding balance exercises and flexibility exercises.
There are many options, but it is important to find the following activities:
- Walk quickly
- Ballroom dancing
- Cycle slowly on flat ground
- Leisure swimming
Also read: Benefits of Exercises
3. Do Not Make Use of Tobacco Products, Including Smoking or Chewing
Smoking accounts for more than 400,000 deaths in the United States alone. Additionally, 16 million people are plagued with a smoking-related disease. If you want to live a healthy life, do not smoke or drink tobacco. Encolcating this lifestyle can promote your health.
The list of diseases and cancers that its precursor is smoking is long, but sometimes it is a long-term concern prompt fewer change than immediate problems.
If you have trouble quitting, think about the immediate consequences. Maybe the cost or the social aspects of smoking when smoking has been banned in many places.
Or maybe the medium-term consequences will motivate you. For women (and men), smoking accelerates wrinkles. For men, the arteries affected by tobacco are not just the arteries that feed the heart, small arteries in other areas of the body are also damaged. Furthermore, there is a significant association and relationship between smoking and erectile dysfunction.
4. Eat Well Balanced Meals on a Regular Basis
A healthy and balanced diet can help provide energy and lower the risk of one having chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer. It can also help you maintain a normal weight.
Instead of jumping on the latest novelty diet, a positive change in the lifestyle of your food consumption is the best action to take to promote health. The expert of Healthy Eating for Life, Michael Pollan, summed up his recommendations in these terms: “Eat food, not too much, but mostly plants.” Among these plants, you have the best chance of getting the nutrients you need when you eat a rainbow of colors.
Furthermore, it is still needful to get advice on what to eat on a daily basis. This lifestyle will help promote your overall health and also improve your resistance to diseases. In case you are wondering where to start, the Mediterranean diet is rich in many of the healthiest foods.
The more you follow the Mediterranean diet, the lower the risk of illness. That this dietary approach is useful is supported by a 2018 study that examined more than 12 million people and the risk of over a dozen chronic disease. The researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet was inversely proportional to the risk of heart disease, stroke, overall cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.
The Mediterranean diet includes fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, seafood, whole grains, olive oil, and many herbs and spices. Food grains that are not included include highly processed foods, refined grains, refined oils, and added sugar.
5. Avoid Alcohol or Drink in Moderation
Despite the hype about wine and longevity, alcohol should be consumed only moderately. However, a lot of people should avoid it totally. It has been found that red wine (in moderation) offers protection against Alzheimer’s disease, but it is not necessary to drink red wine to obtain these benefits.
Red wine is rich in flavonoids, especially phytonutrient resveratrol. However, resveratrol is also present in red grape juice, red grapes and even in peanuts.
Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink for women and two for men) may help reduce heart disease. However, the link between alcohol and breast cancer suggests that it should be used with caution. For women, every 10 grams of alcohol (a “serving” of alcohol contains about eight grams) increases the risk of breast cancer by 7 to 12%.
Higher alcohol levels leads to health and behavioral problems, including strokes, heart disease, certain types of cancer, accidents, violence, suicide, and deaths in general.
Avoiding alcohol is a lifestyle factor one must imbibe if he must live longer and to promote health.
6. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity can lead to a shortened short life span and an increased risk of many chronic diseases. The good news is that just being overweight does not reduce your longevity. For people over 65, it is actually better to be on the high side of the normal side than the low side.
A 2018 study (part of the Framingham heart study) analyzed body mass index and mortality over a 24-year period. (The normal body mass index is between 19 and 24.) For those who were obese, those whose body mass index was between 30 and 35 had a 27% increase in mortality, and those whose body mass index was from 35 to 40 mortality increased by 93%.
This begs the question, which weight is ideal? Among those who were overweight but not obese, obese (had a body mass index between 25 and 30), there was an increase in mortality only among those who smoked. The people who had a body mass index on the high side of normal, for example, 24, had the lowest mortality rate.
There is no real magic to maintaining or achieving a normal body mass index. Eating healthy meals (not too much and no too many calories) and carrying out exercises (whether it be for fun or not) is the real secret.
In the past, it has been emphasized that breakfast is necessary for optimal health. Research is changing this idea and is suggesting that intermittent fasting may have some benefits. Although the research is still young, intermittent fasting can help in weight loss and in the reduction of cancer risks.
Adopting this change in lifestyle can promote your health and reduce risks of chronic diseases too.
Every threat that our body receives, be it physical pain, sickness or hunger or even psychological trauma such as depression and anxiety causes stress. The continuous state of this disease causes loss of muscle mass and facilitates body mass gain. It also raises blood pressure and lowers good cholesterol levels (HDL).
All of this results in increased weight, which in turn causes an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension. Try to practice yoga or meditation, listen to music or read books to relax. Switching to this lifestyle of making out time to relax will greatly promote your health.
8. Always Consult Your Doctor and Your mental health
Do not visit your doctor just to heal, do it too to prevent it. The doctor can guide you to change the risk factors of issues that still do not have symptoms. Always remember that most diseases can be cured if they are detected early. Develop a lifestyle of a constant check-up with your doctor as this will greatly promote your health.
Also, mental health is part of your well-being. Do activities that allow you to be distracted from the problems of the day. How about visiting new and different places or strolling through the park? Have fun with the ones you love the most.
9. Drink a lot of Water
From 6 to 8 glasses of water are essential to staying hydrated. Water also helps you digest, maintain your body temperature and eliminate unnecessary substances through sweat and urine. Remember that the body can use most of the nutrients we get from food because of water.
Drinking the required amount of water is crucial lifestyle one must have to develop so as to promote your health.
10. Be careful
Mortality rates by road accident remain the third leading cause of death, even in developed countries.
Most of them could be avoided because they are due to errors committed by humans because of a lack of concentration or precaution.
If you want to have a healthy lifestyle, especially the maximum speed allowed, you should also take precautions in other situations, for example during sex.
The main problem to consider in unprotected sex is undoubtedly HIV infection.
According to a WHO report, 2.2 million people are infected with HIV in Europe, but about half do not know it.
Therefore, it is extremely important to use prophylactic treatment during sex, especially if you do not have a stable partner.
Being cautious in all respects is a comely lifestyle to promote good health.
11. Minimize Negative Emotions
Having a positive spirit also has great benefits for physical and mental health.
One of the main negative emotional factors of this time is stress.
Excessive stress reduces defenses and increases the risk of illness while making us feel bad.
Stress can not only have psychological and physical effects on people but also lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
According to some researchers, increased stress is associated with increased drug and alcohol use, which decreases healthy behaviors.
In addition, chronic stress can increase blood pressure, cause anxiety, depression and heart problems.
To avoid stress, look for leisure activities that you really enjoy and do some type of relaxation exercise (yoga, meditation, etc.).
Organize your agenda correctly, try to identify the factors that cause you stress and avoid them.
On the other hand, if you feel negative emotions (sadness, anguish), that do not allow you to feel good in activities you once enjoyed, and these negative emotions continue over time and do not dissipate then it is time to go see a professional.
Do the necessary medical consultations and you can expect professional therapy to be part of a healthy lifestyle.
Summary and Recommendation
These eleven behaviors can lead to a long and healthy life. They are key lifestyle factors that can promote good health. But we know that living is not just about physical health, and that mental, social and spiritual health is just as important. Practicing stress management, developing a passion or hobby and being pampered should sometimes be a priority on your to-do list.
However, even when all goes well, it is not always possible to avoid mental illness or mental stress. Many health professionals now believe that the ability to “stand the shock of life”, or to be resilient, is a skill we all need to cultivate if we want to live our best life today.
The most important thing to remember is that you can make a difference in your health and well-being. Take charge of your life and consider small behavioral changes that can improve your life generally.
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