Practicing smart health habits is an integral part of healthy living. No matter what stage of life you are at, young, middle aged or elderly, it is never too early or too late to incorporate healthy habits into your life. Smart health habits come with many benefits including an overall sense of mental and physical well-being while also suffering less stress and illness. Choosing smart health habits also contributes significantly to your chances for a longer, happier life.
Do some self-assessing
When incorporating smart health habits into your lifestyle, start with some self-assessment. What do you want to change? Do you need to lose some weight or get more exercise? Decide what you want to do and then set some reasonable goals for yourself. Don’t take on too much at once and find yourself overwhelmed. Also, don’t deprive yourself of all your favorite things. Feelings of deprivation often undermine the best intentions and lead to failure. Success tends to come easiest when things are done in moderation. By taking small, attainable steps, you will have a much better chance of achieving your goals and not giving up in frustration.
Keep stress to a minimum
One of the best things you can do for your health is to avoid stress, both at work and at home. The negative effects of stress on your health are staggering. When stress isn’t relieved, it leads to distress, which contributes to a wide range of problems including high blood pressure, headaches, stomach problems, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma, arthritis, skin disorders, anxiety and depression, many of which contribute to a shortened life expectancy.
Engage in physical activity
Physical activity and exercise are essential for maintaining a healthy body and mind. They are also extremely helpful for reducing stress. You need to get up and move around, especially if you sit at a desk all day. Research has shown that sitting for extended periods of time actually slows down the body’s metabolism and other systems. Too much sitting has also been linked to a shortened life expectancy.
If you go home after work, eat a big dinner and then plop down in front of the TV, you definitely have to make some changes. Start by eating a moderately-sized, well-balanced meal that isn’t loaded with fats, carbs, salt and sweets. After dinner, tidy up the kitchen and then take a walk, ride your bike or play some tennis. Exercise burns off calories, gets the limbs moving and the blood circulating. If you don’t like going outside for some reason, stay inside and exercise while listening to some music or watching a movie. Avoid late dinners and late snacking as neither one is good for the digestive system or for maintaining an ideal body weight.
Socialize with others
If you tend to be a loner, make an extreme effort to get out more, socialize and enjoy the company of others. Social isolation often leads to depression, loneliness, even suicidal thoughts. Smiling, laughing and enjoying the camaraderie and support of others are vital to a person’s mental and physical well-being.
Eliminate the negative
In addition to incorporating healthy habits into your lifestyle, it is equally important to eliminate unhealthy habits as well. If you smoke, quit. If you overindulge in alcohol or drugs, stop. If you are a workaholic, lighten up. If you hate your job or are in an unhealthy relationship, find a way to make the job and the relationship work or get out. Unhappiness is a major contributor to stress. Hanging on to unhealthy habits will only counteract the positive effects of your healthy habits.
If you follow a well-balanced diet, get plenty of sleep and exercise, maintain a healthy body weight and avoid bad habits, you are on your way to a healthy lifestyle. If you have a bad day, eat too much or smoke a cigarette, don’t give up. Everyone falls off the wagon on occasion. Pick yourself up and start over.