Despite modern medicine’s advancements and resources, poor health and disease rates are at an all-time high. While some of their causes might be beyond our control, a few critical things, like adopting a healthy lifestyle, can make a vital difference.
It’s a common misconception that a healthy lifestyle means eating a balanced diet and nutritious food. However, a healthy lifestyle goes beyond dietary habits and focuses on making you physically active, achieving proper work-life balance, staying mentally healthy, and getting enough sleep. For living a healthy lifestyle, each of your actions and choices is interconnected and must stay in sync to promote a positive attitude. For example, you may choose to work out more, but unless you act on it and make a workable plan to carry the steps through, you won’t bring any change.
Additionally, today’s society and people prioritize instant gratification and are adverse to even a bit of discomfort. So, while restructuring your lifestyle may seem challenging, it’s a necessary pain and will only benefit you in the long run.
According to the World Health Organization, health is not just the absence of disease. Instead, it refers to an individual’s state of overall well-being that encompasses physical, mental, and social aspects. A healthy lifestyle can help you achieve this in several ways.
We outline the top 7 ways a healthy lifestyle can improve your overall well-being to emphasize its importance.
- Boosts the immune system
New viruses and bacteria have emerged in the past few decades, resulting in various infectious diseases. Human factors like overpopulation, poverty, and poor sanitation are a few examples of why this emergence is increasing. But while you can’t necessarily change a city’s structure and system, you can strengthen your body to fight infection and keep it from becoming susceptible.
When you consume foods rich in vitamins, proteins, and iron—you help promote the growth and repair of your body cells that can destroy pathogens. On the contrary, if your diet consists of fatty foods with high salt and sugar intake, you’ll make yourself more vulnerable to acquiring an infection. And when you get infected, your body won’t have the strength to fight off the virus and will therefore weaken with time.
- It makes you more energetic
Several forces, like diet and physical activity, influence your energy levels. For instance, if you consume processed foods, smoke, or drink alcohol, you’ll likely feel more drained early in the week. But certain things like oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruits and vegetables boost energy and fuel your body for a long-term effect.
Muscle strength and endurance also improve when you exercise or engage in routine physical activity. By working out, oxygen gets delivered much quicker and efficiently to cells and tissues inside the body, which allows them to function more productively. So, when oxygen-rich blood reaches your heart and lungs, you have more energy, literally running through your veins, to tackle everyday tasks.
- Improves mood
When you implement a healthy lifestyle, the first thing you’ll likely do is transform your eating habits. Besides helping you stay physically fit, it also plays a vital role in improving your mental health. Many recent studies have linked a balanced diet with decreased levels of depression and a lower risk of acquiring mental disorders. In addition, healthcare professionals recommend good fats like Omega 3s to improve mood and combat mental health illnesses.
Besides food, regular exercise has proven to influence a positive mood. It promotes the secretion of hormones like serotonin, more commonly known as the “feel-good hormone,” which keeps you emotionally stable and drives out negative emotions from the mind. Physical activities also release the body’s natural pain-relieving chemicals, called endorphins, that boost dopamine production and elevate mood.
- Helps maintain weight
Cardiovascular or cerebrovascular diseases are among the leading causes of death in the United States. With chronic health problems like obesity and diabetes becoming more prevalent daily, it won’t be long before they become endemic and affect thousands of lives.
The primary cause of these health concerns is fast foods, sugary drinks, substance abuse, lack of physical activity, technology overuse, and poor night’s sleep. Unfortunately, all these factors inadvertently affect your health and make you vulnerable to severe diseases, many of which don’t have a cure. But by adopting a healthy lifestyle, you can maintain weight and ensure you don’t accumulate any unnecessary fat. This way, you’ll be safe from developing blocked blood vessels and have fewer chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or arrhythmias.
- Boosts feelings of self-worth
The best part about embracing a healthy lifestyle is you have something productive to work towards. By planning what to eat, how to engage in exercise, and ways to practice self-care—you can create positive goals. Achieving these will offer feelings of accomplishment, which, in turn, will reinforce feelings of self-worth and elevated mental health.
- Lengthens lifespan
Unlike in most high-income countries, Americans don’t live as long as other citizens. Their poor lifestyle choices make them more prone to chronic disorders like cancer and heart disease. Since these don’t have recommended treatments, patients die soon after developing the disease and don’t live for as long as you’d expect them to.
Public health research analyzed the data of 78,000 women and 44,000 men to study the effect of a healthy lifestyle on age expectancy. They compared their lifestyle factors like diet, smoking patterns, exercise, and drinking habits with health outcomes such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and their age when they died. The results showed that women who didn’t adopt a healthy lifestyle lived till 79 on average, while those who did, lived till 93. Among men, 75 was the mean age for individuals who didn’t live a healthy lifestyle, and 87 years was the average age for those who did.
Enhances your appearance
It’s no secret that watching what you eat can shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. But enhancing your appearance goes far beyond just losing weight. For instance, by improving your hydration and drinking the recommended quantity of water every day, you can significantly help your skin glow. Since water helps wash away toxins from the body, it keeps the face fresh and youthful. Additionally, fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants act as anti-aging chemicals and boost your physical appearance. In contrast, fat-rich and sugary foods can damage the skin, create blemishes, and quickly hurt your complexion.
More importantly, when you let go of particular behaviors like smoking and drinking, your blood flow to the skin improves. This reduces discoloration and makes you look less pale, helping you appear with a healthy glow soon after you quit.
Living a healthy and happy life is the fundamental right of every individual. And the only way to improve your overall well-being and keep it from getting harmed by various threats is to be willing to put in the hard work. Eat well, exercise regularly, sleep early, practice positive thoughts, let go of harmful behaviors—and see how quickly your life changes for the better.