How to live a healthy lifestyle is a topic we have been bombarded with over the past decade. A truly healthy lifestyle results from a balanced lifestyle. The key points of a balanced lifestyle include having adequate time for work, family and relationships, relaxation and fun. In order to maintain a healthy balance there has to be a combination of exercise; a sensible diet; reduction of caffeine and sugar; avoidance of alcohol, tobacco and drugs; stress reduction and getting enough sleep.
Physical activity and exercise is great for stress prevention and reduction. A combination of stretching, muscle toning and aerobic exercise tends to be the best. You should get 30 minutes of exercise at least three times a week. The best news is that you don’t need to do all 30 minutes at once. It has been proven that breaking it down into small 10 to 15 minute intervals is just as beneficial.
Walking is a great exercise and can easily be incorporated into your day. Try parking in the farthest space rather than closest space possible. Take a few trips around the grocery store with your cart prior to beginning your shopping. This is especially helpful during winter months in colder climates. Carrying your purchases to your car rather than pushing them out in a cart helps improve muscle tone as well as giving you an aerobic workout.
A healthy lifestyle requires a sensible diet. Eating three moderate or five small meals comprised of a balanced diet dispersed regularly throughout your day helps maintain even blood sugars and fuel for your mind and body. Caffeine and sugar should be limited, as the body treats them both as drugs. They can influence hormone and blood sugar fluctuations and lead to an increase in stress production.
Your diet should include protein, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, carbohydrates, and fats. Lean proteins (like beef, pork, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy products with reduced fats) are preferable to non-lean proteins (like fatty cuts of meats, organ meats, bacon and sausage) and processed meats (like luncheon meats). These fatter cuts should be kept at a minimum and generally limited to a few servings a week. Dairy products such as milk, cheeses and yogurt provide calcium and protein. A few servings of these should be included in your daily diet plan.
Fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your diet. A wide range of fruits and vegetables provides variety and provides a better balance of vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates are important for maintaining energy and help with mental clarity. They should be kept to a few servings a day. Whole grains are more beneficial because they provide more vitamins and nutrients and are metabolized at a slower rate, reducing spikes in blood sugar.
Fats are essential to the human diet. They provide essential fatty acids and allow for better uptake of nutrients. Best choices are olive oils, canola oils, nuts and nut oils.
Exercise and diet alone are not the answer for a healthy lifestyle. Cigarette, drug and alcohol use should be avoided. However, there is evidence that alcohol used in modest amounts may be useful. These studies have concluded that a glass of red wine with dinner can be beneficial for protection of the brain, heart and lungs. It is thought to prevent prostate and breast cancers, reduce inflammation and boost longevity.
Stress tends to be different from person to person. Stressors can come from personal, family, financial, peer and professional issues, but are not limited to any specifics. The most crucial step to stress management is identification of the stressors in your life. After you have identified what has stressed you out, you can begin to work on the issues.
Maintaining a stress journal can be helpful in the identification of stressors. You should keep track of: what caused your stress, how you felt physically and emotionally, your response actions and what you did to make yourself feel better.
Once stressors are identified you should change the situation by avoidance or alteration. Then work on changing your reactions by adapting and accepting. Don’t forget to make time for relaxation and fun.
Don’t underestimate the value of sleep in a healthy lifestyle. Sleep allows your mind and body to refuel, regenerate and energize. Getting enough sleep increases your ability to think clearly, react appropriately, maintain motivation and gives you the stamina to enjoy the various aspects of your life.
While it is impossible to include all of these aspects daily, the more habitual you are to include them the better your chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle become. Take a few minutes and reflect on what you did today. What can you do to improve? How can you live a healthy lifestyle?