You can’t alter your DNA or the surrounding environment, but you may make certain lifestyle choices to improve your health. It’s possible to reduce your health risks and potentially add years to your life.
The best lifestyle choices are backed by solid evidence. This article looks at six of them. It shows you why they matter and how to begin making positive changes.
Eat Well-balanced Meals
An eating plan that includes a variety of nutritious foods from different food groups is best for your health. You can choose from grain products, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy products, meats, and meat alternatives.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends limiting the intake of high-calorie foods, including those high in fat and/or sugar. It also suggests avoiding ultra-processed foods because they may contain potentially harmful ingredients. A review of 25 studies supports limiting the amount of ultra-processed foods in your diet to help prevent obesity and chronic disease.
Make Time for Physical Activity
Exercise is a key component of your lifestyle, and it helps you maintain good health. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity nearly every day.
The ACSM also advises resistance training two or more days per week, with sets ranging from eight to 12 repetitions for each major muscle group. Overall, aim for at least 20 minutes of strength training per session.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends that adults perform moderate-intensity aerobic activity for two hours and 30 minutes every week. Resistance training should also be performed twice a week.
Don’t Smoke or Take Other Drugs
Nicotine is an addictive substance found in tobacco products. Smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States.
The World Cancer Research Fund recommends avoiding or not using illicit drugs as a way to reduce your risk of cancer. In addition, it suggests avoiding alcohol because consuming too much is linked with an increased risk of certain cancers. It also advises limiting alcoholic drinks to less than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
Sleep Soundly for Sufficient Rest
Getting enough sleep regularly is associated with good health. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between the ages of 26 and 64 get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Adolescents, seniors, and people with specific medical conditions may need more sleep than others.
What does sleep do for the body? Researchers believe sleep allows the body to perform necessary repairs, build new proteins, grow and strengthen bones, and maintain proper immune function.
Getting enough rest also helps you concentrate, perform better at work or school, remember things more easily, and deal with stress more effectively.
Spend Time In Nature
Trees, bodies of water, and other elements of nature can help improve your mental well-being. A review of nine studies found that intense nature experiences may benefit people with depression, stress, and other health conditions. These experiences included walking in the woods or visiting a park.
Positive mood was improved by spending time in natural environments compared to urban environments. Overall, the greenest areas had the most positive effects on mental health. You may also find that spending time in nature helps lower your stress levels and boosts your energy. A 2010 study found children who spend at least 40 minutes per week in green spaces were 40 percent less likely to be obese than those who did not have access to a greener environment.
It helps to plant trees and care for them in your home. But you will need tree service professionals to handle trimming and pruning if you have large species.
Manage Stress and Find Balance in Your Life
A certain amount of stress is normal because it can help you meet challenges and motivate you. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it may cause a variety of health conditions.
People often experience short-term stress when they face an unpleasant event or situation that requires immediate attention. Common causes of acute stress include school, work, family matters, and injury.
Long-term stress is more common than short-term stress. It occurs when you feel anxious or worried about some type of threat that may or may not happen in the future. Common causes of long-term stress include relationships, money issues, health concerns…and uncertainty about whether you will be able to handle whatever comes your way.
Stressful events and situations can also put a strain on family life, friendships, work relationships. They may even lead you to neglect certain areas of your life.
You should try to limit the amount of stress in your overall lifestyle by eating well, avoiding too much caffeine, getting enough sleep.
The secrets to living longer and staying healthy lie in a combination of positive lifestyle factors.