Healthy Lifestyle Benefits
What Is A Healthy Lifestyle? (A Definition)
There is more than one way to stay healthy, and if you asked people around you what a healthy lifestyle is, chances are you’d get a different answer every time. This difference stems from the fact that everyone makes choices based on their cultural and personal priorities and can only access options available within their socioeconomic and geographical environments (Cockerham, 2021). Therefore, a healthy lifestyle can be defined as a health-promoting behavior pattern based on available personal choices.
So what do we mean by health-promoting behavior slot88 patterns? Simply put, they might be any habits associated with positive health outcomes as well as the lack of health-harming practices. With so many choice combinations, it is essential to understand the benefits of healthy choices and distinguish them from unhealthy choices.
Healthy Lifestyle Benefits
Scientists have long been conducting studies focused on the effects of lifestyle on health and wellbeing. A large meta-analysis that included the health outcome data of over 500,000 individuals concluded that adherence to a healthy lifestyle was linked to lower mortality risk (Loef and Walach, 2012).
A more recent study tracked the health habits and outcomes of over 120,000 participants for three decades. Individuals that met the researcher’s healthy lifestyle criteria were far less likely to die prematurely because of cardiovascular disease or cancer (Li et al., 2018). But how much lower is the risk of premature deaths when people live healthy lifestyles? According to this study, women with healthy habits lived an average of fourteen years longer than their counterparts with unhealthy lifestyles (Li et al., 2018). In contrast, men with healthy lifestyles lived approximately twelve additional years (Li et al., 2018).
Of course, a longer lifespan isn’t the only benefit of a healthy lifestyle. A study with over 3,000 men and women between ages 55 and 85 has shown that individuals with healthy lifestyles performed better than their counterparts in all measures (Visser et al., 2018). For instance, the individuals in the healthy lifestyle group were faster in physical agility tests and less likely to display symptoms of depression (Visser et al., 2018). They also had slower declines in cognitive function and social interactions (Visser et al., 2018).
In short, living a healthy lifestyle can help us feel healthier and be less likely to be depressed. Moreover, we might live an additional decade by adopting health-promoting habits.
Opposite of A Healthy Lifestyle
When we are asked to describe what an unhealthy lifestyle is, most of us can immediately come up with a long list of behaviors that put our health and well-being at risk, even though they may feel good. In short, a lifestyle that includes choices that lead to adverse health outcomes is the opposite of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some behaviors that are typically associated with unhealthy lifestyles.
- Binge-eating or overeating
- Anorexia or other unhealthy caloric restrictions
- Consuming processed foods and beverages
- Heavy drinking
- Using drugs
- Poor hygiene
- Lack of physical activity
- Lack of adequate sleep
- Spending too much time on social media or watching TV
- Risky sexual behaviors
- Skipping routine medical and dental checkups
You might have noticed that this list doesn’t contain every unhealthy choice. Moreover, several other practices sneak into our routines by appearing healthy (i.e., fad diets and juice cleanses). Nevertheless, these behaviors may end up damaging our well-being in the long run. Although the unhealthy effects of the behaviors on this list and elsewhere are apparent to most, many people find it hard to disengage their lifestyles from one or more of them. Generally, the reason for our inability to quit unhealthy behaviors is trifold; these behaviors feel good, are easily accessible or more effortless than their healthier counterparts, and have become habits in the past.
Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Now that we discussed the behaviors associated with unhealthy lifestyles, you might be wondering slot online about healthy choices. As mentioned earlier, specific healthy lifestyle choices will differ for each individual depending on where they live and other factors, such as socioeconomic status. Yet, most healthy lifestyle options have overarching characteristics. Here are some of the shared features of healthy lifestyles.
- Eating whole foods instead of processed foods
- Being mindful about food portions
- Avoiding substances of abuse
- Being physically active
- Getting adequate sleep
- Good hygiene habits
- Practicing safe sex
- Prioritizing medical and mental care needs
Choosing options that fit one or more of these criteria may be easier said than done, at least initially. Suppose a person spends most of her day in the office, sitting in front of a computer. Then she rushes to pick up her children from school and drives them to their activities. Moreover, having very little time to cook, she picks dinner at a drive-thru most weekday nights. After dinner, she watches a few hours of TV and falls asleep on the couch without even brushing her teeth. Changes are, this person might feel quite guilty about her lack of physical activity, food choices, and evening habits. But with so many aspects of her lifestyle being less than ideal, she might feel overwhelmed by the thought of changing them. So let’s learn how to make healthy lifestyle changes without getting demoralized.
Making Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Making healthy lifestyle changes starts with a step-by-step plan. In other words, before you start doing many things differently at once, you might want to assess what parts of your lifestyle you’d like to improve and how you might be able to improve them. Then, you can determine which changes you’d like to make first and how much time you might need to turn that change into a habit. Therefore, the key to making healthy lifestyle changes is to start small and make only one realistic change at a time.
Taking small steps might appear slow and ineffective during moments when you feel self-motivated to quit all harmful habits cold turkey, and you might be tempted to drastically change every aspect of your life. After all, you may want to live a healthier life as soon as you can and reap slot terbaru the benefits of a healthy lifestyle sooner than later. Nonetheless, many people become frustrated when they try to change too much in a brief span and cause themselves unnecessary stress. Taking small steps ensures that more of the progress you make is successful before moving on to the next. In addition, small and carefully planned steps also allow you to try alternatives if the change you try doesn’t work out so that you find something else that works for you.