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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

The Minimal Guide: 16 Essential Rules of Good Health and Healthy Living

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The right living activities can help to prevent or manage many chronic medical conditions and whilst good health can’t be overrated, most people take it for granted, forgetting the famous quote by Francois Rabelais – “Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering”.

Healthy living refers to practices consistent with supporting, improving, maintaining, and/or enhancing health. Healthy Living requires making healthy choices every day. This makes sense because if you’re not taking the necessary steps to improve your overall health you’re jeopardizing the quality of your life, leaving yourself at risk of ill health.

Attaining total health can feel like a juggling act and might be incredibly complicated probably because all too often when you’ve got a chia-seed yogurt in one hand, and a kale-spinach salad in the other, you drop both healthy foods to catch a big ol’ flame-broiled burger. But a healthier life is attainable if you turn that juggling act into a balancing act: Eat right, sleep well, de-stress enough, work out and, oh yeah, manage your day-to-day responsibilities.

“Health is a large word. It embraces not the body only, but the mind and spirit as well; and not today’s pain or pleasure alone, but the whole being and outlook of a man”, says James H. West. And with the dramatically increasing rate of preventable chronic diseases, including obesity, type 2 diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and several types of cancer, “healthy living” needs to become a way of life. Alas, many people are inadequately prepared or knowledgeable to get started on making the necessary healthy changes.

It is an undeniable fact that what you eat and drink, how much exercise you do, whether you smoke or drink alcohol, the amount of sleep you get, your levels of stress, are factors that affect your health, not only in terms of life expectancy but how long you can expect to live without experiencing chronic disease. Therefore, it is essential you do everything you can to ensure healthy living is central to your life.

Dozens, maybe hundreds, of self-help writers are happy to offer advice — but sometimes that’s part of the problem. How can you tell which advice to follow? If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Maybe it’s best to start with some common-sense principles and see where it leads you. The results might surprise you. That said, here are 16 essential rules of good health;

1 – Make the Doctor your Friend

One of the rules to maintain healthy living is to have a doctor that meets your personal needs. One who understands the difference between treating and guiding you through the wellness process. Never get tired of dropping by at the hospital for checkups, because rather than hurting you, it does a whole lot of good.

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Even though you’re healthy, you should have a doctor and go for checkups if you need to make the situation remain that way. Most people ignore the importance of doing medical check-ups even if they have cover for that. You do not need to fall ill to go for a health checkup. With that, it is essential that you go for check-ups to diagnose diseases before they advance. That way, it will be easier for doctors to treat it and for you too as in that way it would be less expensive.

2 – Eat Healthy Meals

Don’t just eat anything and everything that comes your way as your body requires a well-balanced diet to maintain the adequate amounts of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals needed to maintain a healthy body. Healthy eating can help you control your weight and reduce risk factors for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other health problems such as high cholesterol.

There is much written about what healthy eating entails. Health experts suggest a well-balanced diet should consist of complex carbohydrates, protein, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, and lots of water. Saturated fats, sugars, and salts should be kept to a minimum.

Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Eat in moderate proportions, eat as all-natural as possible, cut out processed foods, increase the amount of fiber and protein in your diet, and get the RDA of all your vitamins and minerals. And if all that sounds tough to fit into your busy lifestyle, consider high-quality supplements and dietary aids to help you get the nutrition your body deserves.

The food you eat will determine the life that you live, health-wise. Remember that your body depends on food to function. You should, therefore, make sure that you feed on nutritious food. You need to avoid processed foods, take more fruits and vegetables, take whole grains and avoid alcohol. It is also important to be considerate of the number of calories that you take in.

3 – Get Enough Sleep

It’s important to note that sleep plays a critical role in maintaining a properly functioning memory and sexual performance as well as avoiding weight gain. if that’s your thing. This is why you should sleep for at least 8 hours daily according to health experts because it helps to refresh the brain and keeps the body in perfect working condition.

Sleep contributes significantly to productivity. For better and quality sleep to maintain your productivity, you need to dedicate more hours to sleeping and also invest in comfortable and budget-friendly foam mattresses like the Love and Sleep Mattress which uses a special foam called Energex foam that combines the bouncy feel of a latex mattress with the extra supportive comfort of memory foam.

Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Lack of rest weakens your immune system and makes you susceptible to illness and disease. Taking time out for quality shut-eye is a key component of healthy living. If you aren’t getting a good eight hours of sleep a night, you may suffer from sleep deprivation which has a very negative impact on one’s health.

4 – Your Mind and Brain need a Breather

Taking a few moments out of the daily grind is essential to reduce stress, which makes you vulnerable to illness. It’s a way to give your mind and brain a “time-out” include breathing exercises and meditation, suggests Dr. Gregory Lewis Fricchione, director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. Better yet, try doing some yoga. You’ll not only banish stress but also tone your body in the process.

More so, you can elicit a “relaxation response” by performing diaphragmatic breathing, in which you hold your breath for a second, then slowly exhale through the mouth while focusing on a word or phrase, notes Fricchione.

5 – Develop a Positive Mind & Self Image

A healthy life begins on the inside. When you power up your mind with positive thoughts and energy, it will empower you to change your life positively, to positively shape your life, to help you create, live and enjoy the life you’ve always dreamed of. Loving yourself is the key to a healthy, happy lifestyle. Self-esteem is all about how much people value themselves; the pride they feel in themselves, and how worthwhile they feel.

Photo by alex bracken on Unsplash
Photo by alex bracken on Unsplash

Self-esteem is important because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. We are all driven internally by our perception of who we are. Low self-esteem and negative thinking are major impacts on your health, both physically and mentally which is why you need to program your mind for total success.

6 – An Exercise regimen should be Balanced

Moderate exercise can improve your quality of life by firming muscles, controlling weight, strengthening the heart and lungs, improving circulation and digestion, burning calories, and building strength, endurance and flexibility. We first appeared on this earth as hunters and gatherers, with bodies designed to move. We were not designed to sit in a chair all day. Sorry for telling you that but it’s true.

Photo by kike vega on Unsplash
Photo by kike vega on Unsplash

Daily physical activity can greatly improve your quality of life and lifespan. How often should you exercise? For healthy living, health experts suggest that you aim for a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, which is 30 minutes on 5 days. Walking is a great starting point. Experts suggest that regular exercise should include a mixture of muscle-building, stretching, and aerobics which provides cardiovascular conditioning.

7 – Keep a Slim Waist Size

If you’re aiming for a basic level of fit and healthy or you probably want a fully built body with chiseled 6-pack abs then you should track your waist measurement for an easy guideline.

Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash
Photo by Bill Oxford on Unsplash

Waist circumference can give you a better indicator of obesity more so than body weight, according to Dr. Lamm, director of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Men’s Health at New York University Langone Medical Center. “If you can keep your waist below 34, you’re probably in pretty good shape,” he says. A waist circumference over 34 means “you’re starting to build enough fat that puts you in danger of developing diabetes, heart disease or cancer,” notes Lamm.

8 – Eliminate Bad Habits

Bad habits prevent you from healthy living, there is no doubt about that. You may not want to admit it, but most of us have at least one bad habit. If you are committed to your health, then you have to admit to your bad habits, acknowledge their destructiveness, and go about changing them.

Ending these habits will increase your odds of being happy and healthy. Whether it be emotional eating, drinking alcohol in excess, smoking, having a sedentary lifestyle, not getting enough sleep, or another bad habit, the time has come where you replace these habits with far better and healthier ones.

RELATED: 37 Foods That Will Make Your Skin Glow According to Dermatologists

9 – Stay Hydrated

The human body needs water to work, and many of us don’t get enough of it. Dehydration can lead to irritability, forgetfulness, fatigue, even nightmares. Chronic dehydration can damage your kidneys. This is why you need to take the 8-glasses of water-a-day recommendation seriously. Did you know that water makes up sixty percent of your body weight? Well, now you know. That tells you that you need it.

Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash

Drinking water improves one’s physical performance, helps with weight loss, prevents headaches, and gives one protection against diseases like kidney stones, asthma, and constipation to mention a few. More so, water eliminates toxins, increases energy, and promotes better brain function. You can live only three days without it, and it is involved in every metabolic reaction in your body. When we are properly hydrated our heart and blood vessels work much better, along with all of our other bodily functions—we think better, our strength and endurance are better, we feel better, we are healthier, and we will live longer. So, get drinking!

10 – Practice Stress Management

Effective stress management is another key to healthy living. Stress can hurt your well-being, affect your sleep, lessen energy levels and cause a variety of illnesses. Stress isn’t preventable, but learning how to deal with it effectively can prevent it from negatively impacting your health.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash
Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Practicing positive self-talk, eliminating unnecessary stress, taking time away from work to relax keeps your stress levels manageable. Reduce your stress level by using progressive muscular relaxation, visualization, affirmations, and meditation all proven to reduce stress and increase a feeling of well-being.

11 – Avoid Harmful Use of Alcohol & Smoking

There is no safe level for drinking alcohol. Consuming alcohol can lead to health problems such as mental and behavioral disorders, including alcohol dependence, major NCDs such as liver cirrhosis, some cancers, and heart diseases, as well as injuries resulting from violence and road clashes and collisions.

Smoking causes NCDs such as lung disease, heart disease, and stroke. Smoke kills not only the direct smokers but even non-smokers through second-hand exposure. Currently, there are around 15.9 million Filipino adults who smoke tobacco but 7 in 10 smokers are interested or plan to quit.

If you are currently a smoker, it’s not too late to quit. Once you do, you will experience immediate and long-term health benefits. If you are not a smoker, that’s great! Don’t start!

12 – Stay Active

Get up and move. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete. You don’t have to be an athlete at all. Just get up and move, preferably out of doors. Walk, ride a bike, play tag with children, dance. Do whatever you most enjoy. You’ll feel better physically, and you’ll probably be happier and more relaxed too. 

Photo by <a href="https://unsplash.com/@peterconlan?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Peter Conlan</a> on <a href="https://unsplash.com/s/photos/energetic?utm_source=unsplash&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=creditCopyText">Unsplash</a>
Photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. This includes exercise and activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, traveling, and engaging in recreational pursuits. The amount of physical activity you need depends on your age but adults aged 18-64 years should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week. Increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week for additional health benefits.

13 – Be Social

Social people are predisposed to better health, according to Fricchione.

“There are health benefits to being prosocial as opposed to focusing socially on the self,” he notes. Social support and expressing love can improve overall resiliency, “and your capacity to give social support also has a tendency to feedback to you and pay dividends to your health,” notes Fricchione.

No, we’re not talking about Facebook. Make a date to spend some quality time face to face; your body and mind will thank you. Social people are predisposed to better health, according to Fricchione. Make sure you put down the smartphone and focus on your friends once you’re together, too. Social support and expressing love can improve overall resiliency, “and your capacity to give social support also has a tendency to feedback to you and pay dividends to your health,” notes Fricchione.

14 – Keep Attainable Goals

Mix in some reality into your training plans as well as your aspirations for healthy living, advises Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, founder of the University of Ottawa’s Bariatric Medical Institute and author of Why Diets Fail and How to Make Yours Work. That doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a good challenge, just make sure your goals are a mix of the two. “Setting goals that aren’t attainable is a recipe for disappointment,” Freedhoff says. Don’t forget to go easy on yourself, either. Getting to the gym 4 days a week rather than the 7 you were aiming for is still a great result.

15 – Think Long Term

Long-term health is more important than setting an arbitrary weight-loss goal for two months from now, according to Freedhoff. “People take these short-term outlooks,” he notes. “They try hard and then quit.”

“It doesn’t matter about your weight or fitness a month from now or two months from now; it matters a year or two from now,” says Freedhoff. When we’re talking about your health years down the road, we’re talking about your ability to play with your kids and grandkids, travel well into your older years, and maintain some of your favorite hobbies. Let that be your motivation.

16 – Power up your Morning

What could be more important than starting the morning perfectly and being energized and optimistic? Have you ever noticed that when your morning gets off to a bad start, everything just seems to go downhill from there? You need to create a healthy morning routine beneficial for your physical and emotional health which you perform for one hour immediately after wake up.

Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash
Photo by Standsome Worklifestyle on Unsplash

As you adopt these new habits into your life, you will find that your overall health improves; you will stave off stress and support wellbeing. Within this hour you can include exercise, stretching, deep breathing, visualization, journaling, and affirmations which together will create an empowering morning routine that gets you out of bed excited and raring to get started.

SUMMARY

There is a growing body of scientific evidence that shows our lifestyles play a huge part in how healthy we are, and when for too long you have a bad, unhealthy lifestyle the consequences can be disastrous.

Thus, you must make healthy living a priority in your life because if you keep going on auto-pilot, ignoring the signals that your body gives you, then you’ll end up sacrificing your health and happiness. If you commit yourself to healthy living, you give yourself the best chance for health and happiness.

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