What is a Healthy Lifestyle
Healthy Lifestyle means the aggregation of decisions by individuals which affect their health, and over which they more or less have control. Being physically active and eating a healthy diet are keys to a healthy lifestyle. However, a healthy lifestyle is more than just diet and exercise. It is the steps, actions and strategies one puts in place to achieve optimum health. Today we go over the components of leading a healthy lifestyle and how it’s important to lead a balanced life.
The study involving 55,685 participants at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and colleagues recently showed that living a healthy lifestyle makes it possible to outsmart your genes and significantly reduce the number of heart attacks and other heart issues. Among participants at high genetic risk, a favorable lifestyle was associated with a nearly 50% lower relative risk of coronary artery disease than was an unfavorable lifestyle 1. Healthcare providers have long preached the importance of healthy lifestyle habits to improve heart health, especially for those with a family history of heart disease. But until now there has never been a systematic evaluation of how – or even if – genetic risk and lifestyle interact to impact a person’s overall risk. Although the study examined only heart disease, improving lifestyle may have other benefits. The study authors added that their findings would likely prove relevant for cutting risk for diabetes, cancer and other chronic diseases as well.
By living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar normal and lower your risk for heart disease and heart attack 2. A healthy lifestyle includes the following:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Getting enough physical activity.
- Not smoking or using other forms of tobacco.
- Limiting alcohol use.
In general, most would agree that a healthy person doesn’t smoke, is at a healthy weight, eats a balanced healthy diet, thinks positively, feels relaxed, exercises regularly, has good relationships, and benefits from a good life balance. So in addition to healthy eating foods, a healthy lifestyle also includes:
- Healthy Diet
Choosing healthful meal and snack options can help you avoid heart disease and its complications. Be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.
Eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fat, and cholesterol and high in fiber can help prevent high cholesterol 3. Limiting salt (sodium) in your diet also can lower your blood pressure. Limiting sugar in your diet can lower you blood sugar level to prevent or help control diabetes.
+ Eat less saturated fats, which comes from animal products (like cheese, fatty meats, and dairy desserts) and tropical oils (like palm oil).
+ Stay away from trans fats, which may be in baked goods (like cookies and cake), snack foods (like microwave popcorn), fried foods, and margarines.
+ Limit foods that are high in cholesterol, including fatty meats and organ meat (like liver and kidney).
+ Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt.
+ Eat more foods that are high in fiber, like oatmeal, oat bran, beans, and lentils.
+ Eat a heart-healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables and fruits and is low in salt and sugar.
- Healthy Weight
Being overweight or obese increases your risk for heart disease, weight-related diseases and other health issues. To determine if your weight is in a healthy range, doctors often calculate your body mass index (BMI) and measure your waist-hip-ratio. If you know your weight and height, you can calculate your BMI. Doctors sometimes also use waist and hip measurements to calculate excess body fat. BMI and waist circumference are two measures that can be used as screening tools to estimate weight status in relation to potential disease risk. A trained healthcare provider should perform other health assessments in order to evaluate disease risk and diagnose disease status.
Excessive abdominal fat may be serious because it places you at greater risk for developing obesity-related conditions, such as Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. Your waistline may be telling you that you have a higher risk of developing obesity-related conditions if you are 4:
+ A man whose waist circumference is more than 40 inches
+ A non-pregnant woman whose waist circumference is more than 35 inches
- Physical Activity
Physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels. For adults, the Surgeon General recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, like brisk walking or bicycling, every week. Children and adolescents should get 1 hour of physical activity every day.
- No Smoking
Cigarette smoking greatly increases your risk for heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. If you do smoke, quitting will lower your risk for heart disease. Your doctor can suggest ways to help you quit.
- Limited Alcohol
Avoid drinking too much alcohol, which can raise your blood pressure. Men should have no more than 2 drinks per day, and women only 1.
A Healthy Lifestyle Protects you against Heart Disease
It’s no secret that healthy living can reduce your risk for developing heart disease 5.
But ever wonder how much it may help ? Up to 92%, suggests a study published Jan. 6, 2015, in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. It evaluated health habits of 90,000 young and middle-aged women nurses during a 20-year period (from 1991 to 2011).
The healthy lifestyle habits included:
- not smoking;
- exercising for at least 2.5 hours each week;
- watching TV for fewer than seven hours a week;
- consuming a diet rich in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains but low in red meat, refined grains, and sugar;
- consuming no more than one alcoholic drink daily;
- and having a body mass index in the normal range.
Only around 5 percent of the women studied fit into this category at any one time. Compared with 95 percent of women who had none of those healthy habits.
About 45 percent of the women developed one of these risk factors (cardiac disease like diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure), during the 20-year study period.
For women who had diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol and who also adhered to a healthy lifestyle had a much lower risk of subsequently developing heart disease — i.e. having a heart attack — compared to women who did not adhere to a healthy lifestyle.
The study found that women who followed six healthy living recommendations — such as eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise — dropped their odds of heart disease about 92 percent over 20 years, compared to women living the unhealthiest lifestyles.
“Adopting or maintaining a healthy lifestyle can substantially reduce the incidence of diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, as well as reduce the incidence of coronary artery disease in young women,” said the study’s lead author, Andrea Chomistek, an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at Indiana University Bloomington.
Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle was also associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing heart disease among women who had already developed a cardiovascular risk factor like diabetes, hypertension or high cholesterol.
The researchers also estimated that unhealthy lifestyles were responsible for almost 75 percent of heart disease cases in younger and middle-aged women.
Why do those habits provide so much protection against heart disease? Limiting TV watching frees up time for exercise, and the other activities are known to reduce blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar, which reduce the three major risk factors for heart disease—hypertension, high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, and diabetes. And even though the study involved young and middle-aged women, its a remainder to you that it’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Would these findings be similar in men ?
“There is unequivocal evidence that a healthy eating pattern, being physically active, maintaining an ideal body weight and not smoking are strongly related to reduced risk of heart disease,” said Donna Arnett, chair of epidemiology at University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health and past president of the American Heart Association. Who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.
A Healthy Lifestyle may help you prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia, is characterized by the accumulation of two types of protein in the brain: tangles (tau) and plaques (amyloid-beta). Eventually, Alzheimer’s disease kills brain cells and takes people’s lives.
What causes Alzheimer’s ? We still aren’t sure. For about 99% of all cases, amyloid and tau are closely associated with Alzheimer’s disease, but many things may contribute to the development of symptoms, such as inflammation in the brain, vascular risk factors, and lifestyle 6.
So far, evidence suggests that several healthy lifestyle habits may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease.
What you should do:
- Exercise. The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease or slow the progression in people who have symptoms. The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.
- Eat a Mediterranean diet. This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimer’s disease or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits; whole grains; olive oil; nuts; legumes; fish; moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy; moderate amounts of red wine; and red meat only sparingly.
- Getting enough sleep. Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.
Even though the authors don’t have enough evidence that all healthy lifestyle choices prevent Alzheimer’s disease, the authors do know healthy lifestyle can prevent other chronic problems. For example, limiting alcohol intake can help reduce the risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer. So it’s wise to make as many healthy lifestyle choices as you can. “They’re all beneficial, and if they wind up helping you avoid Alzheimer’s, all the better,” says Dr. Marshall 7.
But don’t feel like you need to rush into a ramped-up routine of living a healthier lifestyle. All it takes if one small change at a time, such as:
- exercising an extra day per week (try adding 15 minutes more to your exercise routine)
- getting rid of one unhealthy food from your diet
- going to bed half an hour earlier, or shutting off electronic gadgets half an hour earlier than normal, to help you wind down
- listening to a new kind of music, or listening to a podcast about a topic you’re unfamiliar with
- or having lunch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while.
A Healthy Lifestyle may help you prevent Cancer
Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States and most cancers are not inevitable. Genes are important, but diet and lifestyle are even more important in most cases 8.
In a study involving 89,571 women and 46,399 men white population, published online May 19, 2016, in JAMA Oncology, Dr. Giovannucci and fellow researcher 9 found that a healthy lifestyle can prevent 40% of cancer cases and 50% of cancer deaths in the United States amongst the white population. The researchers examined the lifestyles of about 136,000 white men and women and found that four healthy habits were associated with preventing lung, colon, breast, pancreatic, and kidney cancer. The habits: 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, maintaining a body mass index between 18.5 and 27.5, no smoking, and drinking only in moderation (up to one drink per day for women, two for men). The authors suggested about 20 percent to 40 percent of cancer cases and about half of cancer deaths could potentially be prevented through modifications to adopt the healthy lifestyle pattern of the low-risk group. These findings reinforce the predominate importance of lifestyle factors in determining cancer risk. The takeaway message for you: you can lower cancer risk, and it’s never too late to start benefiting from healthy lifestyle changes 8.
Healthy Lifestyle interventions provide benefits to Women with Gestational Diabetes (or Diabetes in Pregnancy) and their Babies
Gestational diabetes or diabetes in pregnancy, is a glucose intolerance leading to high blood glucose levels that is first recognised during pregnancy and which usually normalises after giving birth. Diabetes during pregnancy has been linked to many short-term and long-term health problems for the mother and her baby. The main way to treat diabetes in pregnancy is through lifestyle changes such as diet, exercise and checking blood glucose levels 10.
Women with gestational diabetes have an increased risk of developing high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) and are more likely to have their labour induced. The babies of women with Gestational diabetes are more likely to be large when born and this can be linked to babies having birth trauma (bones broken or nerves damaged during the birth) and the need for giving birth by caesarean section.
Lifestyle interventions that include two or more components of dietary advice, physical activity, education, and self-monitoring of blood glucose are the first-line treatment for most women diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Interventions such as healthy eating and physical activity aim to help women maintain their blood glucose levels within a target range and to improve health outcomes for the mother and baby.
From a review involving fifteen randomised controlled trials (45 publications), involving 4501 women and 3768 infants. It was concluded that pregnant mothers who received receiving lifestyle interventions (healthy eating, physical activity and self-monitoring of blood glucose concentrations) were less likely to have postnatal depression and were more likely to achieve postpartum weight goals. Exposure to lifestyle interventions was associated with a decreased risk of the baby being born large (defined as a newborn’s weight, length, or head circumference that lies above the 90th percentile for that gestational age) and decreased neonatal adiposity.
The contribution of individual components of lifestyle interventions could not be assessed. Ten per cent of participants also received some form of pharmacological therapy.
Physical (For The Body)
- Good Nutrition, Eating Right
- Getting Physically Fit, Beneficial Exercise,
- Adequate Rest and Sleep,
- Proper Stress Management.
- Build The Love relationship you want with your spouse and loved ones
Emotional Wellness (For The Mind)
- Self Love (you are nature’s greatest miracle, you are unique, rare and you are valuable).
- Self Forgiveness,
- Self-Supportive Attitudes,
- Positive Thoughts and Viewpoints,
- Positive Self-Image.
- Inner Calmness,
- Openness to Your Creativity,
- Trust in Your Inner Knowing.
You Also Need to Give and Receive
- Love and Compassion,
- Practice Mindfulness,
- You Need to Laugh and Experience Happiness,
- You Need Joyful Relationships With Yourself and Others.
All Suffering Arises From Self Centered Thinking.
You End Suffering By Looking at the Truth.
Only You have a choice to either live your life in a Beautiful State or a Stressful State.
You can’t always control the things that happen outside of you. Most of the time you can, but not always. But you can ALWAYS control your inner experience. Anything that goes on inside you that is immobilizing, stops you, gets in your way, or keeps you from reaching your goals – ANYTHNG that happens inside: YOU CHOOSE. It’s Yours and YOU own it all.
The Power of Your Choice
No matter what conditions we are faced with:
- You can choose your attitude toward your health and fitness (which is the single most important choice),
- You can choose to feel valued and appreciated,
- You can choose what to eat,
- You can choose what to drink,
- You can choose whether to exercise or not,
- You can choose how much weight to lose,
- You can choose to be self-disciplined,
- You can choose to have the high energy you need to do what you want,
- You can choose to wake up with enthusiasm every day,
- You can choose how to handle adversity,
- You can choose to appreciate others and let them know it,
- You can choose to handle your emotions,
- You can choose to mold and develop yourself,
- You can choose to confidently find solutions for the challenges in your life,
- You can choose to laugh easily and often, especially at yourself,
- You can choose to have a circle of warm, caring friends,
- You can choose your own purpose in life.
Do the choices you make every day get you what you want ?
Each one of these choices happens INSIDE and is not controlled by ANYONE but you. Everyone has the ability to control and choose these things. Just think of the difference the right choices in these areas can make for you.
If there’s something you don’t like about yourself — if you are anxious, shy, fat, unhappy, if you hate your job, if you’re stressed out — YOU HAVE CHOSEN IT. Your choices got you here. And you can change almost anything in your lives if you are aware of your choices and your desire is strong enough.
The Key is Your Life Purpose and Life Vision – life without a Vision and Purpose is meaningless, directionless and your life will go astray and fall apart over time.
The Wheel of Life
- Your HEALTH and FITNESS Life. Define exactly What you want, WHY you want it and what you need To Do to get it. e.g. healthy eating, regular exercise, proper sleeping pattern
- Your EMOTIONAL Life. Explore the nature of emotions and discover how you can further develop your emotional intelligence. Make your emotions work for you, instead of living in reaction mode. Sharing your feelings and thoughts with your loved ones.
- Your INTELLECTUAL Life. It’s time to think about thinking ! Your intellectual life holds the power to move you quickly and forcefully towards your life’s goals.
- Your CHARACTER. This is the foundational category that affects every other area of your life. Define the person you need to become in order to achieve the life you desire. Learn how to consciously choose the character traits you want to build into your life and develop a strategy for accomplishing that. The sky is the limit in this category, so have fun!
- Your LOVE RELATIONSHIP with your spouse, family and loved ones. Dig deep to define the values and expectations for your love life. You’ll achieve clarity on what you really want in this area of your life and identify what steps you can take to create and nurture an extraordinary love relationship.
- Your SOCIAL Life. Thoughtfully evaluate your relationships with friends and extended family. You’ll come to understand which relationships contribute positively to your life and which ones drain you. You’ll learn what actions you can take to strengthen your most important relationships and what you can do let unhealthy relationships go.
- Your TIME.
- Your PARENTING Vision and Life.
- Your CAREER. Explore the meaning and rewards of a great career. Discover the foundational pillars upon which a successful, fulfilling career is based. Learn new strategies to take any career to a higher level and make more money in the process !
- Your FINANCIAL Life. Deeply explore the true nature of money – what it is, where it comes from and how wealth is actually created. From this process of self-discovery, you’ll come to view yourself and your financial life in an entirely new way.
- Your CONTRIBUTIONS to society.
- Your SPIRITUAL Life. Journey into your spirituality to examine, define and document your deepest beliefs about life, the world, and your place in it. Discover a strength deep within and gain a valuable new perspective on the purpose and meaning of your life.
- Your QUALITY OF LIFE.
- Your LIFE VISION – take an in-depth look and openly thought through your entire life using the above life categories as a guide, one category at a time. Now, you’re going to EXPERIENCE the life you intend to create. Using a deep, visualizations exercise, take a journey to your future… So you can see, feel, touch, and taste it… Experience your life 5 years from now – crystal clear, vivid and compelling. After this exercise, you’ll have a newfound clarity for how you will live from this day forward. The next step is to take massive action to build and manifest the life you want ! Remove all the barriers between you and your Life Vision.
Your future is in your amazing and wonderful mind. It contains everything you want out of life and all the strategies you need to get there. You are holding your life vision in your hands. Without a Life Vision – you’re not clear on exactly what you want in every important area of your life.
Everything in Life requires a focused and inspired actions in order for you to attain the goals you set out to achieve. Your Love Life and your health also require the time, the energy and the rituals (daily, weekly, monthly and yearly) with constant review to make them better. Greet each day with Love in your heart. This is the greatest secret of success in all life ventures. Failure will never overtake you if you form good habits and you are determination to succeed is strong enough.
To be active every day is a step towards better health and a healthy body weight. It is recommended that adults accumulate at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity each week and that children and youth accumulate at least 60 minutes per day. You don’t have to do it all at once. Choose a variety of activities spread throughout the week.
Start slowly and build up.
- The New England Journal of Medicine December 15, 2016, N Engl J Med 2016; 375:2349-2358 – Genetic Risk, Adherence to a Healthy Lifestyle, and Coronary Disease – http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1605086
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – Preventing Heart Disease: Healthy Living Habits – https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/healthy_living.htm
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. – Preventing or Managing High Cholesterol: Healthy Living Habits – https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/healthy_living.htm
- National Institute of Health, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute – The Practical Guide: Identification, Evaluation and Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults. – https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/prctgd_c.pdf
- Harvard University, Harvard Health Publications. – Healthy lifestyle protects women against heart disease – http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/healthy-lifestyle-protects-women-against-heart-disease
- Harvard University, Harvard Health Publications. – A healthy lifestyle may help you sidestep Alzheimer’s – http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-healthy-lifestyle-may-help-you-sidestep-alzheimers-2017010910955
- Harvard University, Harvard Health Publications. – A healthy lifestyle may help you sidestep Alzheimer’s Disease – http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/a-healthy-lifestyle-may-help-you-sidestep-alzheimers-2017010910955
- Harvard University, Harvard Health Publications. – More evidence that a healthy lifestyle might help prevent cancer – http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/more-evidence-that-a-healthy-lifestyle-might-help-prevent-cancer
- Cochrane Review 4 May 2017 – Lifestyle interventions for treating women with gestational diabetes (or diabetes in pregnancy) – http://www.cochrane.org/CD011970/PREG_lifestyle-interventions-treating-women-gestational-diabetes-or-diabetes-pregnancy