Should you just get used to living with a chronic condition? You may have been told by your health practitioner that achy joints and low energy are due to the natural aging process, but that isn’t true. By following these simple healthy lifestyle tips, you will regain control of your health, live an energetic, vibrant life, and improve your well-being.
Healthy Lifestyle Tips For An Improved Quality Of Life
Close to 85% of chronic diseases are due to diet, exercise, and lifestyle factors according to the Major Medical Journals. In childhood, we have energy, flexibility, stamina, and can digest almost anything without tummy aches. As we get older, our body’s ability to withstand bad lifestyle habits start to diminish.
Those bad habits can end up affecting our quality of life. Things that we might have took for granted when we were younger can now make us physically or mentally ill. If you are reading this because you want to maintain your good health, here is my perspective on the core healthy lifestyle habits that are vital to maintaining health over time.
If you find your health slipping and are already dealing with illness, following these tips will likely reverse some of your symptoms and provide you with improved health.
1. Healthy Nutrition
Avoid empty calories. Those are calories that provide little to no nutritional value. You are what you eat. So eat healthy. Be healthy. Here are some key points of good nutrition for a healthy lifestyle.
- Avoid or limit processed foods such as cookies, bacon, canned meats and frozen dinners
- Limit pork and beef
- Try to eat only grass fed meats
- Eat at least 2-3 eight ounce servings of fish per week
- Stay hydrated throughout the day
- Eat more foods high in fiber such as oatmeal, beans, nuts (unsalted, unsweetened), and fruits
- Limit or avoid sugar-laden foods and drinks
2. Exercise To Maintain Lean Muscle
A recent study by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that one of the most important markers for healthy aging is your amount of lean muscle. Maintaining muscle seems to be your best bet for aging healthily.
Exercise reduces joint pain, increases our energy, helps us sleep better at night, improves our mood, and lowers the risk of many diseases. Try to focus on strength training, cardiovascular endurance, and flexibility. Exercise 4-5 times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time.
3. Increase Your Protein Intake
Animal protein increases lean muscle mass better than any other. Beef, fish, wild game meats, and poultry contain the greatest concentrations of essential and branched-chain amino acids. As well as creatine which are crucial for building and maintaining lean muscle.
Ensuring optimal protein intake doesn’t just increase your lean muscle, it also improves blood pressure, blood sugars, inflammation, and cancer risk. A recent study at Harvard University also found that a high protein diet was far more superior at lowering blood pressure than a low-protein, high-carb diet.
The group consuming a high-protein diet also had the greatest increases in good HDL cholesterol and lower levels of triglycerides.
4. Manage Your Stress
Stress kills, literally. It can be the foundation that causes a chain reaction of health issues that can add up and become too much to deal with. Manage your stress levels before it gets to be too much to handle. Or locks you into a miserable existence.
Here are ways to help lower stress levels:
- Laugh more
- Exercise- Funny but, putting physical stress on your body through exercise can relieve mental stress. Try yoga.
- Write a journal of what you are dealing with or are thankful for
- Try chewing a stick of gum. You’ll be amazed at how it can help you calm down
- Spend more time with family and friends
- Learn to say no to things that have stressed you out
5. Cut Down On Carbs
A high carb diet wreaks havoc on your brain cells (neurons) and can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Healthy living habits should include cutting down the carbs to help combat this. Adopting a lower-carb diet puts the emphasis back on lean meats, fish, healthy fats, fruits and lots of veggies. All of which are staples of a Paleo diet, which helps restore optimal blood sugars and support healthy brain function.
6. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
Years of working overtime, side jobs and hustles may have caused you to develop bad sleeping habits. Tricking your body to thinking it’s ok for the sake of making money. It’s not, as you get older that will need to change or it will cause a decline of your already sub-par health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Try to go to bed and awaken at about the same time daily.
7. Do The Work
They say “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This means to CHOOSE to do the work now, so you’re not FORCED to deal with something you’ll wish you didn’t have to later. Nothing is a sure thing. But time and time again staying active, eating healthy and cutting down stress levels are all proven to lessen the risk of developing multiple, major diseases. As well as reversing the course of some current afflictions.
8. Stay Active
Maintaining an active lifestyle and good cardiovascular health is the best prevention against congestive heart failure (CHF). Where the heart is no longer capable of pumping enough blood throughout the body to match the body’s requirements.
Be sure to include at least 20 – 30 minutes of activity daily, in the form of walking, strength training (e.g. squats, sit-ups, push-ups, etc.), and stretching. Strength training is a powerful weapon for keeping your heart strong and leading a healthy life. It also helps to increase your concentration of fast-twitch muscle fibers.
While we mostly think of these fibers as crucial for helping us lift more, jump higher, or run faster, they are also critical for another herculean task. Fast-twitch muscle fibers can help you break your fall or “catch yourself” before falling over. Hip fractures account for over 250,000 hospital visits amongst the 65-over population.
By maintaining an active lifestyle and supporting your muscles with enough protein, you’ll help prevent falls and hip fractures from taking place. Leading a healthy lifestyle by staying active will help to improve your quality of life.
9. Increase Antioxidants
Antioxidants are naturally healthy substances that can prevent or slow damage to cells caused by free radicals, which are unstable molecules that the body produces as a reaction to environmental and other pressures.
Try to include the following foods rich in antioxidants into your diet:
- Vitamin A: Dairy produce, eggs, orange and yellow fruits and vegetables
- Vitamin C: Most fruits and vegetables, especially berries, oranges, tomatoes and bell peppers
- Vitamin D: Salmon, herring, mackerel, red meat and sardines
- Vitamin E: Nuts and seeds, pumpkin, sunflower and other vegetable oils, and green, leafy vegetables
- Beta-carotene: Brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, spinach, and mangoes
- Lutein: Green, leafy vegetables, grapes, corn, papaya, and oranges
- Lycopene: Pink and red fruits and vegetables, including guava, tomatoes and watermelon
- Selenium: Rice, corn, wheat, and other whole grains, as well as brazil nuts, eggs, cheese, and legumes
Other foods that are believed to be good sources of antioxidants include:
- legumes such as black beans or kidney beans
- green and black teas
- dark chocolate
- goji berries
10. Maintain A Positive Mindset
Health benefits of positive thinking:
Researchers continuously explore the effects of positive thinking and optimism on health. Health benefits that positive thinking may provide include:
- Increased life span
- Lower rates of depression
- Lower levels of distress
- Optimized immune system
- Better psychological and physical well-being
- Better cardiovascular health and reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease
- Better coping skills during hardships and times of stress
- Better cognitive and memory ability
It’s not clear why people who engage in positive thinking experience these health benefits. One theory is that having a positive mindset enables you to cope better with stressful situations, which reduces the harmful health effects of stress on your body.
Maintaining your health is necessary to live a full and prosperous life. Your chronological age is just a number, don’t put limits on your mind and body. Your body and physiology will be what you want it to be. If you live a sedentary lifestyle and eat the wrong foods, your brain and body will suffer.
If you lead a healthy lifestyle and eat clean, healthy whole foods and stay active by exercising and moving your body. You will be amazed at your sustained level of vitality and youthfulness.