Elements of a healthy lifestyle

Lifestyle is defined as the way or manner by which people live their lives. This is often reflected in their activities, beliefs, interests, opinions and values, and influenced by certain factors such as family, culture and social status.

What is a healthy lifestyle?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as the state of complete, physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of a disease or infirmity.”  From this definition, we can say that a healthy lifestyle is more than just diet and exercise. It’s not just about being physically fit and free from any health abnormalities but also having a happy and well-balanced physical, mental and social life.

So how do you know if you are living a healthy lifestyle? Below are the key elements of a healthy lifestyle. And if you’re doing most if not all of them, it means you’re on the right track.

1. A healthy balanced diet

The key elements of a healthy lifestyleNutritionists and dietitians will tell you that a healthy diet consists of three basic macro-nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

Please throw away the misconception that carbohydrates are only pastas, rice or breads. No, no, no! Carbohydrates may also take the form of certain fruits, vegetables and some legumes.

Proteins are often in the form of lean meat and nuts while fats come from oils like almonds, coconut and peanut oil. Consuming a well-balanced nutritious meal regularly ensures that the body receives the nutrients required for it to perform all its functions needed to sustain life.

Will it hurt to indulge yourself once in a while with some sweets and fast foods? Not really! Just remember to always eat in moderation, because like what they say, Too much of anything is bad for you.

Accordingly, food is capable of causing a specific effect in our bodies depending on what kinds we are consuming. Some foods can cause us to stay healthy while others can cause unwanted conditions, so it is very important to watch what you eat.

I am reminded of my former boss. Every time her kids whine for sweets and some fast food, she would always tell them, You are what you eat.”

2. Drinking enough water

We learned from our physiology professors that roughly 60% of the body is made up of water. So when we drink lots of water, our body’s fluid balance is maintained which helps transport nutrients in the body, digests food, and regulates body temperature.

Drinking lots of water also helps with decongestion and dehydration and it helps the body bounce back from feeling under the weather. The updated recommended amount of water intake is 3.7 liters (15 cups) for the average adult male and 2.7 liters (11 cups) for the average female.

Due to our hectic schedules at work and fast-paced lifestyle, we often forget to drink water. So how are we supposed to meet the required volume of water intake? By keeping your drinking bottles with you all the time.

You may set a specific time during working hours to drink a glass of water. This is to make sure you getting enough fluids to keep your body healthy and energized all the time.

3. Regular exercise and engaging in physical activities

The key elements of a healthy lifestyleAs the human body is designed to be on the move for a minimum of 14 hours a day, any amount of physical activity is better than none at all. However, the recommended amount is around 2 hours and 30 minutes every week.

You can use a pedometer to track your physical activity levels and stay on target.

What if your work requires you to sit in front of your computer monitor for 8 or more hours? You can try waking up one hour earlier than usual so that you can spend a few minutes on your treadmill or go for a brisk walk or jog before going to work.

Exercising before starting your day at work is not only proven to make you feel better but you will have more energy for the entire day.

4. Good quality sleep

Sleep is probably one of the most important activities of the day, yet it is the one we sacrifice the most. This should not be so because it is a crucial element in itself. Sleeping for less than seven hours a day is more likely to cause not only weight issues but also other health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders.

We often hear people say that the older we get, the lesser sleep we’ll need. It’s not true at all! I am in my early 40’s but I love sleeping a lot.

Before I came across an article saying that the National Sleep Association recommends seven to nine hours of sleep every night, I used to feel guilty for sleeping for 7-9 hours. But getting good quality sleep will enable us to be more effective and productive in our jobs or businesses.

5. “No” to smoking and drinking alcohol

The key elements of a healthy lifestyleSmoking and drinking alcohol are known to be major risk factors for various forms of cardiovascular disease. Not only are they life threatening risks to us, they also threaten the wellness of those around us. For instance, passive smokers are more likely to develop lung cancer than active smokers.

 

6. Proper stress management

The key elements of a healthy lifestyleIn today’s fast-paced life, stress is inevitable. We get stressed out just by waiting for our food to be served at the diner, or by the noise that our neighbors create when they are playing video games.

Stress always gets in the way of our health and life goals. And it can lead to poor sleep, weight loss and adoption of more inactive behaviors.

That’s why it’s very important to manage our stress well by socializing or going out with friends to the movies or to see an opera.

You can play some sports or just hang out and bond with your family and loved ones. Some choose other forms of relaxation such as meditation or yoga.

7. A healthy spiritual life

A healthy lifestyle does not only consist of physical, mental and social health, it also includes a healthy spiritual life. How is your relationship with God? When was the last time you spent minutes or hours talking to God and worshiping Him?

A healthy spiritual life is also a key element of a healthy lifestyle. In the same way that our physical body requires a healthy and balanced diet, our spiritual life also needs a balance of faith building activities.

A healthy spiritual life can be attained and maintained by spending time with God during your devotion time, reading and meditating God’s word, joining other believers in fellowship and corporate worship at church, getting involved in your church-sponsored community services and attending cell group Bible studies.

We may do everything we can to live a healthy lifestyle but God being the author and giver of life is the One who sustains us.

God is the source of our breath, our health, our strength and everything we have. It is just proper to give Him back the praise, worship and thanksgiving that He so deserves.

Conclusion

Choosing to live healthy is something you should start today and you will surely not regret it. It’s sad but true that most people do not pay much attention to their health until it’s already too late.

Good health is one of the many things we cannot take back after it’s gone. So it doesn’t matter how young or old you are, take into consideration each key element and start living a healthy life today!

Should you have anything more to add please leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you!

22 thoughts on “The Key Elements of a Healthy Lifestyle”

  1. This is a great exhaustive list.  I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle, but like most people, I struggle sometimes with a few of the elements you list here.  I especially have a hard time with the first one!  Especially the sweets part!  

    I tend to over do it when it comes to sugar, I know it’s not good for me, but it’s almost like an addiction.  I have to have sweets!  After meals is the worst of my cravings.  I tried a few things like having a cup of tea instead and it does work, but sometimes I see myself having 5 to 10 cookies, or a huge bowl of ice cream.

    Even though I do indulge in sweets, I have most of the other elements in your list under control.  I drink plenty of water, I do have an occasional glass of wine, but that’s it. Stopped smoking 21 years ago. I sleep like a baby 7 hours every night, I go to the gym, I meditate daily and manage my stress that way.   

    Like you say in your conclusion, most people wait until it`s too late before paying attention so I am delighted to have found your article.  it made me realize that we always have something to work on.  But I guess nobody’s perfect.

    You do have a big “no” in your no.5 (smoking and drinking alcohol).  Even if I do very much agree with the smoking part, what about what I do?  I have an occasional glass of wine, usually with meals, or just as a conversation starter.  What is your opinion on this?

    1. Hello Denis, so glad for you to stop by and share your take on this topic.

      Based on what yo said, I think you’re doing great. It really does take a lot of discipline in order to strictly follow these pointers on how to keep fit and healthy. And I completely understand what you’re saying. Although I am all for healthy living, there are also times when I crave for some sweets and chips, and it’s not a bad thing. We can and should indulge ourselves once in while.

      In regards to drinking, yeah I said that it should be avoided but I think occasional is okay. However, how often is occasional? I must have to admit that red wine has health benefits too. I remember my former boss’ dad who used to drink a small glass of red wine everyday because he said it is good for the heart. Of course he’s right. What I’m really against is hard drinks.

      Thanks again Denis.

  2. Wow this is a very awesome and informative post. I am quite healthy but I never knew 15 cups was the recommended amount of water to drink daily. Also since I’m busy, I only sleep 5 hours instead of 7-9 hours so I never thought I wasn’t getting enough sleep. That’s probably why I get headaches frequently. 

    But it’s great to know now before much damage is done to my health. Thanks so much fro sharing these helpful tips, really appreciate it!

    1. Hi Kemdi, thanks for visiting.

      Actually, the amount of water that we must drink daily has increased. I think we’re all familiar with the “8 glasses” rule but it has been recently updated to 11-15. It could be hard to keep up especially since we’re all busy so I recommend having your water bottle next to you all the time.

      The same goes with sleeping; our schedule is loaded so we only get to sleep for 4-5 hours but we really need to think about what our body needs. After all, we can’t be productive if we’re not well rested. And yes, lack of sleep can also cause headache that’s why we should try to get as much rest and sleep as possible.

  3. I am a functional nutritionist and these steps are exactly the ones I teach my clients. Without them, it’s impossible to maintain or regain health. I’m glad you included spirituality as a pillar of health. Often times it gets forgotten and it’s so critical for optimal health. 

    I agree with you that so many people today take their health for granted until sometimes it’s too late. Your article is a good wake up call for people who are in this camp. A great quality of life is contingent on being the best we can possibly be, and that includes having vibrant health. Thanks for you tips, I’m confident they will help a lot of people!

    1. We really need more people to raise the importance of giving our health utmost importance. After all, we can never truly enjoy life to the fullest if we are weak and sickly. But as I said, practicing a healthy lifestyle is a choice we all have to make because no one can force us to do something we’re not willing to do.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment Holly.

  4. You hit the points here with healthy lifestyle. I’m quite good with exercising and drinking water. But I definitely work on others still. Especially getting enough sleep daily. When you have a lot of work, it’s quite easy to stay up late and not think about sleep much. But, I can definitely feel the consequences of it the next day. And also spiritually. I have definitely gotten better with it, but still not very consistent.

    Overall though, I think it’s hard to stay disciplined. The reason I’m good at exercising and drinking water is because I enjoy them both. I love water and I love running so it gets easy to do those. Others, I find that you need to be disciplined for. Any good ideas to stay disciplined when you really don’t want to eat healthy that day?

    1. Hey Parmi, thanks for your comment.

      I totally agree with you, the things we love and enjoy do not seem difficult for us at all. On the contrary, we need self discipline in order to practice the things that we may not like but are beneficial to us. Such as in the case of the foods we eat and getting enough sleep. We live in a fast-paced society where it always seems like we don’t have enough time to do all that needs to be done.

      I used to have a bad habit of staying up late; I sit in front of my computer for hours after my regular day job that I often lose track of the time. I will only realize later on that I’ve skipped my meal and have only a few hours to sleep.

      We know we should eat a healthy balanced diet but what about on days when we do not feel like eating healthy? I suggest you incorporate some healthy stuff into the foods that you want to eat, that way, even if you are having something unhealthy, you would still have the necessary ingredients for a healthy meal.

      I’m talking about some supplements that you can add to your meal. Do you know about Moringa Oleifera powder and flakes? You can add a teaspoon of Moringa flakes or powder into your food (rice, pasta or any dish) or any drinks (coffee, juice, shakes, etc. Here’s a link to an article about Moringa:

      https://stayhealthygetwealthy.com/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-malunggay-moringa-oleifera

      Cheers to living healthy!

  5. I got the food part down for the most part. But I know I need to drink a lot more water, just hard to do when you’re not thirsty. The other thing is sleep, which I definitely don’t get enough of. If I work on those 2, I think I’ll be in good shape. Tough, but need to do it.

    1. Hey Dave,

      Having a healthy, balanced diet, although it is just one of the key elements of a healthy lifestyle, is a good start in trying to stay healthy. With the drinking water part, I totally understand why most people find it difficult to maintain at least 8 glasses of water a day. Like you said, how can you drink when you don’t feel thirsty? Thirsty or not, you make a choice to drink because it’s good your health. Staying healthy is a choice and a decision we make.

      I find it hard at times also to get enough sleep especially now a days that I’m working 12-hour shifts but I need to complete at least 6-7 hours, otherwise I’ll be risking my health and over all well being. Yes, it’s tough but we need to do it in order to stay in good shape.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Great post! A lovely reminder on all the things you should be doing to live a healthy lifestyle. Alcohol and no smoking is a huge one, I used to drink all the time to make myself feel better in social situations and when I stopped I realised I didn’t need it, I realised it made me sloppy after a few hours of drinking and feel horrible the next day. I do believe spirituality is a huge one, even if you are not religious, by meditating everyday it can bring you so much peace and tranquility. Its funny because even though you sit there doing absolutely nothing, through consistent practice, you learn so much about yourself through introspection, by becoming aware of yourself, your thoughts, emotions and bad habits without judgement. I look forward to reading the next post =)

    1. Hi Kourtney, thanks for stopping by.

      Drinking alcohol and smoking are in no way beneficial to the body but can actually cause us harm. I must admit, I’ve tried both when I was younger, out of curiosity, but never considered them again. Makes me wonder why people love and enjoy them.

  7. I try to live a healthy lifestyle; however, I struggle with a few of the elements on your list. I do agree that these are all key elements of a healthy lifestyle. The areas where I struggle with includes drinking enough water. For the life of me, I just can’t drink enough water. I have tried everything. I have all the water bottles etc. but I am just too busy to drink throughout the day. Another area that I struggle with is sleeping. I have problems falling and staying asleep. Great post.

    1. Hey Kay, still have your bottle of water with you? Here I am reminding you to drink it, now. Okay, I’m just kidding!

      You’re not alone in your struggle to drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. I know a lot of people who are very much aware of the necessity of water to their health but still neglect to do so. And the reason is the same as yours, too busy with work. If it helps, I suggest you set your reminder every two hours and when the alarm goes off, just pick up your bottle and go for it. It won’t even take 1 minute of your time.

      Getting enough sleep is as important as drinking enough water. 7-9 hours is the optimal sleeping hours but again, because we have so many things to do, we forget that our body needs ample time to rest too in preparation for another day. Try eating dinner early so you can get to bed early. Also you may wanna try leaving your phone outside instead of keeping it next to you, that way you won’t get disturbed by any unnecessary phone calls or notifications. I know how people these days cannot survive without their smart phones next to them but not me. I have a hard time going back to sleep once I’m awaken by any sound that’s why I don’t keep my phone or tab with me in bed.

  8. Your website is very informative. I really love the pointers you are giving and i am who really believes in drinking as much water as possible during a day. I am also big on sleeping when you can. It is usually hard to get enough sleep in when you have a demanding job and have to wake up early then sleep late. This usually makes me feel very worn out. I have also been trying to put together a balanced diet but i honestly feel that just like me other people may not have enough time to really put some thought in to this.

    1. Hello Ashley, I’m glad you find my article helpful. It’s my goal to raise awareness on the elements and benefits of living healthy.

      Drinking enough water is definitely something that I always encourage others to do because water has a lot of benefits to our health and bodily functions as I tackled in my other articles. Getting enough sleep is also something that most people, myself included, at time neglect. No matter how busy and hectic our schedule might be, we must always try to find balance between work and personal time.

  9. Wow, nice readable post.

    I have always been a foodie and do appreciate when you stated that carbs can also be found in our veggies too. That said, I always advocate for a total balanced diet and for many people who thinks carbs are the bad guys, well, need I say they are getting it all wrong.

    A balance diet should have in good proportions healthy fats, carbs and protein.

    But I also don’t quite agree with taking wine off the table completely because they’ve been recent studies that supports the fact that red wine helps the heart and also helps with alleviating signs of dementia.

    Let me know what you think about that.:)

    1. We have all been taught at a young age that we need to eat a healthy balanced diet consisting of fats, carbs and protein. I’m sure we are all familiar with the food pyramid, but growing up, we tend to forget all that. I have a few colleagues who do not eat vegetables and when I asked them why, they told me that they used to have them in their meals but decided they didn’t want them anymore.

      As regards to wine, yeah, I agree that red wine is a good antioxidant and also good for the heart. I had in mind alcohol when I was writing my article. Thanks for your input, appreciate it Excelle.

  10. I really like you’re matter-of-fact and easy way of writing and enjoyed reading your post. Those key elements you speak of are so important but I think drinking enough water is one of most important diet issues today.
    For the elderly, is is especially critical because as we age our desire to drink seems to diminish and this can easily lead to dehydration. It is something my late Mum suffered from. She would hardly drink anything and we were constantly reminding her to keep up her intake of water.
    Stress is a killer and I’m gratified you included it. There are so many stressors, some of which we don’t even realize, such as the positives like exercise, exitement and scary things such as fun rides. They all invoke the ‘fight flight’ response. Excessive exercise has been known to kill by rapidly depleting the necessary nutrients to keep the heart in rhythm. Great post!

    1. Thank you Ches for your comment, I really appreciate it.

      And yes, you’re absolutely right about the issue of not drinking enough water. We often forget the importance of water to our over all health, considering that this is actually the simplest, easiest and cheapest way of staying in shape.

      Stress is another problem that most of us deal with everyday and according to health experts, stress if not properly managed, is the leading cause of many physical health and mental disorders and abnormalities. 

    1. Thanks Cristy, appreciate the love. Wishing you all the best as well. Let’s stay healthy, keep searching for ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle and share them to the world. God bless!

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