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
Nutritionists 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
As 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
Smoking 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
In 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.
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!