Healthy living is all the rage these days and rightly so let’s answer some of the most commonly asked questions revolving around it.
I. Is Healthy Living A Passing Trend?
The health and wellness space has gone through somewhat of a revolution in recent years.
Sugary snacks and drinks have somehow taken the backseat as now consumers want healthier products.
In a study by Mintel, it was found that 55% of Americans say they lived a healthier lifestyle in 2017 compared to the year before and 45% say that they have made significant changes to improve their overall health and well-being.
Is this healthy living just a fad? A passing trend?
We’re halfway into 2019 and we think it’s safe to say the healthy living movement is here to stay.
More than ever, consumers are more conscious of what they eat and how much exercise they get on a regular basis.
The food industry alone has experienced a fundamental shift in the demand for healthy foods and its swift growth is showing no signs of slowing down.
There is also a steady rise of social media influencers on workout training and clean eating, who use their platforms to put the message of healthy living in front of us at all times.
However, healthy living isn’t just a trend – it’s a way of life that all of us should pursue for our health’s sake.
II. What Are Healthy Living Habits?
Healthy habits are routines you do that improve your health.
It may be difficult to change old habits, but there are steps you can try taking towards a healthier life.
Before everything else, you need to identify unhealthy habits and replace them with new, positive ones such as:
- Sleeping well
- Managing stress
- What you eat and drink
- Practicing safe sex
- Not abusing drugs
- Drinking alcohol responsibly
- Staying connected with others
- Being physically active
- Being aware of health risks
- Committing to regular check-ups
The key to developing these positive habits is to:
- Make small changes – go for a regular walk instead of pushing 5km every day until your legs go jelly. This way it’ll be more likely you get to keep this habit.
- Change one thing at a time – Don’t try to do everything all at once. Start your healthy journey in phases.
- Be flexible – do things gradually rather than all at once. This will reduce the risk for cravings and withdrawals.
Work around challenges
- If you’re on maintenance medication, organize daily activities around your most alert times of the day.
- Discuss with your doctor – there may be alternative medications you can try with lesser disruptive side effects.
- Reward yourself – not with food, but with something you enjoy such as a pedicure, a massage, or a vacation.
- Get over slip-ups – get back up and start again!
- Schedule regular checkups with your doctor to keep track of your progress
It has been proven that attempts at healthy living are more successful if you do it with other people. Surround yourself with family, friends, or workout buddies who will help push you forward on your wellness journey.
III. Can Healthy Living Cause Misery Or Even Death?
While we all will face death at some point, healthy living itself will not cause misery or death.
However, if you use the incorrect methods or go to the extreme ends of the spectrum, then you may be doing your body more harm than good.
When healthy eating becomes an unhealthy obsession, it morphs to something we call orthorexia, or the fixation on righteous eating.
People with this eating disorder become obsessively concerned about food preparation and its nutritional value, and may stick to extremely strict diets. This may then cause physical problems similar to the effects of anorexia, like excessive weight loss, electrolyte imbalances, as well as vitamin and nutrient deficiencies.
Keeping the balance is integral to understanding the roles different food types play in cultivating a healthy lifestyle.
You can also run a quick google search and find many clips of workouts gone wrong.
Workout routines are not one-size-fits-all, and every person should consult a licensed personal trainer to determine the right intensity and type of workout to execute.
Some people also make the mistake of exercising too much, thinking that if they work out for 2 hours a day, they’ll get fitter faster.
Too much exercise can cause abnormal heart rhythms, a shaky immune system, weakened bones and even mental illness.
Overexcercise negatively impacts your body and may shrink your lifespan similar to those who don’t workout at all.
IV. Who Is Healthy For?
We don’t even need to ask this question. It’s for everyone!
When we look after our bodies, we feel better too.
Healthy living allows you to:
- Save money – buying cigarettes, bottles of alcohol, junk food, and sugary drinks are all expensive habits that give little to no benefit to your health.
- Feel better mentally – healthy living promotes your body’s production of the happy hormone serotonin, lifting your mood, and helping you feel better.
- Taking control of your life – living healthier helps you feel more in control of your life
- Fewer health problems – a healthier lifestyle means you are at lower risk for developing many illnesses
V. What Factors Does Healthy Living Depend On?
Epicurus, an ancient Greek philosopher, once said, “The art of living well and the art of dying well are one.”
While some uncontrollable factors such as family history, age, and gender, predispose us to certain diseases, there are factors we can control to reduce our risk for developing major illnesses that top the list of death causes in the country.
Interestingly, all these major diseases are actually caused by the same factors: diet, alcohol, smoking, exercise, and stress.
Here are 7 fundamental habits of healthy living:
If there’s one important thing you should do for health’s sake, it’s to quit smoking. Smoking puts you at risk for almost every single leading cause of death. It’s going to be tough, but it’s not impossible.
A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for stroke, heart disease, colon, diabetes, rectal cancer, breast cancer, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Consistently exercising for short periods every day can already do wonders for your overall health.
Too much alcohol can damage your liver and send your overall health spiraling down the drain as years of alcohol dependence go by. Make sure to keep your alcohol drinking to a minimum to avoid developing major diseases as you age.
Avoid red and processed meat
Red and processed meats are packed with damaging compounds that may put you high on the list for rectal or colon cancer, coronary heart disease, and stroke. Going vegetarian is the best way, but if you’re not yet ready to make the switch, opt for fish and chicken instead.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
This is a no-brainer, but fruits and vegetables do make you healthier. Eat a salad sans the heavy dressings and meats, add veggie spins to your favorite dishes, and swap out your chips for fruits as snacks.
Cut down on salt and bad fats
Salt and bad fats (e.g. saturated or trans fat) are present in many processed foods and increase your risk for high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Develop the habit of cooking for your own meals instead of eating out or ordering takeaway fastfood.
Stress is a silent killer that you need to address if you want to avoid developing major diseases such as stroke. Learn to look out for warning signs that you’re super stressed and explore the different stress management techniques to find what works best for you.