Healthy living is the core foundation of an improved quality of life, wellbeing, and functional capacity. It should not be viewed as a remedy for health problems such as obesity but as the way of life for everyone. We ought to pursue a healthy lifestyle every day wherever we are – at home, work or on vacation. It is great news that more and more companies in Maine continue to introduce wellness programs to help their employees maintain a healthy lifestyle at work.
For many years, people around the world have known that healthy habits make sense. Eat well! Exercise! Avoid harmful substances! These are popular phrases echoed often by health and fitness professionals and enthusiasts implying the importance of healthy living. Every other day, we read articles and blogs about healthy habits but do we stop to think about the exact reasons as to why we should practice them?
What is a healthy habit?
A healthy habit is a behavior that helps you to have a better physical, mental and emotional health. Developing a healthy behavior is usually hard and requires a lot of sacrifice and focus. It involves changing your mindset and focusing on the far-reaching benefits of the behavior. The most common healthy habits are eating well and exercise. Regardless of the age, sex or physical ability of a person, these two are inevitable if one is to achieve a healthy lifestyle. What really is the importance of these habits?
Benefits of eating healthy
1. Stress control: In today’s terrific world, stress is unavoidable. Everything from the workplace, the traffic jam, and the demanding parenthood responsibilities is a potential cause of stress. By having a healthy diet endowed with omega-3, you can beat stress. These fatty acids protect you against rises in stress hormones. Eating foods rich in magnesium, vitamin C, and drinking black tea also helps to reduce stress hormones.
2. Mindless eating: Food craving is one big hindrance to a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet helps to control food cravings and thus keeps blood sugar stable. Unhealthy foods are everywhere you go today. Developing the ability to prevent the intense craving for such foods is a great step towards healthy living.
3. Happier mood: You can do anything to gain happiness. Here’s a lead. Healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains help to stabilize blood sugar. Foods rich in carbohydrates increase serotonin, which promotes happiness. Fish, turkey, and yogurt are also known to increase serotonin levels. You now know what to do to be happier.
4. Weight control: Eating a well-balanced, calorie managed diet helps to control weight. Taking a healthy breakfast can help you to avoid being over-hungry before lunch, which could make you run for a fast food. Skipping breakfast is not good, as it could cause a rise in your blood sugar, consequently leading to fat storage. Incorporating foods high in nutrients such as fruits and vegetables and limiting the intake of sugary beverages also helps to control weight.
Other benefits of healthy eating include having a soft skin, strong teeth, and a beautiful smile.
Importance of exercise
Regular physical activity positively impacts the body and the brain. It improves muscle strength and gives you more energy. When you exercise, your cardiovascular system works more efficiently. More oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your tissues and you get the needed energy to perform daily duties. Physical activity stimulates more production of endorphins, which are brain chemicals responsible for happiness and relaxation.
Having a good sleep is a key to good health. Physical exercise helps you to sleep faster. When you don’t get quality sleep you stand at a risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. When exercise is combined with other good practices such as sticking to a fixed sleeping schedule and reducing consumption of stimulants before sleeping, one can enjoy all the benefits of having a sound sleep.
How to develop healthy habits
The important thing to remember is that behavior change cannot be achieved overnight. Patience and determination are key when developing healthy habits. Start slowly by changing one thing at a time. For example, start eating a whole food and see its benefits. For exercise, make small changes in your lifestyle such as taking a regular walk. Don’t push yourself to run many kilometers the first days.
Be flexible and reduce intake of unhealthy food gradually. If you decide to reduce sugar consumption, do it systematically over a few weeks instead of all at once. Your body needs time to adapt to changes. After you’ve managed to develop a new behavior, build on it. If you have started eating fruits, buy more of them to strengthen that behavior.