Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires persistence and dedication, but not without reward. Regular exercise, not smoking, limited alcohol consumption, adequate sleep and a balanced diet are all aspects of a healthy lifestyle. These choices can improve your health in nearly every regard, with benefits extending past the widely known lower risk of disease.
Stronger Immune System
Your immune system protects your body against disease and illness by helping your cells destroy viruses and germs. A healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds helps support your immune system, as these foods are naturally nutrient-dense. Yogurt containing live cultures also provides your body with probiotics, which balance your gut flora and aid in immune system function. According to Harvard Health Publications, the specifics of how gut flora interact with your immune system aren’t yet known, but there is a relationship between “good” bacteria and a bolstered immune system. The beta-glucans in mushrooms and the catechins in green tea also offer immune system benefits. According to Colorado State University, it’s not just green tea that’s good for you — black tea has also shown beneficial immune effects.
According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, practicing a healthy lifestyle makes your risk of premature death 66 percent less likely from cancer, 65 percent less likely from cardiovascular disease and 57 percent less likely from other causes. The four healthy lifestyle factors studied include limited alcohol consumption, avoiding tobacco, improved nutrition and regular physical activity. Apart from consuming more whole and fresh foods, you should avoid foods with large amounts of sodium, trans fats, saturated fats, added sugars and processed grains. For the life-extending benefits of physical activity, aim for at least one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly.
Energy, Strength and Endurance
Exercising regularly makes your body stronger and improves its endurance. Physical activity also conditions your cardiovascular system, which helps keep your muscles energized by delivering oxygen more efficiently. As a result, you’ll have more energy to do everyday tasks. A balanced diet, limited alcohol consumption and proper hydration also aid in increased energy levels, according to Harvard Health Publications. If you’re having trouble getting through your workouts, drinking 1 cup of water before and 1 cup of water after will help maintain your energy levels.
According to MayoClinic.com, physical activity triggers the release of brain chemicals that can make you feel relaxed and happier. This emotional boost can help your outlook about your appearance and improve your self-confidence. In addition, the mood-enhancing chemicals released by physical activity can help you face the troubles of a stressful day with a calmer mindset. Limiting alcohol consumption also promotes a better mood. Consuming alcohol slows your brain activity and can cause anxiety, depression and, often, aggression.
It’s no secret that a healthy lifestyle can help you shed pounds and look more youthful, but it goes beyond weight loss. For example, staying hydrated and getting adequate sleep can reduce the appearance of under-eye bags. Limiting alcohol intake reduces its aging effects on your skin and eyes, as does avoiding tobacco. Proper nutrition from a balanced diet also supplies your body with the nutrients it needs for healthy and lustrous hair, bright eyes, taught skin and an overall glow.