Having a healthy lifestyle is vital to ensure we give ourselves the best possible chances of living a long and fruitful life. It helps to boost our fitness and energy, reduce stress and even cut our chances of developing diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet have even been found to lower our chances of developing conditions such as osteoporosis and can significantly help individuals with dementia. It is fundamentally based on the choices we make about our daily habits and can be grouped into nutrition, exercise, sleep and stress management.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet plays an essential role in maintaining a healthy weight, which is a vital aspect of overall health. Nutrients within our food play an important part in the function of the body and can help to protect the body against disease. It is therefore important that we consume a variety of different foods so that these nutrients can support the health of our musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, digestive and immune systems.
Achieving a balanced diet can sometimes be difficult, but by aiming to cut down on foods that are high in unhealthy saturated fat and sugar, whilst eating plenty of fruit and vegetables is particularly important.
Sleep plays a vital role in not only your mental health but your physical health as well. During your sleep cycle, your body repairs any damaged cells found in the major systems of the body. Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.
The science behind sleep is highly complex and the levels of sleep needed will significantly vary between individuals, however, the average recommended intake of sleep is around 7 hours a night. Although, due to a recent increase in mobile device usage and a 24-hour culture, it is thought that roughly one-third of people in the UK now sleep less than 5-6 hours a night.
Stress is a basic human experience that can impact upon your life in both a positive and negative way. Your mindset towards stress and how you relate to it can be more important than the stress itself.
It’s important to not just think stress is either good or bad for you but to concentrate on what each stressful moment means. For example, you may think that if you’re currently stressed, it means something is wrong with you or your life. However, that can make stress feel even more stressful and potentially more damaging. By shifting the way we think about stress we can have a big impact on our health and overall happiness.