he World Health Organization is concerned about this, as unhealthy lifestyles cause 16 million deaths a year worldwide, according to the data they handle. The WHO defines healthy living as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being“. So, it’s not just about eating right or exercising, it’s also about taking care of your mental state and emotions.
So let’s see the absolute necessary for a healthy lifestyle.
Even though everyone knows that exercise is good for your health, too many people don’t exercise.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA) report, only 30 minutes of moderate exercise (a simple walk is enough), five days a week, significantly reduces the risk of diabetes, heart attack or stroke. Children need more exercise, at least an hour every day. According to the American Association, exercise not only influences the physical level, it also reduces stress, gives us more energy and even changes our mood.
There is no need to practice any sport or spend many hours, just walking at a fast pace for 30 minutes a day is enough to burn the calories consumed and to keep you fit. Exercise, contrary to popular belief, contributes to relaxation, better sleep and improved self-esteem. If we add to this the occasional visit to a spa centre or hotel, the feeling of well-being will be complete.
The Global Burden of Disease Study, the largest study of disease, accidents and life expectancy to date, showed that diet is the risk factor causing the most deaths and disabilities in the developed world. The AHA emphasizes the importance of reducing unhealthy fats, high cholesterol foods, sodium, and added sugars in our diet, and prioritizing foods high in fiber and lean protein, as well as fruits and vegetables.
To achieve a healthy diet:
- Eat more vegetables and fruits
- Eat whole foods
- Make your diet as varied as possible by following these rules (it’s more fun and less tiring)
- Eat fish at least twice a week
- Limit consumption of trans and saturated fats and foods high in cholesterol and sugar
3. Relax – Take it easy
Every threat that our body receives, whether physical like pain, illness or hunger, or psychological like depression and anxiety, produces stress. The continued condition of this condition causes the body to lose muscle mass and build up more fat, also raises blood pressure and lowers good cholesterol levels. All this is reflected in a weight gain that generates an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes or hypertension.
Try to practice yoga or meditation, listen to music that relaxes you or reads a book relax your mind.
4. Don’t neglect sleep
When talking about physical and/or mental health, we can’t ignore the importance of sleeping. Many people don’t know how important a good night sleep is. During sleep our body is healing and repairing, helping our blood vessels and heart to function properly. Sleep deficiency can lead to risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes or stroke.
But let’s not talk just about the negative effects of not getting enough sleep. If you do sleep 6-8 hours a day, you will have an improved memory, sharpened attention, more creativity, lower stress level and of course, this way you live longer.
5. Drink water
When you drink plenty of water you are allowing your body to hydrate and eliminate toxins, getting into this habit is sometimes not so easy, so if you definitely cannot with pure water add a few drops of lemon, water provides you with a good digestion, to maintain the proper body temperature and eliminate substances you do not need through sweat and urine, most nutrients that are absorbed from food are taken advantage of thanks to water.
Other things to pay attention to:
6. Quit smoking
It’s very obvious, but still, it needs to be mentioned. The AHA is clear on this: If you smoke, it doesn’t matter if you stick to the other six steps, quitting cigarettes should be a priority. Tobacco is directly related to a large number of premature deaths. Your lungs will notice that you have quit smoking after the first week, and they will start to heal as soon as you quit.
7. Control your cholesterol
Controlling your cholesterol level is the only way to make sure that your arteries are not going to become blocked, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. According to the AHA, we should start to worry if our cholesterol level is higher than 200 mg/dl. Some people need to be especially careful because they have an inherited gene that makes them produce too much bad cholesterol (LDL). For them, lowering the level of the disease is a matter of life and death.
75% of our blood cholesterol comes from our liver and our own cells, and the remaining 25% from food. Eating an ad hoc diet – avoiding saturated and trans fats and boosting low cholesterol foods – is important, but it’s not enough to lower cholesterol, it’s also necessary to exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
8. Lose weight
All risk factors are closely related, and if you are obese or overweight, you will almost certainly have other risk factors. Being fatter than you should put you at higher risk for high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and diabetes. Obesity, however, is also an independent risk factor, which means that we have more ballots of having a cardiovascular problem, despite the fact that all the other indicators are correct (which is unlikely anyway).
According to the AHA, if your Body Mass Index is higher than 25, you should start to worry, but if it is higher than 30 you are at significant risk for cardiovascular problems and should lose weight as soon as possible.
9. Reduce blood sugar level
Although diabetes is a treatable disease, and one that can be lived with, only suffering from it greatly increases the chances of suffering a heart attack or stroke, the most common cause of death among those who suffer it. The best way not to be diabetic is to prevent the onset of diabetes by controlling your blood sugar level without waiting until you reach old age.
Having a healthy blood sugar level (below 100 mg/dl of fasting glucose) protects our vital organs and makes us live longer and better. To control your blood glucose level, follow these tips:
- Reduce the consumption of simple sugars, especially in soft drinks and sweets
- Regular exercise, which directly affects our body’s response to insulin
- Take appropriate medication if you enter the risk zone
10. Control your blood pressure
Having high blood pressure is the most important risk factor for heart disease. Hypertension causes our blood to flow through our arteries too strongly, affecting all our vital organs. When blood pressure is maintained at normal levels, the strain on the heart, arteries, kidneys, and in general, cardiovascular problems are more difficult to manage.
To keep your blood pressure at an appropriate level – without the use of medication, which is necessary for some people in any case – you need to follow a series of tips: maintain a low-salt diet, exercise frequently, avoid overweight, manage stress, limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
All these steps will help you have a better quality of life, promote optimal health and make you feel good about yourself, have more energy and be happy.