In a world characterized by busy schedules and sedentary habits we might ask ourselves: what usual problems an healthy lifestyle can prevent? Of course the importance of adopting a healthy and active lifestyle cannot be overstated. Such a lifestyle not only enhances our overall well-being but also serves as a powerful preventive measure against a multitude of health problems; from chronic diseases to mental health issues, the positive impact of maintaining a balanced routine is profound. The quality of our lives is intricately tied to a balanced and mindful lifestyle; one aspect we must never underestimate is our ability to actively intervene in improving our own bodies. What’s truly remarkable is that it’s never too late to start.
Start young to prevent health problems
While it’s true that starting young with taking care of both your body and mind increases the likelihood of aging well and maintaining good health into advanced years, your body is an extraordinary machine capable of adapting to changes even as the years advance. However, often we become aware of these facts and information too late, or at times when life demands much from our commitments. It may seem insufficient to start hitting the gym, quit smoking or drinking, take long walks, savor fresh air, engage with new people, read and stimulate the mind. Habits, as the saying goes, die hard, especially if they’re detrimental.
So what are the other benefits and problems an healthy lifestyle can prevent?
Physiologically speaking, we are what we eat. Our diet has the power to alter the structure of our bodies – we can increase lean or fat mass almost at will, simply by choosing to. Our organism (and therefore our health) is directly influenced by physical movement (especially when done consistently and progressively over time) and stress levels. A simple blood test can reveal the truth of this: values change over time. What we want to convey is that you can indeed make conscious choices to feel better and prevent the most severe illnesses, those that consistently rank high in statistical studies as leading causes of mortality or disability.
Why do we get sick?
Diseases linked to an unhealthy lifestyle unfortunately tend to be among the most debilitating and dangerous. Diet and lack of physical activity have the greatest impact, along with environmental circumstances, where you live or work. In ancient times, when humans used their own feet, horses or oxen as means of transportation, they were accustomed to more movement, more exertion. This lifestyle, though it may appear primitive and outdated to us today, persisted for much of our existence on this planet.
Living in a non-consumerist society, people produced enough to feed themselves and their families. They didn’t indulge in potentially harmful foods, nor did they consume packaged or junk food. In essence, our bodies aren’t fully equipped for a sedentary life centered on an erratic diet and a constant caloric surplus.
Problems an healthy lifestyle can prevent are…
Setting aside genetic factors, you can positively influence your health. If you think it’s too late, too demanding, or that you lack the time or determination to change, you’re underestimating your body and its capacity to create new habits, adapt and decisively influence your character by altering your personality.
Evolution can assist you. We are wired to take shortcuts and we can harness them to develop new habits based on automations. Your brain is capable of rewriting itself, replacing the detrimental habit of smoking with that of taking a walk, for instance. The same involuntary automation that drives you to smoke or eat too many sweets can be utilized to trigger healthier habits.
Once you make these positive habits your own, they will govern your character, shaping your personality. Always remember, you’re not lazy because you lack the desire to move; it’s the opposite – you become lazy because you don’t move. By engaging in physical activities, you transform into an active person who moves based on habit.
Positive habits are the foundation of your lifestyle and should be built and guarded closely, are you ready now to dive in the problems an healthy lifestyle can prevent?
Prevention and health issues
Let’s discover together all the problems that can be prevented by adopting a healthy and active lifestyle:
- Warding off chronic diseases: engaging in regular physical activity and following a nutritious diet are key components of a healthy lifestyle that can significantly lower the risk of chronic diseases. Conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer are often linked to sedentary behaviors and poor dietary choices. By adopting an active lifestyle, individuals can regulate their weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing these serious health issues.
- Promoting heart health: the heart is at the center of our well-being and adopting an active lifestyle can greatly contribute to its longevity and functionality. Physical exercise strengthens the heart muscle, improves circulation and maintains optimal blood flow throughout the body. This, in turn, reduces the risk of heart-related problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Strengthening mental well-being: a healthy lifestyle isn’t limited to physical health. It also encompasses mental well-being. Regular exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, often referred to as “feel-good” hormones, which play a pivotal role in reducing stress, anxiety and depression. Incorporating activities like yoga and meditation into a daily routine can further enhance mental clarity and emotional balance.
- Mitigating obesity and weight-related issues: obesity is a global health concern that can lead to a host of other health complications. By embracing an active lifestyle and making conscious dietary choices, individuals can manage their weight effectively. Engaging in regular physical activity burns calories, boosts metabolism and prevents excess weight gain, reducing the risk of obesity-related problems like joint issues and metabolic disorders.
- Preserving bone health: as we age, maintaining strong bones becomes increasingly important. Weight-bearing exercises, a staple of an active lifestyle, promote bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. This is particularly crucial for women, who are more prone to bone-related problems in later years.
- Enhancing immune function: a healthy immune system is our body’s natural defense against infections and illnesses. By adopting a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and by engaging in regular exercise, individuals can bolster their immune function, making them more resilient to common ailments.
Guide to a healthy lifestyle
Adopting an active and healthy lifestyle is crucial; start with these simple actions:
- Do not smoke and quit consuming any tobacco products.
- Avoid exposure to passive smoke.
- Regularly engage in appropriate physical activity; it is recommended to have at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (walking, running, cycling, swimming) 5-7 times a week.
- Avoid risky and harmful alcohol consumption. There is no safe and recommended consumption; if you drink alcoholic beverages, never do so on an empty stomach and do not exceed. Additionally, remember that minors, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not consume alcoholic beverages at all.
- Follow a proper, varied and balanced diet, with the mediterranean diet as a reference.
- Consume an appropriate amount of calories based on your energy needs.
- Prefere the consumption of vegetables and fruits (5 portions a day), whole grains, fish (2-4 times a week), extra virgin olive oil.
- Limite the intake of red meat, animal fats and simple sugars.
- Reduce excessive salt consumption to less than 5 grams per day, including the salt present in foods and added salt.
- Maintain or pursue an optimal body weight. Adequate physical activity along with a balanced diet helps to keep body weight within a healthy range and consequently control blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Do not exceed three cups of coffee per day and do not encourage its consumption among minors.
- Avoid the use of any drugs.
In a world where health issues are on the rise due to sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary habits, the significance of adopting a healthy and active lifestyle cannot be emphasized enough. From preventing chronic diseases to fostering mental well-being, the benefits are far-reaching and undeniable.
By taking charge of our routines and incorporating physical activity and nutritious choices, we empower ourselves to lead longer, happier, and more fulfilling lives. Remember, the journey towards a healthier lifestyle begins with small, consistent steps that pave the way for a brighter, healthier future.