How to lead a healthy lifestyle is an issue we have been bombarded with for the last ten years. A truly healthy lifestyle results from a balanced lifestyle. The key points of a balanced lifestyle include enough time for work, family and relationships, relaxation and fun. To maintain a healthy balance, you need a combination of exercise, a sensible diet, reducing caffeine and sugar, avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drugs, reducing stress and getting enough sleep.
Physical activity and exercise are ideal for preventing and reducing stress. A combination of stretching, muscle training and aerobics is usually the best. You should exercise for 30 minutes at least three times a week. The best news is that you don’t have to do all 30 minutes at once. It has been shown that a division into small 10 to 15 minute intervals is just as beneficial.
Hiking is a great exercise and can be easily integrated into the day. Try to park on the farthest place instead of the nearest possible place. Take a few trips through the grocery store with your shopping cart before you start shopping. This is especially helpful during the winter months in colder climates. Carrying your groceries to your car instead of pushing them out in a car helps improve muscle tone and give you aerobic exercise.
A healthy lifestyle requires a sensible diet. Eating three medium or five small meals consisting of a balanced diet distributed regularly throughout the day helps maintain even blood sugar levels and fuel for the mind and body. Caffeine and sugar should be limited as the body treats them both as medications. They can affect hormone and blood sugar fluctuations and lead to an increase in stress production.
Your diet should include protein, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, carbohydrates and fats. Lean proteins (such as beef, pork, chicken, fish, legumes, eggs and dairy products with reduced fat content) are preferable to non-lean proteins (such as fatty meat pieces, organ meat, bacon and sausage) and processed meats (such as lunch meat). These thicker cuts should be kept to a minimum and generally limited to a few portions per week. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt provide calcium and protein. A few portions of these should be included in your daily diet.
Fruit and vegetables should make up most of your diet. A wide selection of fruits and vegetables provides variety and a better balance of vitamins and minerals.
Carbohydrates are important for maintaining energy and help with mental clarity. They should be stored for a few servings a day. Whole grain is more beneficial because it provides more vitamins and nutrients and metabolizes more slowly, reducing blood sugar peaks.
Fats are essential for human nutrition. They provide essential fatty acids and enable better absorption of nutrients. The best choices are olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts and nut oils.
Exercise and nutrition alone are not the answer to a healthy lifestyle. Cigarette, drug and alcohol consumption should be avoided. However, there is evidence that small amounts of alcohol can be useful. These studies have shown that a glass of red wine for dinner can be beneficial for the protection of the brain, heart and lungs. It is believed to prevent prostate and breast cancer, reduce inflammation and increase longevity.
Stress tends to vary from person to person. Stressors can come from personal, family, financial, peer and professional issues, but are not limited to specific areas. The most important step in coping with stress is identifying the stressors in your life. Once you have identified what has stressed you, you can start working on the issues.