Committing to healthy habits is one of the most meaningful gifts you can give to yourself and those around you. By taking care of your health, you serve as a role model to your family, co-workers, and friends.
In fact, the impact of healthy habits on your quality of life can be far-reaching, regardless of physical activity, gender, or age. So, in case you need some extra motivation, we’ve enumerated the five benefits that healthy habits promote. But before that, let’s first find out…
What is Considered a Healthy Lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating nutritious foods. It is also about balancing your work and social life, being physically active, focusing on your mental health, and getting enough sleep. It can be overwhelming to do it all, but that’s where the importance of making small changes adds up to big health benefits.
The Benefits of Healthy Habits
Here are what you’ll gain by living healthily:
1. Controls Weight
Exercising regularly and eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid excess weight gain – no matter your present age or weight. As a rule of thumb, you need to burn the same number of calories as you consume to keep your weight the same.
To gain weight, you need to burn fewer calories than what you consume. To lose weight, you need to burn more calories than what you consume.
Eating a calorie-managed and balanced diet can moreover help control weight. When you begin your day with a healthy breakfast, you can avoid becoming overly hungry later in the day and the possibility of you relying on fast food.
A 2021 research published in the journal Circulation also recommends that adults should eat at least two servings of fruits plus three servings of vegetables, for a total of five servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
These fruits and vegetables should be high in nutrients and low in calories to help weight control. The biggest benefits come from eating fruits and vegetables rich in beta carotene and vitamin C (carrots, berries, and citrus) and leafy green vegetables (kale and spinach).
As for how much physical activity you need, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, according to the World Health Organization. There’s even no need to do all that aerobic activity all at once. Just break it up over the entire week.
2. Combats Diseases and Health Issues
Healthy lifestyle habits can slow or reverse the damage in your body: from high blood sugar to high cholesterol or high blood pressure. You can even reverse heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Many chronic conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and cancer, can be prevented by addressing their root cause: daily habits or lifestyle factors.
Getting enough exercise, eating healthy foods, and refraining from excessive alcohol and tobacco use confer numerous health benefits too, including preventing the onset of chronic diseases. Evidence even shows that consuming a fully plant-based diet (the most sustainable and compassionate diet) can prevent advanced heart disease.
Still, it is best to experiment with what works for you. You can’t just decide that you’ll go fully vegan tomorrow. Our advice is you replace products in your diet first with alternatives step by step, be it yogurt, mayonnaise, or milk. That way, you won’t see a difference too soon.
Make sure that you still get enough protein. Good sources include beans, soy products, pumpkin seeds, cashew nuts, peanut butter, chickpeas, and lentils.
And since you may not get enough vitamin B12 that you commonly find in fish, meat, and eggs if you go fully vegan, you may decide to take a B12 supplement. Fortified plant milk that contains the same amount of calcium as cow’s milk, soya, calcium-set tofu is also a really good source of vitamins and minerals.
3. Improves Mood
Healthy habits can lift your spirits and boost your mood. There’s no doubt about it.
For instance, working out relieves depression and releases endorphins in the body, which leads to short- or long-term feelings of well-being. For best results, we recommend that you find activities that you enjoy and will keep on doing. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do intense weight lifting since low-impact activities, such as going for a walk or yoga, can still boost your mood.
And oh, don’t forget to listen to your favorite music while getting your heart pumping. Music boosts the brain’s production of endorphins. The American Music Therapy Association even uses music for healing. So, if you feel down, try listening to some catchy tunes to lift your spirits.
Healthy Habits That Lead to Better Mental Health
It’s not just exercise and diet that lead to improved mood. The other two healthy habits that lead to better mental health are getting enough sleep and making social connections. After all, sleep and mood are closely connected. Studies have found that people who get only 4.5 hours of sleep in a week feel stressed, mentally exhausted, sad, and angry.
Speaking of social connections, find time to laugh and chat with your pals regularly, even if it’s just on weekends. Whether it’s joining a club, attending communal activities, or volunteering, these things can help improve mental functioning and mood by keeping the brain active and serotonin levels balanced.
But because the Covid-19 pandemic is not over yet, try rethinking socializing during the pandemic. It may include spending one-on-time time with friends, getting outside or exploring new places, or enjoying real-life activities virtually.
4. Boosts Energy
When you practice healthy habits, such as eating a balanced diet, your body will receive the fuel it needs to function and manage your energy level. Healthy eating habits require that people eat whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and lean meats.
Regular physical exercise moreover boosts endurance and improves muscle strength, giving you more energy to function in the day. Exercise helps deliver nutrients and oxygen to your tissues and gets your cardiovascular system working efficiently.
Physical activity also promotes better sleep, which consequently boosts energy. During high-quality sleep, your body restores many functions, such as steady hormone levels, temperature regulation, good appetite, and temperature regulation.
5. Lengthens Lifespan
This list of the 5 benefits of healthy habits wouldn’t be complete without including longevity and it is backed by science.
When you practice healthy habits, you increase your chances of leading a longer life. For instance, studies of the human population observed links between the lower likelihood of disease, low-calorie intake, and an extended lifespan.
A Correlation Between Healthy Diet and Longevity
What’s more, the calorie restriction can reduce belly fat and excess body weight – both are associated with shorter lifespans. Moreover, eating healthy plant foods has been proven to promote longevity. It lowers one’s risk of premature death, metabolic syndrome, depression, brain deterioration, and cancer.
These effects are attributed to the presence of antioxidants and nutrients in plant foods, which include vitamin C, folate, carotenoids, and polyphenols, according to a study published in the Maturitas.
When choosing a new workout or practice, keep in mind factors, like your schedule, strengths, current stress levels, and the complexity of the new habit. Find an activity that fits well with these variables. You can also build an energy-efficient home gym so you can make your own rules, take your time, and no commute needed so you’ll indefinitely save time in the long run.
Healthy Lifestyle FAQs
How Important Is Staying Active?
Being active has both mental and physical benefits. Since our body is not meant to sit around, staying active improves your fitness, helps you manage health conditions, makes you stronger, helps you take back control, and you can live well for longer.
If your muscles and joints are in good working order, your body finds it easier to deal with threads, like occasional sugary or fatty snacks, injury, or sickness. Exercise moreover helps you maintain a healthy attitude to mental pressures and problems. It even helps you learn new skills and find new friends.
What Type of Foods Should I Avoid?
Some types of food that you should avoid if you want to lead a healthy lifestyle are:
- Junk foods – crisps and other foods that are low in nutritional value
- Convenience food – microwave-ready meals that usually has too much sugar and salt
- Fast food – such as fried chicken and hamburgers prepared quickly but are high in fat
How Should I Fix a Sedentary Lifestyle?
Whether you’re struggling to get motivated to work out or you’re stuck at a desk working all day, you can fix your sedentary lifestyle by walking more (get at least 30 minutes of walk daily or take the stairs), make it a point to stand up at least every 20 minutes at work (or change your workstation by using a treadmill desk, a standing desk, or use a fitness ball seat), and develop active habits.
How Can You Assess Your Lifestyle?
You can assess your lifestyle by checking parameters, such as hygiene standards, diet control, and psychological indicators – health records, happiness, self-contentment, self-confidence.
Diet checks, health records, and hygiene tests are a big indicator of how good your habits or lifestyle is and whether you are at risk of suffering from ill health because of your lifestyle.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Habits Permanent
Breaking unwanted habits can be difficult, especially if you have been engaging in them for a long time. But once you start towards healthy living, you won’t regret this decision. How about you, which of these benefits inspires you to live a healthier lifestyle?
Whatever that’d be, we hope it can help nudge you in the right direction to improve your overall health.
If you like this article, you might want to read our other reviews at ExpertFitness.org.
Nathan Lloyd, MSc
LICENSED PERSONAL TRAINER
I’m a personal trainer, based in Boulder, Colorado.
I service clients physically in the Boulder area, mainly in the ONE Boulder Fitness Gym, but am also available for online consulting and coaching.
If you’re interested in my personal coaching programs, please contact me via the contact page.