Staying healthy is a basic human desire. We all try our best to follow general guidelines. Life is easier if we are in good health; as a well-known adage says, “health is wealth.” You may think that fitness equals health; and while it is often true, it is not guaranteed. Health applies not only to your physical condition, but also to your mental state and emotional wellness, and is reflected in your daily habits.
How to stay healthy is a very complex topic. You may achieve good health for weeks or even months, but it is more difficult to maintain it for life. The young are more apt to ignore their health; we start to worry about it as we age. For those who are interested in improving their health at any age, there are tips to follow to make little, but effective, changes in your life. It is never too late to start!
Health Rule #1: Exercise
On-going exercise is the key to maintaining health in daily life; and there is good news for busy people like you. A group of Canadian scientists have found that only 2.5 hours of exercise per week is necessary to stay healthy. It is recommended that you spend these hours evenly and regularly; but if you cannot, cramming 2.5 hours of exercise during the weekend will not make a significant difference. Also, it is wise to rotate various types of exercise such as bicycling, ball playing or walking in order to alternate the impact of your workout on muscles and organs. Not every muscle needs to be addressed every time you exercise. Shifting your activity will ensure better health and fitness.
You may know that exercise can reduce or prevent health problems such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, etc. What you may not realize, however, is that it can also improve mental health, ease loneliness, fight anxiety and depression, enhance confidence, and/or simply make you feel better in general. The reason is simple – even a moderate level of exercise can help your body release natural molecules called endorphins.
Endorphins work in a similar way as morphine, but because they are produced in your own body, they will not cause side effects. As neurotransmitters, they bind to neural receptors in your brain to help you to experience positive feelings and reactions. They help to improve mood, energize outlook, and ameliorate mental and physical pain. Some exercisers even state that they have a stronger sexual drive after regular exercise.
Health Rule #2: Diet
The role of diet and food consumption is much more powerful than you may think in getting healthier. For example, there are more smokers in Japan than in America, but there is a lower incidence of lung cancer in Japan. It is called “the Japanese Smoking and Lung Cancer Paradox.” Lower lung cancer rates in Japanese smokers are tied to local diets and lifestyles. Thus, your diet may be aggravating your health problems and it is up to you to take action to reverse this correlation.
It may not be practical to live a Japanese lifestyle in this country; it is easier to make small modifications to your daily diet. The major difference between Japanese and American diets pertains to food sources. Japanese diets are primarily plant-based with a lower portion of fish and meat; American diets are the opposite consisting mostly of animal-based foods. It is wise, therefore, to increase the amount of plant-based food and decrease the quantity of animal-based food in your diet to improve your health.
Bad habits are your enemies
Many of our habits place us at risk for health issues; as such, they are bad habits. Common ones include too little sleep, low water intake, lack of food variety, addiction to smoking and drinking, mood fluctuations, etc. They are called “habits” because you succumb to them on an on-going basis, and it is not easy to get rid of them.
Moderation is the key to modifying bad habits. Since they have no doubt been around for a while, it may take a while to reduce or eliminate them. There are many ways to fight them, and your family members and your friends can be of help. Your goal is to develop new good habits to replace old bad ones. Observing others can instigate and accelerate this process.
Minor health problems are important
Most of the time, we live in a peaceful and healthy environment, and severe diseases do not strike us. We never stop experiencing minor physical ailments, however, like colds, the flu, allergies, and pain. The way we respond is important to our health. If not handled properly, small issues may become big ones.
Suggestions to help you to avoid major health issues: face minor health issues with a positive mind without ignoring them, updating your knowledge consistently of current epidemic diseases in the country, obtain necessary vaccinations, get physical checkups for your teeth and body at least annually, and see your physician without delay if needed.