Your Ultimate Guide to Healthy Living
In the United States, the leading cause of death is still heart disease, which claims a whopping 652,091 people each year, followed by cancer (559,312) and strokes (143,579). Doctors say that the importance of healthy living and health prevention cannot be overstated. In recent years, so much has been learned about the contributing factors to heart disease, the role of fat and cholesterol, and the steps to reduce the risk. While researchers are still a little in-the-dark about cancer prevention, they have found that increasing fiber and vegetables, as well as meeting with physicians for early detection tests can have many patients walking away from what would have been fatal diseases.
As the saying goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” Eating the right foods is the most important step toward healthy living. Yet this simple matter of choice can also be one of the most difficult lifestyle modifications as well. Fats, salts and sugars are just so tasty and so convenient, they can be hard to resist! However, just about every healthy eating plan runs off the same principles. Eat more fruits, more vegetables, more fiber and more lean protein.
Eat less saturated fat, less sodium, fewer carbohydrates and fewer calories. When you dine out, try to avoid fried foods and ask for soup or salad instead. You may want to ask for a box so you can set half of your portion aside for later. You don’t have to give up your favorite foods, but you do have to eat them in moderation. There are a number of websites that offer healthy recipes and diet nutrition calculators to help you get started eating your way to disease prevention.
For healthy living, the appropriate amount of fitness for a normal adult is at least 30 minutes per day or 60 minutes, four days a week. Weights experts will tell you that part of overall fitness is stretching, sculpting your body through resistance training and strengthening muscle mass, as well as bones. You can accomplish this task by purchasing a basic dumbbell set, participating in circuit training at the gym or taking a Pilates/yoga class.
Another component of fitness is ensuring your heart health through cardiovascular exercises like running, biking, brisk walking, dancing, jumping rope, swimming, rollerblading, cross country skiing and playing sports. By creating a diverse array of physical activities that you can stick to, you will decrease your risk of injury, sickness and disease to live a healthier life.
Stress management is an essential component of healthy living, as research shows stress can take years off our lives and can lead to weight gain, depression, hypertension, high blood pressure and heart attacks. Stress is part of your normal physiological reaction to threat, which triggers a sudden release of hormones in what is called the “fight or flight response.” To keep anxiety at bay, try making lists and prioritizing your tasks, while outsourcing tasks to others to make your load lighter.
Strive for a balance of work, family and personal time. Know when it’s time to take a break because your stress levels are jeopardizing your health. Be sure you are practicing healthy eating, exercising and getting at least seven hours of sleep each night. Devise strategies to help you cope with stress, such as deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques, yoga, tai-chi, meditation, massage, music, reading or hypnosis. Lastly, if you feel your efforts aren’t working, then you should consider counseling, which will help you identify where you’ve gone wrong and how you can begin living a more satisfying life.
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