What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle? Generally it means you participate in a healthful diet and fitness program, you don’t smoke, you limit alcohol consumption, and you maintain a normal weight. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not really? For most people, trying to balance an active lifestyle with a healthful lifestyle may seem impossible due to time constraints, job and family commitments or just simply lack of motivation. Maintaining your health does not mean living miserably.
Eating right does not have to be a chore. Simple changes you can make while on your next visit to the grocery store can get you on the right path to eating better. Small substitutions like eating more fruit and veggies and eating less refined and processed foods over time saves calories and increases nutrient content.
Don’t force yourself to shelve your entire way of eating and start with something restrictive. Feeling deprived leads to failure. Go slow and enjoy each new item you add to the menu.
Exercise does not have to be a dirty word. If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, start slow and increase your activity level as you reach small goals you set for yourself. It may be just using the stairs at work instead of using the elevator. Over time, you might decide to walk for part of your lunch break. Eventually you may want to join a fitness center to increase your progress. Go at a pace you are comfortable with and enjoy.
If you smoke, consider a smoking cessation program. There are medications in pill, patch and gum form that can assist you in stopping. Talking to a counselor or adopting a quit-smoking buddy has been shown to help smokers quit smoking at higher rate than trying to go it alone. Side effects of smoking include rapid heartbeat, decreased circulation, and shortness of breath and more serious problems like cancer, emphysema and heart disease can eventually develop.
Drinking alcohol in moderation has actually been shown to benefit the cardiovascular system. However, consuming more than a glass or two a day can cause liver damage. The liver acts as a giant filter system of the body. When the filter is clogged, the body does not function properly. Jaundice, gallstones, blood clotting difficulties, organ failure and death can result when the liver is compromised.
By watching your diet and fitness on a daily basis, you can more easily maintain a healthy weight for your body type. To calculate your body mass index (BMI), divide your body weight by the square of your height, or simply go online and use one of the many BMI calculators available.
You may have let yourself go. Your body feels sluggish and you have no energy. You may have health issues that run in your family. What should you do? Adopt a healthy lifestyle. Add healthier food choices to your diet gradually. Make health and fitness part of your daily routine.
Stop smoking and drink a glass of red wine with a meal. To maintain a normal weight, eat right and increase your activity levels. The lifestyle goals you set for yourself are that much closer when you make small changes over a period of time.