Our daily habits combine to affect both our immediate and long term health. The foods we eat and amount of exercise we perform play an important role in our long term health, especially as we reach our later years. The five habits discussed below are a good starting point to help minimize the risk of chronic disease and live a long, healthy life.
1. Eat Whole Foods – The food we put into our bodies is one of the most important daily health decisions. Whole foods are those that are not processed or refined. Studies have shown that a whole food diet helps prevent chronic disease, lower cholesterol levels and improve digestive function. Green, yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains are examples of whole foods.
2. Exercise – Daily exercise is important to keeping you healthy and pain free. Exercise improves cardiovascular function, helps with weight control, and increases mood and energy levels. Try mixing in both strength and endurance training into your exercise routine to get the most benefit.
3. Drink Enough Water – Water is needed for every system in your body to function properly. Water helps flush toxins and transport nutrients throughout the body, without sufficient amounts of water, these processes can not perform normally. In general, men should drink at least 3 liters of water daily, while women need about 2.2 liters, or about 13 cups per day for men and 9 cups daily for women.
4.Take Time to Breathe – Everyone breathes, right? That’s how we survive. But are you taking time out of your day, even if only for a couple of minutes, to sit down, relax and just concentrate on your breathing? A recent study concluded that taking a few minutes every day to focus on your breathing can control and even decrease stress levels. Elevated stress levels can eventually lead to health problems. So, remember, give yourself some time each day to just relax and breathe, your body will thank you.
5. Find a Sense of Community – It has been proven that those who live alone and lack social interaction have much shorter life spans than those with strong social bonds. So, take some time to find a group of people who have the same interests as you. This could be an exercise group, craft club or the fan club of your favorite sports team. Building social bonds may help you live longer by making you feel like you have a place in the world, one of our basic human needs.
Again, this list is by no means a complete list of habits you need to live a long, healthy life, but it is a good start. If you’re not already doing some of these things, pick one and start today. The sooner you start, the more benefit your body will receive long term.