How to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

A good state of health allows an individual to better cope with life, develop one’s talents and interests, meet the challenges of living and generally enjoy what life has to offer. Crucial to having good health is the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle, which one can obtained by exercising often, eating properly and working normal hours.

WHO defines healthy lifestyle as a way of living that lowers the risk of serious illness or premature death.[1] (Healthy Living, 2004, Abstract). Eating properly, exercising often and having normal hours of work cover the three basic elements to good health–proper nutrition, regular physical activity and healthy sleep.

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The importance of proper nutrition is perhaps best exemplified in the old saying “you are what you eat”. What and how we eat determine how we nourish our bodies. As borne out by nutrition science, there exists a direct relationship between diet and one’s health or state of disease.

Proper eating in a healthy lifestyle involves the intake of lots of fruits and vegetables and reduced fat, sugar and salt. But beyond the question of what we should eat is how much to eat and what to avoid outright.

We should eat more of vegetables and fruits, less of the high-fat foods including meats and have moderate amounts of dairy products. As importantly, we should avoid if not totally shun away from alcoholic drinks and tobacco and take care not to accidentally ingest toxic substances such as mercury, lead, dioxins, etc.

Exercise or physical activity is indispensable to the physical and mental wellbeing of an individual.

No less than the World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe exhorte people to recognize “physical activity …as a pillar of a healthy lifestyle and [should be integrated] into the routine of everyday living”. WHO advises that just by rendering half an hour of moderate physical activity everyday could spell the difference between health and diseases. (30 minutes, 2002, ¶ 2).[2]

The benefits of exercising are almost amazing, affecting both the physical and psychological health of a person. Regular physical activity helps cut the risks of heart diseases, adult diabetes and obesity and reduce hypertension, blood pressure and even stress, depression, anxiety and loneliness.

Physical activity or exercise can take many forms and can conveniently be tailored according to one’s occupation: walking, sports, even household cleaning or minor exercises done in front of the television.[3]

Working normal hours translates to healthy sleep patterns. When one’s occupation involves “normal hours”, one gets to set aside regular, straight time to sleep, working during the daytime and sleeping preferably during the nighttime.

As we are all aware of, how we sleep affects how we feel and behave when are awake. Sleep is an important regular physiological activity. The length and quality of one’s sleep are crucial to one’s health and quality of life.

One can have healthy sleep not only through adequate hours (from 6-8 hours) but also by ensuring straight undisturbed sleep.

Studies have shown that both sleep disturbance and sleep deprivation negatively affect the health of both the young and the adult.[4] It is thus important that  a job allowing for adequate and undisturbed sleep be part of one’s lifestyle.

A healthy lifestyle stimulates one’s health and cuts out many of the risk factors in non-communicable diseases. A healthy lifestyle, as according to WHO, “adds years to life and life to years”(A healthy, 2004)[5] .  Eating, exercising and working and sleeping healthy will ensure our health, and maybe even our happiness.

References

A healthy nutrition lifestyle. (Nov. 2004). Retrieved December 5, 2006 from World Health

Organization Website http://www.euro.who.int/nutrition/20030321_2.

Healthy Living. (Nov. 2004). Retrieved from World Health Organization Website:

http://www.euro.who.int/Document/E66134.pdf.

30 minutes for a healthy life span (Press release). ( 2002). Retrieved 5 Dec. 2006 from World

Health Organization Website http://www.euro.who.int/mediacentre/PR /2002/20020327_1.

WHO Technical Meeting on Sleep and Health. (Nov. 2004). Retrieved from World Health

Organization Website Dec. 5, 2006: http://www.euro.who.int/document/E84683_2.pdf.

[1] Healthy Living, (Nov. 2004), Retrieved from World Health Organization Website:

http://www.euro.who.int/Document/E66134.pdf.
[2] 30 minutes for a healthy life span [Press release], (2002). Retrieved 5 Dec. 2006 from World Health Organization Website http://www.euro.who.int/mediacentre/PR /2002/20020327_1.

[3] 30 minutes, 2002.
[4] WHO Technical Meeting on Sleep and Health, (Nov. 2004), Retrieved from World Health

Organization Website Dec. 5, 2006: http://www.euro.who.int/document/E84683_2.pdf.

 [5] A healthy nutrition lifestyle, (Nov. 2004), Retrieved December 5, 2006 from World Health

Organization Website http://www.euro.who.int/nutrition/20030321_2.