10 Crucial Practices for a Healthy Life

We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control the choices we make that help or harm our health.

Today, I want to share 10 crucial practices for a healthy life.

1.    Eat Healthy Food

Image by klenova
Image by klenova

This is the foundation of a healthy life and a no-brainer, yet many people ignore this one completely.

You must be sure that your body gets adequate amounts of the nutients it needs in order to function correctly

When your diet is made up primarily of fast food, junk food, and heavily processed foods that are filled with sugar, sodium, fat and additives, you are essentially starving your body.  Your organs cannot function well over time when you live on a diet of empty calories.

The human body is miraculous, but it must have the proper fuel (healthy food as close to nature as possible) in order to do its job and keep you healthy.

Eating a healthy diet is critical and it is also important to watch your portions.

Overeating (gluttony) is not good for the body – especially your heart.  Many Americans eat far more than is necessary.

Folow the rule: Eat all foods (even healthy foods) in moderation

2.    Get Plenty of Rest

Without adequate rest (7 to 9 hours/night for the average person), your body will not function as it was meant to function. It will eventually tire out – opening to door to illness and disease.

Adequate rest and quality sleep time enhances bodily functions, reduces tension and anxiety, and sharpens the mind.

Establish a good rest routine. Listen to your body and figure out how much sleep you need. Everyone’s body is different; but, no matter who you are – less than 6-7 hours a night is not good.

A 20-30 minute power nap during the day is good for everyone – whether you are working or not. It will make your late afternoon and evening hours more productive. These are critical if you get less than 6 hours of sleep each night.

3.    Get Some Exercise Every Day

The human body is meant to be active. Continual, long-term inactivity weakens the body in multiple ways and saps your energy. Inactivity is one of the major risk factors for heart disease.

Exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. If you tend to be a couch potato (or desk-chair potato), now is the time to change. Get up and get moving.

The heart is a muscle. As with all muscles, it becomes stronger as a result of exercise. It works more efficiently as it pumps blood through the body with every beat. Exercise helps the heart work at maximum capacity with less strain.

When you get some daily exercise (at least 15-20 minutes a day) you will be protecting your heart and doing your part to prevent brittle bones and stiff joints as you get older.

Long strenuous workouts are not necessary. In fact, definitely do not start there. Begin with where you currently are physically and gradually increase as your body adapts.

Some options are:

  • Take a 15 – 20 minute walk each day.
  • Stretch when you get up in the morning with some easy arm and leg lifts.
  • Walk up and down stairs rather than take the elevator. Walking stairs a few times a day, even slowly is helpful.
  • Dance to your favorite music in your living room

Work with your body, not against it.

Find a type of exercise that appeals to you and do it. After a week or two with one type of exercise, introduce something new.

Take your time – but EXERCISE regularly.

4.    Drink Water

The human body ranges from 50-75% water with the average adult being 50-65% water. As a result, staying hydrated is critical for good health.

Water flushes germs, toxins and waste from the body. Fluids in general are good, but water is the only fluid that will flush your system adequately. So, drink at least 64 fluid ounces every day.

If you are thirsty, drink water instead of a soda, coffee, or energy drinks. The sugar, sodium, caffeine, and additives found in bottled drinks are NOT good for your health. Even bottled juice is not a good choice. It is primarily sugar water.

Making this simple change will save you money and your health will benefit tremendously.

5.    Be Smart – Be Safe

Imge by iofoto
Imge by iofoto

Wear a helmet when riding a bicycle. Wear a helmet and leathers when riding a motorcycle. Use good safety goggles when using hazardous tools. Have someone stabilize the ladder when hanging Christmas lights.  Need I say more? I think not.

Follow all safety rules for every activity – driving, riding motor cycles or bicycles, cooking, using tools, climbing ladders, cleaning windows, etc. (You get the idea, I’m sure.)

Protect your body and your brain at all times.

6.    Protect Your Skin

Men and women alike should utilize good moisturizers and lotions to protect the skin from too much sun. This is particularly true in the Sun Belt where skin cancers are far too common.

Lotions and moisturizers will help keep skin healthy over the long-term.

As the body matures, skin begins to break down and thin, which requires even more protection (long-sleeved shirts and a hat) when you plan to be in the sun for extended periods of time.

7.    Manage Your Stress

Image by B-D-S
Image by B-D-S

Stress is a silent killer. It not only drags you down emotionally, making it difficult to maintain a positive outlook on life; it also affects you physically, especially your heart and blood pressure.

Find ways to manage your stress, or it will take a serious toll on your health.

Exercise, practice relaxation techniques (e.g. deep breathing), socialize (have fun), enjoy the arts (draw, paint, write), take long nature walks, and daily meditation are just a few things that can help you with de-stressing.

If you are continually worried, short-tempered, rarely laugh, wish everyone would leave you alone, have trouble sleeping, or are constantly exhausted, there is a good chance you are living with extreme stress.

Do something about it!

Look at your life and find ways to relax, let go of stress, and be healthier.

8.    Stop Smoking

This is not news and very little needs to be said. It is an unhealthy, disgusting habit. It has no redeeming graces.  And . . . it is extremely bad for your heart and your lungs.

9.    Limit Your Alcohol Intake (or abstain)

10. Take Advantage of Modern Medicine

Image by wavebreak_media
Image by wavebreak_media

At a minimum, have an annual checkup.  Talk to your doctor and follow his advice.

I am not saying to take pills for every pain or minor problem that appears, but follow the basics to protect your body from illness and disease.

Pay attention to your body. It will give you signals when things are not as they should be.

For example, watch your blood pressure and have your blood tested regularly for signs of conditions such as high blood sugar that can be treated effectively when caught early.

For seniors, it is wise to have a shingles and pneumonia shot when advised, etc.

When potentially serious problems are identified early, they can often be resolved before any long-lasting damage is done.

The old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” carries as much wisdom today as it did when it was first uttered.

It is never too late to start living a healthier life. The practices listed above are all within your control.

Is long-term health important enough to you

that you will  do what you must in order to make it a reality?