You know that healthy habits make sense, but did you ever stop to think why you practice them? Research shows that the impact of good health on your quality of life is far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability. Check out these five qualities that good health promotes.
Eating right and exercising regularly can help you avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can obtain benefits of exercise by being active in simple ways throughout the day. For example, walk instead of driving vehicle or take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Eating a low-fat diet can also help control weight. When you start the day with a healthy breakfast, you help avoid hunger spasms that could send you running to the fast food before lunch, says the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA also recommends incorporating at least five times per day of fruits and vegetables--which are low in calories and high in nutrients--in to your diet to help with weight control.
Doing right by your body pays off for your mind as well. The Mayo Clinic notes that physical activity stimulates brain chemicals that often leave you feeling both happier and more relaxed. Eating a healthy diet as well as exercising can lead to a better physique, so you may also feel better about your appearance, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. The American Council on Exercise reports that the short-term results of exercise include decreased stress and ability to think better.
It's not just diet and exercise that lead to improved mood. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Behaviour, another healthy habit that leads to better mental health is making social connections. Whether it's volunteering, joining a club, or attending a movie, communal activities help improve mood and mental functioning by keeping the mind active and serotonin levels balanced, says the American Academy of Family Physicians.
Healthy habits can help prevent certain health conditions--such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure--by boosting high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol and decreasing unhealthy triglycerides. This combination keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The Mayo Clinic says that regular physical activity and proper diet can help you prevent or manage a wide range of other health problems, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis.
We've all experienced the energy drop that comes from eating foods high in sugar and saturated fats. When you eat a balanced diet including whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables, your body has the fuel that it needs to manage your energy level.
Regular physical exercise also improves muscle strength and boosts endurance, giving you more energy, says the Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and gets your cardiovascular system working more efficiently so that you have more energy to go about your daily activities. It also helps boost energy by promoting better sleep--helping you fall asleep faster and deepening your sleep.
When you practice healthy habits, you boost your chances of a longer life. The American Council on Exercise reported on an eight-year study of 13,000 people. The study showed that those who walked just 30 minutes each day significantly reduced their chances of dying prematurely, compared with those who exercised infrequently. Looking forward to more time with loved ones is reason enough to keep walking.