Everyone wants to be healthy. When you’re healthy everything in your life has the potential to be as good as it can get.
Unfortunately when our health declines it’s hard for our life to be as fruitful and rewarding. While there are some things we cannot control, there are quite a few things that we can.
One of the issues with how we approach our health today is that we reduce it to healing after we get ill. Whilst this is important, what is equally if not more important is looking at how we can avoid having our health decline, in other words how do we take preventative measures to protect and improve our health.
The mindset to being preventative in our health is to make long term, sustainable changes to our lifestyles that not only protect us from dips in our health, but also improve our everyday experience and standard of life.
If all these benefits are of interest to you, and they should be, read on. In this article we will go through 5 ways you can improve your long term health.
First on the list is exercise and this may seem obvious, but the benefits of exercise are often overlooked. Exercise is widely recommended to everyone by health care professionals everywhere.
The UK healthcare service, the NHS has described exercise as the “miracle cure” because of all the beneifts for little to no cost. They have said that people undertaking some form of regular exercise have a far lower risk of long term chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and even some different types of cancer.
It also provides benefits for your mental health with research showing a decreased risk of depression, Alzheimers, as well as dementia. It has also been proven to boost your mood, energy, self-esteem and sleep quality.
What kind of exercise is specifically recommended? To maintain their health, adults should aim to undertake 150 minutes of physical activity a week through different activities.
Some ways to do this are just to walk or use your bicycle instead of taking a bus or car. However, this activity should be intense enough to raise your heart rate.
Essentially you should feel an elevation in your temperature and pace of breathing. It is therefore recommended to take on more intense forms of exercise.
Exercise is particularly important in our modern day as we tend to live more sedentary lifestyles, reducing the amount of natural movement we need to undertake.
Avoid Red Meats
The next way to improve your long term health is avoiding red meats. This may not seem intuitive at first.
Isn’t red meat a good source of protein that helps you build muscle? Is red meat not the food that has been touted as the food for “strong manly men” to eat?
While there are some benefits to eating red meat they are heavily outweighed by the negative consequences. Research has shown that regularly consuming red meat can be dangerous for your health.
For example, red meat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. This is because relative to white meats like chicken and fish, there is more cholesterol and saturated fats in red meat.
It has also been linked to increased risk of cancer. This applies to all red meat but in particular applies heavily to processed meats such as hot dogs or bacon.
Its risk of increasing diabetes has been calculated to be around 48%.
While you don’t have to eliminate red meat from your diet, the recommendation is that you do not exceed four servings a week. These servings should also be lean and should not be processed meats.
Variety in your diet
It has been shown that including variety in your diet has many health benefits. This is because your body relies on different vitamins, minerals and nutrients to keep your body working at an optimum condition.
It has been shown that variety in a diet leads to a healthier heart and weight range. In addition diversity creates a strong gut.
This is important as a vast amount of digestion starts in the gut with immunity also depending on its healthy function. However, the bacteria in your gut on which these processes depend also need to be fed.
Diversity of nutrients provides with different types of good bacteria they can use to stay healthy and well functioning.
Like exercise, simply going outside can provide you with many health benefits with little to no cost. Going outside has been shown to have positive effects on both your mental and physical health.
On the mental side, it has been shown to improve memory, restore mental energy, reduce stress and combat depression.
While a causal link has not been proven, going outside, specifically into nature has shown a strong association with preventing cancer, boosting your immune system and reducing your risk of premature death.
When we refer to avoiding sugar we don’t mean every kind. The types of sugars you find in fruits have little to no negative affect and the different nutrients one gets from a variety of fruits is extremely valuable.
What we are focusing on here is the processed sugar you find in desserts and sodas. These sugars are often taken in far too much by the average adult.
Processed sugars in the diet can have negative effects on long term health. It has been shown that sugar in the diet increases the risk of diabetes by messing with the body’s insulin regulation.
Similarly some studies have suggested that intaking large amounts of processed sugar can increase your risk of death by heart disease by 38%. This is in addition to obvious issues of weight gain and the erratic highs and crashes of sugar rushes.
Removing it from your diet can potentially reverse the negative conditions you have accrued and also provide you with the opposite such as a boost in energy and weight loss.
In this article we have gone through 5 different ways to extend your long term health. Remember, while healing has a place it can be far more effective to be preventative in your outlook on your health care.
Most of the steps outlined above, whilst potentially difficult to implement in your life at the beginning have many long terms benefits that make it worth it.
However, it can be difficult so it also worthwhile bearing in mind that change is best introduced gradually. Gradually implementing these steps into your life is more sustainable than harshly imposing them and then giving up a few weeks later.