A healthy lifestyle does not need to be complicated. A healthy balance of sleep, fitness, and mental conditioning is all that is required. Brush those teeth and don’t forget to stay hydrated. The benefits can be seen both short-term and long-term. Healthy living can be quite straightforward.
1. Sleep it off
Adults need between 8-10 hours of sleep a night. The physical benefits of sleep are mostly associated with weight loss, heart health, and stable blood sugar levels. Sleep and weight loss go hand in hand. Insufficient sleep can lower a person’s resistance to unhealthy foods and decrease the desire to get up and move. Binge eating and sitting too much can rapidly lead to unhealthy weight gain. Sleeping gives the heart and blood vessels a chance to rest, thus resulting in lower blood pressure and better heart health. Blood glucose levels are also affected by the amount of rest a person receives. The more sleep a person gets, the lower the blood sugar levels will be. This is especially important for people with type I and type II diabetes.
How much sleep is needed?
The amount of sleep needed will be different for each person. While 8-10 hours a night is average, there are a select few that function correctly on 6. These people account for only 1-3% of the population. Sleeping more than 10 hours a night could be a sign of a deeper medical issue. Sleeping more than the amount needed can also leave a person feeling tired and stiff. The average adult needs 8+ hours of sleep a night.
2. Pay attention to oral hygiene
The human mouth is full of bacteria. But don’t worry, most of the bacteria are harmless. Brushing and flossing help keep bacteria levels under control. Unfortunately, oral care is often overlooked. Teeth are brushed once, maybe twice a day and then forgotten. Most people only floss right before going to the dentist. But poor oral care can have negative health consequences.
Oral health can give glimpses into total body health. Gum disease can be a sign of unstable blood sugar levels. If left untreated, this can develop into diabetes. Repeat canker sores could be the result of allergies, vitamin deficiencies, Crohn’s disease, and even Alzheimer’s disease can be identified by a decrease in dental health. Many diseases are linked to bacteria that originates in the mouth.
3. Drink more water
From increased brainpower to a boosted immune system, the benefits of water are often overlooked. The human body needs water to survive. Just about every system in the human body is dependent on water. Water helps with digestion, circulation, and maintaining body temperature. Oxygen and nutrients are transported throughout the body via water. The liver and kidneys use water to flush out toxins from the bloodstream. Water improves brain function, assists in weight loss, improves mood, and energizes muscles.
Water prevents dehydration and is required for a healthy body. The body is continually losing water through various methods such as sweating, breathing, and going to the bathroom. Replenishing water levels throughout the day is essential. This can be achieved directly through the consumption of water, or through a combination of water, electrolyte drinks, and fruit. Dehydration can lead to headaches, cramping, muscle sprains, and back pain. Experts recommend a minimum of 8 glasses of water per day.
4. Get up and move
Physical activity is beneficial to people of all ages. Lack of physical activity increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and cancer. Regular physical activity does not need to be rigorous to be beneficial. As little as 20-30 minutes can be enough for the average individual. Everyday activities such as doing the laundry, cleaning the car, and even gardening can have short-term and long-term benefits. Physical activity is beneficial to people of all ages. Additional benefits of regular exercise include:
Increased fitness levels
Lower blood pressure and cholesterol
Strengthening of the heart and lungs
Lowered chance of osteoporosis
Improved energy levels
Enhanced mental state
Strong musculoskeletal development
5. Don’t forget the mind
Too often the mind is overlooked. Whether the lack of knowledge or social stigma, mental fitness is not given enough of a priority. Diet, exercise, and stress management all tie back to mental health. Diet plays a huge role in mental health. Food is fuel for the brain. And like a car, poor fuel will only get sub-par results. 95% of serotonin, the happy chemical, is produced in the gastrointestinal tract. Refined sugars and carbohydrates will lead to increased sluggishness, weight gain, and depression. Diets high in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals protect the brain from oxidation, improves memory, and promotes cell growth.
As important as movement is for the body, exercise is beneficial for the mind as well. Exercise is a natural treatment for many mental health challenges such as depression and anxiety. This is because physical activity stimulates the production of endorphins, happy chemicals. Physical activity, simple or rigorous, creates new activity patterns in the brain. A well-exercised mind enables people to better handle stressful situations. Stress management is key in mental health management. High stress can lead to skin problems, weight fluctuations, heart conditions, mood interruptions, and loss of sleep. Learning to manage stressors will leave a person in a much better physical and mental state.
Practice healthy living every day
A healthy life does not need to be complicated. Maintaining a good sleep schedule will lead to more energy. Oral hygiene will prevent the spread of bacteria that is consumed through food. Drinking more water will prevent dehydration. Movement will keep the body physically fit. All of these habits can add up to improving mental health and stress management. Patients should speak with a healthcare provider for specific recommendations to promote a healthy lifestyle.