Everyone wants to be healthy. While there is certainly no shortage of information available on how to achieve a healthy mind and body, the sheer abundance of opinions and conflicting advice leaves many people scratching their heads. In this article, we break through the confusion to present four tips that provide a direct, actionable answer to the question “how to be healthy?”
Physical activity is paramount to overall health. Exercise doesn’t have to mean doing an intense gym workout several times a week. Regular walking is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for exercise.
It might sound simple, but regular walking is a low-impact way to exercise for increased caloric burn. That makes it an accessible method of weight control for most people. The number of calories that you burn as a result of walking will depend on your speed, distance covered, and the type of terrain you’re walking on. You will burn more calories if you are walking at a quick pace in a hilly area than a leisurely pace on even ground, for instance.
Walking also has many health benefits. For example, walking helps lubricate the muscles around the joints of the hips and knees, and it’s also the body’s means of restoring elasticity and hydration in our tissues. Consequently, walking eases joint movement and strengthens bones. At the same time it strengthens the muscles of the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, especially if your pace and the terrain is challenging.
Exercise also provides very real emotional and psychological benefits. Walking, again, is an excellent form of exercise to do this. Walking outdoors provides an excellent opportunity to get out, away from the computer screen and in the fresh air. It also exposes your body to the vitamin D of the sun, which has a host of health benefits for the body. A number of studies have shown that walking also improves mood, reduces stress, and helps to offset depression.
When it comes to how to be healthy, there has been more written about what you should eat than virtually any other subject. This has led to a glut of information. However, the key to a healthy diet is relatively simple—eat more whole foods.
What is a whole food? It is a food that has just one ingredient, and it is the name of the piece of food in your hand! Whole foods are not processed with preservatives, which would allow them to last longer on a store shelf, and they do not have flavorings added to them to make them more tempting to the taste buds.
Eat mindfully by building your diet around vegetables and fruits. When it comes to vegetables, most of us limit ourselves to a narrow range. By simply spending more time in the produce section of the supermarket and experimenting with foods like beets, parsnip, zucchini, and butternut squash, you will be getting a great range of phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals into your body.
If you want more ideas, check out some of our other nutrition tips.
Decreasing the time spent in front of a computer or TV screen is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Spending several hours in front of a screen has a number of negative health effects. For one, computer or TV time is sedentary time. This can be a risk factor for obesity, as there is a minimum calorie burn.
Additionally, computer screens emit artificial light that prevents us from getting to sleep. The importance of sleep in preventing weight gain cannot be overstated. When you spend an hour or more in front of the computer before going to bed, it is more difficult to get into the relaxed state of mind needed for falling asleep.
Spending hours each day hunched over a computer screen can also lead to muscular problems, such as back, neck, and shoulder pain. It can also lead to poor posture. Increased computer time has also been associated with a greater likelihood of depression and anxiety.
Getting away from the computer doesn’t have to mean going outside and exercising, though that is certainly an excellent option. Doing cognitively engaging offline activities, such as completing a puzzle or doing a crossword, are great ways of boosting your brain power and relaxing your mind.
Breathing is such an ongoing, automatic process that most people pay it little regard. However, tapping into your breathing and using a mindful breathing technique is a very effective way to relax and find calmness.
Mindful breathing can help optimize the way your body functions. It allows you to use the full capacity of your lungs. Most of us only fill the top third of our lungs with each breath.
Other benefits that have been associated with mindful breathing include:
- Reducing anxiety
- Helping to overcome insomnia
- Increasing energy output
- Reducing blood pressure
- Boosting memory
A simple mindful breathing exercise is to breathe through your nose for 3 minutes. To do this, simply close your mouth and then breathe as slowly as possible through your nose.
Here are a couple more mindful breathing techniques to help you live a healthy life:
Equal breathing is a great technique to help you slow down, take stock, and achieve calmness. Take a deep breath in through your nose while slowly counting to four. Now expel the air back through your nose for the same four count.
Sequence counting is a variation of equal breathing that is often used to get into a meditative or mindful state. Breathe in through the nose for one second. Now breathe out to a count of two. Take in another breath to a count of three and expel the air to a four-count. On the next breath, take a five-count to draw in the air and a six-count to expel it. Then repeat the cycle, starting with a one-second inhalation.
You can find many more resources to help you breathe mindfully on www.durableathlete.com.
There are a lot of strategies and techniques you can use if you want to know how to be healthy. We’ve given you four great tips to start off with, so don’t waste any more time and improve your health today.