Modern advances and innovations in technology have made a major impact in our day to day lives and activities - certainly for the better, but also for the worse - especially when it comes to our overall health. Everything from computers, smartphones, tablets with endless on-demand TV that contribute to a sedentary lifestyle, to the methods and technology that process a lot of the food we eat into unhealthy variations of their original form. Our busy, fast-paced schedules drive us to seek out fast food and prepackaged meals and anything else that makes our lives easier and more efficient. What we may tend to forget in all of this hustle and bustle, is that while we may be accomplishing more in the way of our productivity at work and home, often some part of our health is sacrificed for these every day conveniences.
With all of this occurring, it may not come as a surprise that less than 3% of Americans meet the basic qualifications of a “healthy lifestyle” according to a study done by the Mayo Clinic. To meet these qualifications, one must engage in moderate or vigorous exercise for at least 150 minutes a week (30 minutes each day for five days a week), have a body fat percentage under 20 percent (for men) or 30 percent (for women), a diet score in the top 40 percent on the Healthy Eating Index and not smoke. It’s very understandable that most people may not be able to meet all of these qualifications for one reason or another, but we at VivA Life would like to offer some helpful guidance that will help you lead and maintain your healthiest lifestyle. This will help you feel and think your best everyday!
Diet: You know the old saying: You are what you eat! A huge part of striving for a healthy lifestyle is your diet - everything you eat and drink. If you want to be your healthiest, it’s a simple as ensuring you eat your healthiest. Adding fruits and vegetables to your diet creates a great foundation for your overall well being. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber that help your body perform at its best, not to mention all of the antioxidants that help fight off free-radicals and support your immune system. The goal is to eat 5-9 servings of different fruits and veggies each day. Try to avoid overly processed or salt filled foods as much as possible. Also, make sure you are drinking plenty of water - a huge factor in maintaining proper hydration levels and nourishment. Water also helps the body flush away waste and harmful byproducts that are created or ingested throughout the day.
Sleep: One of the most important, and often overlooked, key factors in overall health is getting enough sleep each night. Lack of sleep has been closely related to weight gain, poor decision making (especially for healthy lifestyle choices) and an imbalance of hormones that help maintain the body’s optimal functionality. In order to get your best sleep, make sure to avoid display electronics like TV, phones and computers as the blue light that is emitted from the screen triggers your brain to think it’s seeing daylight and keeps you awake. Also, try to avoid consuming heavy foods, alcohol and drinks containing caffeine at least a few hours before bedtime as these can keep you awake.
Exercise: Possibly the least favorite topic for most, exercise is vital to maintaining and improving health. Movement helps stimulate and strengthen the muscles throughout the body, leading to a host of benefits that are hard to ignore. Exercise helps to control weight, combat disease and illness and promotes better sleep. One health benefit of exercise that it often overlooked is its ability to boost mood and mental health. Exercise helps to stimulate various chemicals in the brain that lead to an improved mood and overall psychological well being. It may also help you to feel better about yourself and appearance and help give a boost in self-esteem. Yes, it’s not always easy or fun to get moving, but even a little bit of exercise, like walking, can have a major positive impact on your health!
While trying to incorporate all of these healthy lifestyle tips into your life may seem like a daunting task, don’t stress, you don’t have to make all these changes immediately. Set simple, step-by-step goals to eat better, sleep more and exercise just a little, and build from there. Rome wasn’t built in a day, it took small building blocks place one-by-one to construct a mighty structure - just the same as you starting with small, attainable healthy goals each day and building toward the ultimate healthy you!