What is a healthy lifestyle?

by Sandra Quiles
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Most people would agree that a healthy lifestyle is important to a long and prosperous life. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules, like exercising and eating the right foods and we will all be healthy. But it takes a little more effort to really achieve the healthy goals you are looking for.  One condition that cannot be ignored is obesity.  Obesity is a medical condition where excess body fat has a negative impact on a persons health.  Obesity is one of the leading causes of death that is preventable.  Not only does obesity effect the  physical well being of an individual, but it carries a severe risk of mental conditions.

On October 18 2017 the World Health Organization reported these key facts:

  • Worldwide obesity has nearly tripled since 1975.
  • In 2016, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Of these over 650 million were obese.
  • 39% of adults aged 18 years and over were overweight in 2016, and 13% were obese.
  • Most of the world’s population live in countries where overweight and obesity kills more people than underweight.
  • 41 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Over 340 million children and adolescents aged 5-19 were overweight or obese in 2016.
  • Obesity is preventable.

Eliminate bad Habits

Every year approximately 1.5 million people die of disease that is directly attributed to unhealthy lifestyle choices. Enter the next unhealthy choice. Smoking. Smoking is the biggest public health hazard to the lungs of the population. Smoking increases your risk of having a stroke by at least 50%, damages your heart, reduces blood circulation, (that’s why smokers have an ashen look to their skin. No blood gets to their facial capillaries!), increase blood pressure, etc. The list is endless. If you smoke, stopping will be tough. You can have withdrawals that may last for years. Still the multitude of benefits greatly outweigh the negative.

Implement good habits

Now lets talk about everyone’s favorite subject.  Exercising.  So sitting is the new smoking?  That’s what I hear all the time.  Well, maybe.  Sitting is definitely not exercising.  But I work at my computer, I sit all day.  According to the Mayo Clinic and Edward R. Laskowski, MD,  when you sit, you use less energy than you do when you stand or move. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with a number of health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that make up metabolic syndrome. Too much sitting overall and prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Ok, I believe those statements, but what can I do for myself to improve my condition.. Hey, I still have to work!  Well standing seems to be the universal answer.  Thanks.  I had figured that out already.  But really just getting up and moving is the message here.  One suggestion is to position your workspace over a treadmill.  I would probably pay to see that.

If you work from home investing in a treadmill would be a good idea.  You can walk inside (inclement weather,safety,etc), and you can do it on your own time.  If you do not have a treadmill at work, inform your boss that many insurance companies will give credits, or even reduce their premiums.  It pays to be healthy.

And last, but certainly not least is eating the right foods.  The first thing  to realize when making decisions about which foods to eat is that you may not to be able to follow a strict daily diet.  That concept is for the people that do not have to meet deadlines, pick up children, drive for long hours to pay the bills.  The regular folk.  Just keep trying.  The results will show.

A diet that is low in saturated fat, high in fruits and vegetables can lower blood pressure.  We all know that this is true, but how do we do this.  By eating things that fill us up, but are very low in fat.  Fruit is a great choice.  Bananas and apples come with an outer layer of skin that keeps the meat fresh and non-perishable for days.  They are filling and healthy and easy to eat.  Start with keeping these fruits around everywhere.  They will satisfy your cravings and keep those unwanted calories down.

Keep your intake of red and processed meat down.  How much?  You be the judge.  They are high in saturated fat.  If you are going to eat red meat, make it a select cut.   Grass-fed beef is leaner than grain-fed, which makes it lower in total fat and saturated fat. Grass-fed beef also contains more omega-3 fatty acids.


Fish is a high-protein, low-fat food that provides a range of health benefits.  Most fish are lower in fat than any other source of animal protein, and oily fish, as mentioned above  are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Since the human body can’t make significant amounts of these essential nutrients, fish are an important part of the diet.  Also, fish are low in omega-6 fatty acids.

According to the Environmental Defense Fund website, the omega-3s found in fish (EPA and DHA) appear to provide the greatest health benefits. Fish that are high in omega-3s, low in environmental contaminants and eco-friendly include:

  • wild salmon from Alaska (fresh, frozen and canned),
  • Arctic char,
  • Atlantic mackerel,
  • sardines,
  • sablefish,
  • anchovies
  • farmed rainbow trout and
  • albacore tuna from the U.S. and Canada.

If you do like fish, one way to consume omega-3 fatty acids is by taking fish oil  supplements.  These supplements have been proven to lower blood pressure, reduce triglycerides, (the fat in the blood), slow the development of plaque in the arteries, reduce heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.  Up to three grams of fish oil daily is recommended.  Any more, you need to speak with your doctor.

One more thing

All of these suggestions are intended to make people realize one important thing.   One of  the few things that people have control over in their lives are the choices they make.  Good eating habits, and exercising regularly will keep you feeling good.  And when we feel our best we accomplish what we set out to do.  Which brings me to my last important health tip.   Mental awareness.

Having the right mental attitude is as important as eating well and exercising.  There is a whole lot that goes on inside your head that is not known.  One thing that is abundantly clear is that your mental state plays a critical roll in your overall health.  One exercise that has gained a lot of popularity in the West is meditating.   People meditate for a reason.  Some of those reasons are stress reducing, helping one to focus, and another way to lower blood pressure.  Try it, just take a deep breath and relax.  Your mind knows what to do to keep you healthy.  All you have to do is let it.

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