What is a healthy lifestyle?
Creating healthy lifestyles requires us to learn the consequences our behaviors can have on our health. When we become informed about how diet, sleep, exercise, and chemical substances affect our health, we can make educated choices.
Why are healthy lifestyles important?
Healthy lifestyles provide a solid foundation for positive outcomes in all aspects of our lives: school, work, recreation and our relationships. When we make healthy choices regarding diet, exercise, sleep and other behaviors, we feel better, look better and have more energy. Students at College of the Canyons have many opportunities to access information on how to maintain or start living a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to utilize the resources available at College of the Canyons Health Center and to ask for help when needed. Counseling appointments are available through the Health Center.
Eating well, exercising and avoiding unhealthy habits are ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Other ways to stay healthy include avoiding stressful situations, being surrounded by supportive friends and family, and keeping your brain challenged. A healthy lifestyle can add 14 years to your life, according to researchers at the University of Cambridge in England
Examples of healthy lifestyle choices:
- Good nutrition and diet, choosing the right foods
- Healthy sleep habits
- Daily exercise
- Understand safe sexual practices
- Eliminating unhealthy habits and abuses (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc.)
Avoiding Chronic Diseases
Taking measures to stay fit and healthy goes a long way in preventing chronic diseases. The Mayo Clinic suggests eating well, exercising and not smoking to minimize your risks of heart disease, some types of cancer and diabetes. Maintaining a healthy weight in midlife may lessen your chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease by a third. It is also important to manage your stress level to fight off chronic diseases and other illnesses, including high blood pressure, stroke and infertility. Long-term stress can leave you susceptible to depression and anxiety.
Improving Your Mood
A healthy lifestyle includes socializing. Being surrounded by friends and family who support your goals and ambitions will make you happy. Exercising can also improve your mood. Physical activity helps your brain release chemicals that help you feel relaxed and happy. Exercise can lead to better self-esteem and can help ward off depression. Eating healthfully can also boost your mood. The “Psychology Today” website recommends eating a balanced breakfast every day to keep your mood stable. The site also suggests eating proteins such as fish, eggs and soy with every meal and avoiding simple sugars to boost your spirits.
Exercising regularly will help regulate your sleep patterns. Sleeping better at night leads to more energy the next day. Eating right will also help you sleep better. Avoid caffeine before bedtime to get a better night’s sleep and avoid daytime sleepiness. Reducing stress is another way to have a healthy lifestyle. If you are experiencing a lot of stress, you are more likely to have a tough time sleeping. If you need help dealing with stress, try meditating or talking to a counselor.
Keeping Your Mind Fresh
A balanced breakfast every morning will get your brain off to the right start. Breakfast allows your brain to restock its energy stores that were depleted during the night. A nutritious breakfast, including a combination of proteins and complex carbohydrates, will help you think more clearly. Physical activity also benefits the brain. Movement such as walking increases your heart rate and your breathing pattern. This helps more blood flow to your brain, which improves your brain’s energy level.