A healthy lifestyle involves eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly and managing stress effectively. Making these healthy choices every day can affect more than your physical appearance -- it can also increase both the length and quality of your life by boosting your immunity to disease and keeping you emotionally healthy.
Mood and cognitive function play an important role in quality of life, productivity and healthy interpersonal relationships. According to the "American Journal of Psychiatry," a Western diet high in saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and alcohol is associated with higher levels of depression and anxiety in women than a diet rich in fruit, vegetables and whole grains. While more research is needed, eating a balanced diet that includes a combination of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats may be an effective way to protect mental health.
Energy and Stamina
Health is more than the absence of illness. A healthy body rewards you with a lifetime of service in the form of high energy levels, strength and longevity. According to Science Daily, low-intensity exercise can decrease fatigue by 65 percent while boosting energy levels up to 20 percent. Healthy adults should aim for 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each day for optimal fitness. Activity can be spread throughout the day and may include small changes like parking further from entrances or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Chronic diseases like heart disease, type II diabetes and cancer are endemic in today’s society. While risk factors like family history are uncontrollable, lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and avoidance of harmful habits can go a long way toward preventing disease. The Mayo Clinic states that eating a diet low in saturated fat, exercising for 30 minutes daily and avoiding tobacco use greatly reduce the risk of heart disease — the most common chronic disease in the United States. Eating a nutritious diet and exercising regularly may also help prevent cancer development in people with an increased genetic risk for the disease, according to the American Cancer Society.
Beauty and Appearance
Healthy lifestyle habits are vital for maintaining a youthful, attractive appearance. For example, vitamin A supports healthy skin, hair and nails, while antioxidants like vitamin C and selenium help prevent free radical damage involved in the aging process. Healthy lifestyle choices like eating a balanced diet and exercising regularly also help prevent obesity. Avoiding excessive sun exposure, smoking and other potentially harmful habits promotes a youthful appearance by protecting against damage that can accelerate the aging of your skin.
- Science Daily: Low-Intensity Exercise Reduces Fatigue Symptoms By 65 Percent, Study Finds
- American Journal of Psychiatry: Association of Western and Traditional Diets With Depression and Anxiety in Women
- Mayo Clinic: 5 medication-free strategies to help prevent heart disease
- American Cancer Society: ACS Guidelines on Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention