A healthy lifestyle is defined as a set of practices aimed at improving the health of individuals and preventing diseases, which ultimately lead to a better quality of life in general.
Some might think a healthy lifestyle means exercising and eating healthy food, but it also includes mental health, as a healthy life is defined by the balance between physical health and mental health.
Components of a healthy lifestyle
A Balanced diet and healthy eating habits
Getting a good quality and quantity of sleep
Managing the stressors of life
Avoiding harmful habits
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle
When first adopting a healthy lifestyle, you must decide that you want to enjoy the benefits of adopting healthy habits and commit to maintaining its practices.
Furthermore, you must recognise your current health level, so that you can measure the extent of your improvement over time.
The basic aspects one must evaluate include: weight, waist circumference, blood pressure, fat and blood sugar levels, in addition, you must assess your physical activity, monitor the nature of the food you consume, and the amount of sleep you get per day.
Sometimes it may seem that adopting a healthy lifestyle is difficult and cannot be done, as it may be difficult to stop unhealthy habits and wrong practices, however, the basic principle one must follow when adopting a healthy lifestyle is to start with simple practical steps towards a change for the better, regarding food, physical activity, sleep and other health practices.
Therefore, you must be patient and in time healthy practices will become habits that you cannot abandon, especially when you see their benefits on physical and mental health.
A healthy balanced diet
Some may think that focusing on eating healthy food is too much or that healthy food is a bit boring, however, eating healthy food does not mean avoiding certain foods and eating others, but rather, diversifying your food intake to get all the vitamins, nutrients and minerals your body needs to enjoy a healthy and happy life.
A healthy balanced diet gives the body the energy needed to carry out daily activities and build and renew cells, as well as prevent obesity and other diseases.
Healthy eating tips
Keep food consumption in moderation and diversify your food intake to include every food group vital to your body.
Eat three main meals a day, with lunch being the largest, and have snacks consisting of fruits, vegetables or nuts in between meals.
Keep a regular eating schedule and make sure you eat breakfast a while before noon and avoid eating dinner just before bedtime to avoid obesity.
Eat meals in multiple stages during the day and in small quantities, to curb the feeling of hunger and avoid eating large amounts.
Drink a sufficient amount of water, because water helps burn calories and promote weight loss, and it plays a vital role in removing toxins from the body and maintaining a proper balance of fluids in the body.
Reduce your intake of foods rich in saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and sugar.
Avoid soft drinks or sweetened juices containing artificial sugar because they contain a lot of calories.
Physical activity has many benefits for human health, as it helps to get rid of anxiety, insomnia and psychological stress, in addition to preventing many diseases caused by the lack of activity such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and bone problems.
Tips to boost Physical activity
Choose activities that suit your daily schedule, preferences and health status.
Adopt a gradual approach when it comes to the intensity, duration, and repetition of the physical activity, as adults should do moderate-intensity physical activity for 30 minutes at least 5 days a week, and it is better to reach that goal gradually by starting with 10 minutes of walking a day and increasing the frequency per week until you reach at least half an hour for five days a week.
Avoid inactivity and spending time watching TV or social media and set a 2-hour maximum limit per day for them.
Enjoy daily activities such as gardening and other household chores.
Walk or ride a bike instead of driving.
Proper sleep plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, however, it is important to understand that sleep needs and hours vary from person to person and to get a healthy amount of sleep remember the following:
Avoid watching TV or using the phone two hours before bedtime.
Avoid intense exercises before bed.
Set a regular sleep schedule and avoid relying on sleeping more on the weekends and neglecting the rest of the week.
pay attention to sleep problems and chronic disorders, and seek help from specialists if needed.
Today, life is full of difficulties and pressures, and if not dealt with properly, tension, anxiety and stress can lead to harmful and unhealthy behaviours such as excessive eating and smoking, therefore one must set aside time for rest, relaxation, psychological release through prefered activities or hobbies, such as reading, yoga, sports, and socializing with friends and family.
Avoiding unhealthy habits
To maintain a healthy lifestyle one must gradually avoid unhealthy habits such as smoking, lack of physical activity, avoiding regular check-ups, eating unhealthy food, and skipping meals.
By: Dr. Badreyya Al-Harmi, Consultant Public Health, Emirates Public Health Association