12 Keys To Healthy Living
Living a long and healthy life is partly a matter of heredity, but even more important are the lifestyle choices you make. Adopt all twelve of the following suggestions--or even just a few--and we bet you'll begin to see positive results practically the same day!
Breathe deeply and rhythmically. Practice breathing exercises in conjunction with yoga, walking, weights, or whenever you find yourself stuck in line or traffic. Positive physiological effects include stress reduction, improved digestion, better muscle coordination, mental alertness, and a boost of physical energy.
3) Floss & Brush
Even more effective than vitamins or exercise, flossing may be the ultimate key to good health. Daily flossing can add 6.4 years to your life! Flossing protects your arteries by reducing inflammation, improves immune function, and correlates with lowered incidence of cardiovascular disease.
Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that just about anyone at any level of fitness can enjoy. Walking lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) "bad" cholesterol; raises high-density lipoprotein (HDL) "good" cholesterol; lowers blood pressure; reduces the risk or severity of type 2 diabetes; improve mood; manages weight; and builds strength.
And you can forget the "no pain, no gain" talk. Research shows that regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise such as jogging.
Walk outdoors and fight depression with a natural high. You'll also absorb a healthful dose of Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin.
Volunteering is great for your mental health. Volunteering connects you to others, helps you make new friends and contacts, and improves relationship skills.
Volunteering can provide a healthy boost to your self-confidence, self-esteem, and life satisfaction. Volunteering also combats depression. A key risk factor for depression is social isolation.
Volunteering also helps you stay physically healthy, and it's especially beneficial in older adults. Studies have found that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not, even when factoring in other health considerations. Volunteering has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic pain or heart disease.
7) Make Music
Music is fun and music can heal. Music therapists work with cancer patients, children with ADD, and people with emotional challenges. The practice of music therapy helps with pain management combats depression, promotes movement, eases muscle tension, and more.
Music with a strong beat can focus concentration, while a slower tempo promotes a calm, meditative state. Listening to soothing music has been shown to be comparable to deep meditation. The change in brainwave activity levels that music can bring can also enable the brain to shift speeds more easily on its own as needed, which means that music can bring lasting benefits to your state of mind, even after you've stopped listening.
So go listen to some great music, or make some of your own!
Though meditation is usually recognized as a largely spiritual practice, it also has many health benefits. Mediation increases blood flow while slowing the heart rate. Meditation leads to a deeper level of relaxation, lowers blood pressure, reduces anxiety attacks, decreases muscle tension, increases serotonin production which improves mood, and builds self-confidence.
9) Make Love
Studies show that sex relieves stress, lowers blood pressure, boosts immunity, boosts self esteem, improves heart health, and even burns extra calories! The hormone oxytocin released during sex, the so-called "love hormone," helps us bond, feel generosity, and even reduces pain. Sex even reduces the prostate cancer risk in men.
Sex helps you sleep better, too!
Medical experts confirm that reading is great for your health. Reading novels and short articles can offer a brief respite from the stresses and strains of everyday life. Traditionally reading was associated with learning, and in this way it is good for personal development, but reading a magazine or even a cookbook can be very comforting. Our brains are constantly bombarded with information, more so now than ever before, and reading is also a good way to wind down before bedtime.
Reading is most commonly associated with books and magazines, but as many as one in ten people are happiest reading online. Reading also sparks the imagination, provides brain food, and correlates with delaying the onset and severity of dementia in the elderly.
Sleep, we all love it, especially when you wake up from a great night's sleep. When people get less than 6 or 7 hours of sleep each night, their risk for developing diseases begins to increase.
Sleeping isn't just for nights, either! Napping during the day is not only an effective and refreshing alternative to caffeine, it can also protect your health and make you more productive. A study of 24,000 Greek adults showed that people who napped several times a week had a lower risk of dying from heart disease. People who nap at work have much lower levels of stress. Napping also improves memory, cognitive function and mood.
12) Choose Happiness!
Most of us make excuses for why we can't or won't adopt healthier habits. The most common excuse is "a lack of time." Count the times you've said, "Oh, I'm tired, I don't have time to exercise!" or "I don't feel like cooking dinner tonight; let's just get some fast food."
Today is the day to choose health and happiness!
Healthy habits are mutually reinforcing. So surround yourself with friends and family members who are supportive. Research suggests that people with strong friendships actually live longer, too.
Follow your bliss. People who are happy and have a fulfilled life tend to be healthier and live longer.
Focus on things that make your life healthy and happy, but take setbacks in stride. Forgive others for their faults, and forgive yourself as well. It's always a good day to heal!
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