In recent years, more and more people are thinking about how to lead a healthy lifestyle. Some try to start a new life on Monday, others postpone it until January 1, but the target date comes, and life remains the same. Someone lacks motivation, someone was unable to determine a plan for the transition to new healthy habits. The purpose of this article is to help those who decided to start leading a healthy lifestyle right now, without looking for excuses and excuses for themselves. You will learn how to start a new life and not deviate from this path, also consider the advantages of a healthy lifestyle and a rough plan for a gradual transition to it.
Last Updated: October 3, 2022 (A few hours ago…)
The path to a healthy lifestyle
Let’s make a reservation right away that there are many reasons why a person wants to start leading a healthy lifestyle. For some it became a necessity for medical reasons, someone was inspired by the example of friends or family, someone realized that it was no longer possible to live as it is now. A person’s motivation can be different, and it is she who will allow you not to deviate from the intended path.
For the first time, the Baghdad doctor Ibn Butlan spoke about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, he also created the first healthy lifestyle recommendations called “Takvim al-sykhha”, or a calendar of health. A collection of useful tips was commissioned by the king of Sicily in the 13th century.
First, let’s figure out what a healthy lifestyle is. A healthy lifestyle, or healthy lifestyle, is an individual behavioral system, the purpose of which is to ensure the physical and mental well-being of a person. Why is the system individual? Of course, a healthy lifestyle is based on general principles, such as avoiding alcohol and smoking, moderate nutrition and physical activity. However, only you determine for yourself the diet and physical activity.
It is important to note that adherence to basic principles of a healthy lifestyle, such as avoiding alcohol and tobacco, significantly increases a person’s life expectancy. Studies conducted in Germany and the USA have shown that leading a healthy lifestyle increases its duration by an average of 12-12.5 years1.
The same study found that avoiding fast food and switching to a healthy diet reduced the risk of heart disease by 22%. This is due primarily to the fact that those people who monitor their diet do not suffer from obesity, which is a risk factor for heart disease.
Separately, it is worth noting the positive effect of physical education: according to researchers, physical activity in the amount of 7 hours a week reduces the risk of mortality from various causes by 24%2.
How to start a healthy lifestyle
In theory, everything sounds clear, but how to switch to a healthy lifestyle in practice? There is an opinion that the formation of any, even a positive habit, our body needs 21 days. Another important principle is gradualness. If you go straight to your gym and start counting every calorie, then most likely burnout will follow. Introduce a new rule into your life every three weeks. Start simple, like morning exercises. Get up 10 minutes earlier every day and do some simple exercises like bends, squats, and push-ups.
Gradually add new exercises to your morning routine. An excellent option for a morning warm-up can be the Surya Namaskar complex, start with a simplified version. When morning exercises become an integral part of your daily routine, add a new healthy habit.
The next important aspect is the normalization of sleep. Most people need at least 7-8 hours of sleep. You should go to bed no later than 23 hours. For many fans of TV series and night movie screenings, this regime will seem like a test, but a full night’s rest is necessary for our body, in addition, it needs strength to perform physical exercises and productive work throughout the day. Chronic lack of sleep can cause bags under the eyes, it can cause a decrease in the level of attention, concentration, as a result of which a person will become less productive.
When your body is full of strength and exercise becomes a necessity, you will be ready to start more serious workouts. Remember to start gradually. You shouldn’t spend 8 hours in the gym every day or exhaust yourself with marathon distances. Choose a physical activity that you like and start there. For example, running: start by hiking in the evening.
Walk 20-30 minutes in the park every day before bed, mark the distance you walk during this time, gradually increase the time you walk, and then go jogging. Hatha yoga practices will be useful for your body: start with simple and uncomplicated complexes for 30 minutes, do them regularly – first 2-3 times a week, and then try every day. Over time, the duration of your workouts will increase, and you will be doing a full 1.5-hour practice.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle. Let this be the next step on the path to changing your life for the better. We remind you that gradualness is important, you should not turn into a person who, with a manic passion, calculates calories on a plate.
For starters, skip fast food and snacks on the run, and try to eat three times a day at regular intervals. Normalize your current diet, and only then move on to any diets or special regimes. Replace chocolates and buns with nuts and dried fruits, try to eat less sugar and flour.
“Why is there no talk of bad habits?” – the thoughtful reader will say. Yes, they need to be abandoned, and the sooner the better. Alcohol and tobacco destroy the body, are addictive and destroy our personality. Of course, it is difficult to give up cigarettes for those whose smoking experience is calculated for tens of years, but it is important to do this. There are a huge number of methods and ways on how to give up bad habits, study them and, choosing the one that suits you, use and implement in your life. Do not give up if you broke off and picked up a cigarette again. It is important to continue to fight addiction and make new attempts.
Healthy lifestyle recommendations
After reviewing some of the basics of a healthy lifestyle, we offer you a short cheat sheet consisting of recommendations on how to maintain it. It suits most people. These recommendations will help you and your loved ones stay healthy for years to come.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Reduce your intake of easily digestible carbohydrates: pastries, rolls.
- Limit your intake of animal products such as lard, meat, bacon, eggs, and milk.
- Cut back on salt.
- Reduce your intake of fried foods.
- Drink at least a liter (depending on your constitution) of water a day.
- Drink less coffee, or rather skip it altogether.
- The last meal should be at least two hours before the night’s rest.
- Give up tobacco and alcohol.
- Exercise at least 3 times a week.
- Observe your sleep schedule – go to bed before 23.00.
- Sleep at least 7-8 hours.
- Be in the fresh air more often, walk more.
Why you need to lead a healthy lifestyle
It would seem that the answer to this question is obvious: in order to maintain your health. However, there are a number of benefits that will make you think about the need to transition to a new way of life.
- Saving resources while quitting bad habits such as smoking and alcohol. Now this money can be used, for example, to buy fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Find a worthy life partner. It is unlikely that a potential healthy lifestyle partner can be found in a nightclub or bar.
- Give birth to healthy children and be an example. Corollary from the previous paragraph. If parents lead a dubious lifestyle, and alcohol and tobacco have become their true friends, then, alas, there is no need to talk about the birth of such a pair of healthy children.
- Improving the quality of life.
- More free time appears. So, for example, smoking a cigarette takes 2-3 minutes for a person, but how many such smoke breaks does a person take in a day? And how much in a year? This time is more than enough to read a book that has been put aside or to take up an interesting new hobby.
A consistent plan for the transition to a healthy lifestyle
We have already figured out how to start maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and what advantages such a transition has, now it’s time to act. Below is a sequential plan for the transition to a healthy lifestyle, it is recommendatory in nature and can be used as a basic one and include aspects that are relevant to you. Remember that a healthy lifestyle is an individual system. This plan is the first step towards changing your life for the better.
Let’s take as a basis the well-known fact that any habit is formed within 21 days. For convenience, the step-by-step plan will include 12 steps, each one is 1 month in duration and includes recommendations on the basic principles of a healthy lifestyle (on nutrition, physical activity, etc.). Do not wait for the new year to start, do not postpone your desire for health and beauty, start implementing it today!
Step 1. Where to start a healthy lifestyle? From keeping a diary, where you will note your successes, set goals and marks on their achievement, note your physical activity and the amount of water you drink. First, write down your weight and height, if you wish, you can fix your waist or other characteristics. Set your first goal: exercise every morning and go to bed no later than 11:00 pm. Find a set of exercises that you are able to perform, pay attention to the Surya namaskar complex and start doing it; do gymnastics every day, mark it in your diary; also note how your health is changing. Diet recommendations: Eat regularly, three times a day, and avoid excessive hunger and unnecessary snacks.
Step 2. At the beginning of the month, weigh in, measure your waist and mark it in your diary. Have you already seen the first results? Fine! You are now ready for new challenges. Walking comes into your life. Now every day you pass one bus stop before the start of the working day and after on foot. Start a pedometer and record how many steps you walk and how long it takes. It’s time to give up sweets in the form of bars and chocolates, replace them with a healthy snack, such as nuts and dried fruits.
Step 3. We start the month with another weigh-in – the results have become better. But this is not a reason to stop. In the new month, we will add sports training three times a week in addition to hiking and morning exercises. Start monitoring your fluid intake, drink more than a liter of pure water a day (the norm is individual), coffee – no more than 2 cups.
Step 4. As always, we evaluate our achievements by getting on the scales. This month we begin to actively relax, spend the weekend in nature, and not behind a monitor screen, you can also actively spend time playing outdoor games (volleyball, football). Everything that has already become your habit – exercise and sports three times a week – remains relevant. In the diet, we begin to reduce the consumption of animal food, one day a week we do not eat meat in any form.
Step 5. We evaluate our results and move on. Sports activities are becoming daily. This month we are trying to get rid of the elevator, gradually increasing the number of steps taken in the day.
6-7 steps. We practice self-control and gradually increase physical activity. We exclude fried foods from the diet, try to reduce the amount of salt consumed, and replace coffee with green tea or chicory
7-12 steps. At this stage, the main task is to maintain the achieved results and not lose motivation. You are already ready for more serious tests, you have felt the taste and pleasure of a healthy lifestyle, do not deny yourself the pleasure of living a long and happy life.
Possible difficulties and obstacles in the transition to a healthy lifestyle
Having considered in detail how to properly lead a healthy lifestyle, and having seen all its advantages, it is worth considering the difficulties that may arise on your way. The main thing is your motivation. So that it does not fade away, you began to keep a diary, draw up training plans, your successes may not be as fast as you want, but they will and, as a result, help to strengthen your self-confidence.
Another difficulty is the environment. Few want to be a black sheep and sometimes follow colleagues to the smoking room. It is important to remember that this is your life, and it is in your hands, not for your colleagues to raise your future children and not for them to pay for your treatment in case of illness. A healthy lifestyle is your choice that should not be ashamed of.
Not knowing where to start leading a healthy lifestyle is perhaps the main difficulty in transitioning to a healthy lifestyle, but after reading the article, you can start changing your life using new information. The main thing is, do not lose faith in yourself, in your strengths, do not give up if you cannot follow the ideal plan and from the first day become the best version of yourself, everything takes time.