6 positive lifestyle factors that promote good health

6 positive lifestyle factors that promote good health

There are several positive lifestyle factors that can promote good health if you want to live a long and healthy life . Granted, you cannot alter your genes or much of the environment around you; but making informed and intentional choices about diet, activity, sleep, alcohol and tobacco consumption can reduce your risk of disease. That said, you add years to your life…

Here are six lifestyle changes with the best evidence for maximizing your longevity.

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1.   Sleep regularly and adequately

Regular and adequate sleep is first on the list, as it is often understated compared to diet and exercise. The relationship between sleep and life expectancy has been demonstrated in numerous studies; but what surprises some people is that the relationship is a U-shaped curve. In other words, both too little and too much sleep increase mortality (the risk of death).

A 2017 review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the “ideal” amount of sleep was 7 hours each night. Regardless of gender or age, a good night’s sleep is important. Sleep gives your body a chance to restore and regenerate. Not only does it recharge the “batteries”; but it also takes care of all the metabolic functions required by the body. These include the regeneration of old cells , the elimination of waste and the repair of cell damage.. For those who give up the sleep needed to study; keep in mind that sleep is important for creating memories and that sleep deprivation leads to forgetfulness.

Even if you intend to sleep well, sometimes medical conditions can get in the way. Sleep apnea is a condition that can significantly increase your health risks. Although the disease affects millions of people; it is believed to be grossly underdiagnosed. If you have concerns, talk to your doctor about a sleep study as treatments can reduce your risk and improve your life.

To ensure good health, consult your doctor; because changes in your sleep patterns can also be a sign of a change in your health.

2.   Eat Well-Balanced Meals Regularly

healthy, balanced diet can help provide your body with energy. It also helps reduce the risk of contracting major chronic diseases such as: heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and cancer. A healthy, balanced diet can also help you maintain a normal weight; (important for good health). Certain diseases or conditions have proven relationships with specific nutritional or dietary elements.

Rather than jumping on the latest fad diet; a positive change in dietary lifestyle is what grants the most protection. Michael Pollan, in his recommendations to state: “Eat food. Not too much. Especially plants. Of these plants, you have the best chance of getting the phytonutrients  ; especially in rainbow colored foods .

Still, it’s helpful to have advice on what to eat on a day-to-day basis; and this underlies most popular fashions. If you’re wondering where to start, the Mediterranean diet is rich in many of the “healthiest” foods. In addition, this diet avoids many of the less healthy choices.

The longer you follow the Mediterranean diet , the lower your risk of diseases and the better your health. Researchers found that following a Mediterranean diet was inversely related to the risk of health problems; including heart disease, stroke, cancer (overall) and neurogenerative diseases .

Some of the components of the Mediterranean diet include:

  • fruit;
  • Nut ;
  • Seeds;
  • Seafood ;
  • Whole grains;
  • Good extra virgin olive oil;
  • Herbs and spices.

Foods that aren’t included include highly processed foods, refined grains, refined oils, and added sugar.

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3.   Engage in regular physical activity

Thirty minutes a day of regular physical activity contributes to good health while reducing your heart rate; thereby decreasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and the amount of bone loss associated with age and osteoporosis . According to research, lack of exercise is the cause of 9% of breast cancers and 10% of colon cancers in Europe.

Better yet, not only can physical activity be an inexpensive way to improve your health; it can even save you money. Once you’re over 65, the requirements don’t diminish; yet you can benefit by adding balance exercises and flexibility exercises.

You might be wondering what researchers mean by moderate-intensity exercise. There are many options; but it is important to find activities that you enjoy such as:

  • Gardening ;
  • walking;
  • The Ballroom Dance;
  • Cycle slowly on level ground;
  • Recreational swimming.

4.   Maintain a healthy body weight

Obesity is associated with a shorter lifespan and also an increased risk of many chronic diseases. The good news is that just being overweight doesn’t reduce your longevity; for those over 65, it is better to be on the high side of normal than on the low side. A 2018 study looked at body mass index and mortality over a 24-year period. A normal body mass index is between 19 and 24. For those who were obese; people who had a body mass index of 30 to 35 had a 27% increase in mortality; those with a body mass index of 35 to 40 had a 93% increase.

What weight is ideal? Among those who were overweight but not obese (had a body mass index between 25 and 30); mortality increased only among those who also smoked. People with high body mass index (Ex. 24) had the lowest mortality. There’s really no magic when it comes to maintaining (or achieving) a normal body mass index. Eating healthy and exercising daily (even if it’s fun activities like gardening) are the real “secret.”

In the past, breakfast was emphasized as necessary for good health. Research is changing that thinking, and intermittent fasting may have some benefits. Although the concept and the research to support it are in their infancy; intermittent fasting may help with weight loss and also appears to have benefits in reducing cancer risk.

If you are having difficulty, talk to your doctor. But keep in mind that fad diets don’t work; moreover, your greatest chance of success lies in adopting long-term healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity for life.

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5.   Do not use tobacco products, including smoking

Smoking is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths a year in the United States alone. Added to this are 16 million people still alive but struggling with a smoking-related disease. If you want to live a good life as long as you live, don’t smoke or chew tobacco. The list of diseases and cancers attributed to smoking is long; but long-term concerns sometimes cause less change than immediate concerns.

If you’re having trouble quitting, it can help to think about immediate consequences. Maybe the cost or the social aspects of smoking when smoking has been banned in many places.

Or maybe the medium-term consequences will motivate you. For women (and men), smoking accelerates wrinkles. For men, it’s not just the arteries that supply the heart that are affected by smoking. Smaller arteries elsewhere in the body are also damaged; there is also a significant association between smoking and erectile dysfunction .

6.   Consuming alcohol in moderation or not at all

Despite the hype about red wine and longevity, alcohol should only be consumed in moderation; for many people, not at all if they really dream of good health. Red wine (in moderation) offers protection against diseases ranging from heart disease to Alzheimer’s disease; however, you don’t need to drink red wine to get these benefits.

Red wine is rich in flavonoids , particularly the phytonutrient resveratrol . Resveratrol , however, is also found in red grape juice; red grapes and even peanuts.

Moderate alcohol consumption (one drink for women, two for men) can reduce heart disease; but the link between alcohol and breast cancer suggests that even this amount should be used with caution. Women who drink three drinks a week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer; moreover, the risk increases by another 10% for each additional drink they take each day.

Higher levels of alcohol can lead to health and behavior problems; including an increased risk of:

  • High blood pressure;
  • Stroke ;
  • cardiac disease ;
  • Certain cancers;
  • accidents;
  • Violence ;
  • Suicide and death in general.


These six lifestyle behaviors can go a long way towards increasing the chances of leading a long and healthy life . But we know that living goes beyond good health and that spiritual social sanity is just as important. Practice stress management, develop a passion or hobby; or being pampered at certain times should be high on your list of lifestyle habits.

Yet even when people do everything right; it is not always possible to avoid physical illness or mental stress. Many medical professionals now believe that the ability to be resilient is a skill we should all cultivate if we want to live our best life today while being healthy.

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