As they say, it’s never too late to start doing anything good. Similarly, it’s never too late to start investing in and focusing on living a healthy lifestyle. The hustle-bustle of daily life takes away the focus from some of our fundamental needs, one being maintaining optimal health by eating right, working out, and creating sound work-life balance.
The World Health Organization defines good health as, “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Good health can be maintained by consistently following best practices and attending to health-related shortcomings with utmost care and significance. Take necessary medication and make changes in lifestyle if you notice not just symptoms of disease, but stress, unhappiness, laziness, and any other physical discomfort.
Here are a few practices to switch from unhealthy ways to healthy living:
1. Breathe Deeply with Yoga
The practice of conscious breathing or pranayama is the fundamental exercise in yoga. The benefits of a few rounds of breathing through alternate nostrils are numerous. Pranayama helps to calm the mind and induces better sleep patterns. The exercise when practiced regularly builds good mental health by balancing emotions effectively.
Would it be enough motivation to take to Yoga if we told you that breathing slows down the ageing process? Well, it does! So, it’s time to buy a yoga mat and get started.
Disciplined pranayama practice boosts the immune system and clears up blocked energy channels within the body. Of the many other beneficial breathing techniques, Kapalbhati (Skull Shining Technique) is the most important to wash out toxins and detoxify the body.
The Sudarshan Kriya yoga is highly beneficial in fighting depression and individuals can feel the difference within 3 to 4 weeks. This practice works as a natural anti-depressant with zero side effects.
Click here for more breathing techniques and their benefits.
2. Pause, Meditate, and Unwind
Buddha was asked, “What have you gained from meditation?”
He replied, “Nothing! However, let me tell you what I lost: Anger, Anxiety, Depression, Insecurity, Fear of Death.”
Meditation helps to get rid of negative emotions and caters to the human need for joy and peace. Systematic practice helps to ease tension, and stabilizes mood swings and extreme behavioral patterns.
According to the teachings of Gautama Buddha, the two significant qualities that meditation helps build are ‘tranquility,’ which steadies, comforts, and unifies the mind, and ‘insight,’ which empowers one to see and explore beyond the set formations and perspectives.
Through meditation, you can build better endurance, tolerance, and gain improved control over the thoughts that rattle the mind.
3. Exercise Persistently and Consistently
You can walk, run, jog, swim, cycle, play, skip or sweat it out with aerobics, weight training, stretching, yoga, karate, etc. Select an exercise routine by diligently studying the purpose, techniques, and the benefits of the practices you choose, and follow the routine consistently. Working out will make you active, agile, flexible, and sharp. The body is fueled with enough energy to function efficiently and stays in good shape through regular exercise.
Exercise is a great way to balance the nutritional intake and burn excess calories, thus, keeping obesity and cholesterol away. Work out at the same time everyday and maintain healthy gaps between exercise sessions and meals.
You can consult with health and fitness experts to design an effective exercise regimen and diet that suits your schedule and taste respectively. Following a disciplined lifestyle proffers motivation to your kids and helps them take a similar path.
4. Junk Out the Junk
We often hear about the importance of eating healthy and the need for refraining from consuming processed, packaged, and artificially-flavored foods and drinks. Sweetened foods with free sugars add enormous calories and can potentially lead to obesity, if left unchecked.
Include lentils, pulses, wholegrain foods, and a lot of fruits and vegetables in your meals instead. A daily intake of 400 grams of fruits and vegetables is recommended by the WHO for adequate supply of dietary fiber.
Enjoy home-cooked meals to keep a track of the ingredients you consume. Because giving up comfort food completely can be difficult, you can resort to low-calorie versions of the food items. You can add new twists to old favorites by changing the cooking form, i.e. from frying to baking or grilling, using the same ingredients to savor your favorite recipes.
Above all, drink plenty of water and stay hydrated. Men should consume about 3.7 liters of water per day while the adequate intake recommended for women is about 2.7 liters.
5. Go for Regular Health Checkups
Regular and timely health checkup can help in early diagnosis of diseases, if any, which can provide better treatment with a relatively better chance of curing the patient as compared to late diagnosis.
One must make it a habit to check their body weight, blood pressure, and other vital examinations as recommended by the doctors. Consult with your doctor to check if you’re due for certain screenings or vaccinations and get them done accordingly.
Apart from a general physician, visiting a dentist at regular intervals is also crucial to maintaining good dental health.
6. Maintain Healthy Work-Life Balance
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy!
There is a time to work and there is a time to play. Maintain a healthy balance between work and personal life to pursue your hobbies, spend time with people, and do the things you love. Define the boundaries between work and home clearly to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Did you know that a whopping 94% of working professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week and nearly half said they worked more than 65 hours per week in a Harvard Business School survey?
Poor work-life balance is known to induce fatigue, raise stress levels, and negatively impact relationships.
Disengage from work on regular intervals to release the stress and work pressure arising from the monotony of your routine. Boost your emotional and social wellbeing by periodical examination of your priorities as they tend to change with time. Create spare time to do things you like for a fulfilling experience. You will be able to return to your work more efficiently after pursing other interests.
Cultivating healthy practices early on leads to a long and a stress-free life. Eating healthy and exercising regularly can potentially lower the cost of medical visits and treatments. Share and exchange good practices with your family and friends, and mutually benefit through knowledge-sharing for a pleasant life. Because it concerns your life, do not hesitate in visiting a health expert or a doctor, should the need arise. Follow good practices, and play and work with equal intensity to make the best of your life.
Pratima Makanji is the founder of AIHT Education (American Institute of Healthcare & Technology), a US based healthcare training and educational institute. She started AIHT with the aim of providing the best education opportunities in the rapidly growing field of Allied Health. Located in Connecticut, AIHT helps graduates pursue lucrative careers in the medical industry by providing traditional and structured training.