Are you looking for ways to improve your health? Do you ever wonder what habits super-healthy people have that make them so healthy? Do you want to practice those health-affirming habits too?
The Mayo Clinic has identified 12 habits that super-healthy people tend to practice. These habits are easy to put into place and do not involve embracing a diet of wheat grass and raw sunflower seeds or running marathons.
12 Habits of the Super-Healthy:
1. Gratitude: People who practice a lifestyle of gratitude tend to be healthier than those who do not, according to research from Robert Emmons, University of California Davis psychology professor. Emmons’ research found that people who are grateful are more likely to exercise, undergo routine health screenings, eat a well-balanced diet, and have lower stress levels.
2. Laugh: Laughter not only reduces stress levels, it also provides your body with a rush of oxygen, just like a mini-exercise break. When you laugh, you breathe rapidly, your blood pressure and pulse increase, and muscles throughout your body are stretched. Plus, you burn calories!
3. Family and friends: Healthy relationships with family and friends can lengthen your life and improve your general health. Family and friends offer you support through the challenges of life and tend to discourage you from practicing dangerous behaviours. Research has shown that people with a supportive network of friends and family tend to have lower stress levels and experience fewer problems with their immune system and heart.
4. Try something new: When you take a risk and try something new, your body releases dopamine, according to Michael Frank, Brown University assistant professor of cognitive, linguistic and psychological sciences. This neurotransmitter can give you improved concentration, a longer attention-span, and better control of your muscle movement.
5. Quiet your mind: The health of your mind and body are strongly connected. To keep your mind healthy, try meditation. Simply relaxing your mind and body for a period of time not only improves your general health, it can also specifically lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Meditation is easy to practice and can be done safely almost anywhere at anytime, during a break at work or first thing in the morning at home.
6. Address addictive behaviours: Choosing to be free from risky addictions, such as smoking, consuming too much alcohol, or taking recreational drugs, can greatly improve your health. Each of these addictive behaviours carries dangerous health benefits from smoking-related lung cancer to cirrhosis of the liver caused by drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Addictive behaviours can also lead to social consequences, damaging friendships, family relationships, or work performance and leading to stress that will negatively impact your health.
7. Strength and flexibility: Strength training strengthens your bone and can slow down or even stop calcium loss. A healthy muscle tone makes you look and feel better, but can also improve your ability to move and balance. Stretching to increase your flexibility keeps your muscles strong as you age and reduces your risk of injury from falls.
8. Physical activity: Embracing a lifestyle of physical activity offers so many benefits to your body and mind. Being physically active allows you to: protect your heart from disease; lower your risk of developing cancer and type 2 diabetes; increase your life expectancy; keep your weight under control; strengthen your muscles and bones; and protect you from injury.
9. Portion size: Eating a healthy portion for your age and body type will keep your waistline trim and give you the fuel you need to make it through the day. Eat a sensible portion and take time to enjoy the food you have prepared.
10. Preventive healthcare screening: Healthy people undergo the suggested healthcare screenings for their age and sex. These screenings for diseases such as cancer and heart disease are vital to protecting your overall health and ability to live a long life. Your doctor can recommend the appropriate types healthcare screening for you.
11. Adequate sleep: Restorative, high-quality sleep is a requirement for good health. Not getting enough sleep can cause high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, heart disease and added pounds.
12. Forgiveness: People who have a lifestyle of forgiveness reap the benefits in physical and mental health. Research has demonstrated that those who forgive have a stronger immune system, lower blood pressure, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, experience fewer health problems caused by stress, and experience fewer bouts of depression.
SOURCES: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-blog/physical-activity-habits/bgp-20085745;http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/07/19-habits-really-healthy-women_n_4195352.html; Image courtesy of stockimages / FreeDigitalPhotos.net