In my previous blog, I referenced a study and article discussing the 5 factors for living a healthy life. They were: nutritious diet, maintain healthy weight, not smoking, drinking in moderation and exercising 30 minutes per day.
What is nice about these lifestyle habits is that each one is under our control.
For example, smoking, eating and drinking all require a conscious decision to put something into the mouth. Whether it is something that emits smoke or contains unhealthy or excessive calories, participating requires moving your hand to your mouth.
You are in charge of your physical actions. At some point during a meal, your hand makes a few more visits to your mouth than you stomach wants. Your fingers must grasp the cigarette or the extra glass of alcohol and bring them to your lips.
Unfortunately, as easy as it sounds to stop putting unhealthy things into the body or excessive amounts of healthy things, for too many it is easier to have a bad habit rather than a good habit. Why are so many of us inclined towards the excesses that can hurt our bodies and health instead of making healthy habits the norm? While one could write an entire book on this topic, the day to day reality is that habits are difficult to change. Further, I would argue that breaking an entrenched bad habit requires an unwavering desire and effort to change. It is not enough to simply want to change.
If you want to focus on your health, and depending on where you fall within these 5 factors, my suggestion is to start with daily exercise. Purchase a pair of comfortable shoes and start walking or riding a bike. Join a health club. Get your body moving. If work keeps you sitting, stand up from your desk and walk around the office. Simultaneously, if you are a smoker do whatever it takes to stop. There are absolutely no benefits from smoking, unless dying young of a horrible and painful disease is your goal.
By making regular exercise your first goal and feeling all of the positive effects of exercise, your bad habits will feel worse and you will then have additional impetus to improve other aspects of your lifestyle habits. Let the good feelings that you get from exercise help you work towards eliminating those habits that you know are bad.