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Jun 19

5 Steps to Create a Healthy Lifestyle

If you’ve seen the TV ads with the old guys driving their sports cars, you can’t help but wish you looked as good as they do. Aside from those models and actors, you probably know at least one person with what seems like superhuman energy. So how does someone not accustomed to strict diet and exercise begin turning their life around? Where do you start? With the basics, of course! It’s all about the simple stuff and making small changes, gradually.

1.Exercise. The importance of regular exercise cannot be overstated. Any type of exercise beats none at all and the most basic form you can do is walking. The benefits of walking include improved weight management and cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure and reduced risk of diabetes. Your mood will likely improve, as well. Start by walking around your block a few times a week. If you’re healthy enough for a gym membership, then get one. Just remember that you have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run. It’s more about consistency than intensity.

2.Eat Healthy Food. Does this mean giving up hamburgers, pizza and the occasional beer? Not entirely. You’ll find that even small dietary changes can greatly improve your health without sentencing you to a life of misery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eating fruits and vegetables can provide you with the vitamins, minerals and fiber needed to ward off cardiovascular problems, cancer and other chronic diseases. They also have less of the stuff that makes you fat and lazy. So pack yourself a healthy lunch and cut down on the fast food. While you’re at it, throw in an apple, orange or banana for dessert.

3.Get Enough Sleep. In order to operate efficiently, you also need sufficient rest. One important benefit is that as you sleep, your body is still hard at work producing extra protein molecules to battle sickness and disease. You need a strong immune system to fight off the stress, pollutants and harmful bacteria you encounter daily. Sleep deprivation impedes your ability to effectively combat these threats. For adults, 7 to 9 hours of sleep is considered optimal. It will keep your heart healthy, slow the effects of stress, lower your blood pressure and improve your mood.

4.Drink More Water. The human body is made up of around 78 percent water. It transports oxygen and nutrients to cells, aids in maintaining metabolism, detoxifies the body and regulates your temperature. Every cell in the body requires water and you can dehydrate without even knowing it. Sodas and coffee contain water, but they also contain substances that are counterproductive to drinking pure water. Most experts recommend 8 to 10 glasses a day, but a good start is to figure out how many soft drinks you consume daily and gradually replace them with water. Over time, your skin will look healthier and your risk of a heart attack will decrease as you flush out harmful toxins.

5.Brush and Floss Daily. Research shows that flossing daily can add more than 6 years to your life. Although most of the bacteria in your mouth are harmless, other forms can grow out of control and make their way into your bloodstream. Researchers have linked oral bacteria to major health issues, like heart disease and diabetes. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily (as suggested by the Mayo Clinic) are a small price to pay for the benefits gained. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months and visit your dentist regularly. Remember that your teeth are just as indispensable as any other part of your body and they deserve the same level of care.

These steps will help you lay the groundwork necessary to change your life for the better. While there are other healthy habits you can implement, exercising, eating healthy, getting enough sleep, drinking water and taking care of your dental hygiene are the ones most people tend to neglect. Despite continued advances in science and medicine, a healthy lifestyle is as close to a fountain of youth as you can expect to find.

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