This article is for those who don’t have a health insurance and that's why they have a big investment in staying healthy. And this is exactly why I ran a little research for them today — I found the top causes of death, and then created a spreadsheet for the easily controllable risk for each.
There are numerous things that can’t be controlled such as your age, family history of diseases, gender etc. But others can. And those things aren’t huge surprising as you already know not to smoke, drink too much, or eat untidily.
It’s interesting that all of the major diseases are caused by the same things: smoking, diet, exercise, alcohol and stress.
Below I’m going to list the top habits you can change, and simple methods for changing them.
1. Stop smoking. This is undoubtedly the most important habit. Actually there is no positive fact on smoking. It affects almost every single one of the leading causes of death. It’s probably the hardest of these habits to change; but not impossible at all. Also be aware of second hand (indirect) smoking. It is just as harmful.
2. Exercise. I don’t want to advise you to exercise, but listen to this: lack of exercise is a main issue for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, breast cancer, high blood pressure, colon & rectal cancers, obesity, depression and cholesterol. If you don’t exercise, you’re just asking to get a major disease. It’s almost a thrilling pill: do a little of exercise daily, and get healthy. You don’t need to put much time — start with 5 minutes a day in the morning.
3. Cut out red & processed meats- I don’t recommend going vegetarian. Just remember, consuming red meats, and processed meats like bacon, sausages, canned meats and so on, is a risk factor for stomach cancer, high cholesterol, colon/rectal cancer, coronary heart disease and stroke. The overwhelming mass of research supports this.
4. Eat fruits & vegetables- This is obviously a great decision if you start consuming fruits & veggies instead of meats. Having fruits and vegetables reduces your risk of several leading diseases, and truly, it’s one of the easiest habits to abide by. Eat salad without heavy dressings, croutons or cheese, add vegetables to soups, and prepare veggies as a healthy side dish with dinner or lunch. Eat fruits with breakfast and try to eat it as snacks.
5. Reduce salt and saturated/soaked fats. These foods increase the risks of high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which increase risk for heart disease and stroke. Obesity is a common factor you may import from these foods. If you search on the internet for salt & saturated foods you must find that no one is there to advise to eat these foods without the diary and meat industries owners. Try to cook your own healthy meals instead of eating out or eating prepared foods.
6. Reduce stress- Stress is a key to heart disease and high blood pressure and stroke. So try to get ride of stress entirely. Just remember, the matter you are in stress for is not more important than your life. Simplify your workday so that you’re not overly stressed. Exercise regularly to relieve stress.
7. Sleep well- A perfect or satisfactory sleep on daily basis can be a magical pill for your health. Sleep 7-9 hours each night. Deep peaceful sleep revitalizes the body. It also relaxes the mind and soul. Irregular sleeping patterns can kill a good health. In my previous post, I shared some food habits for a good sleep. You may read that.
8. Consume alcohol in moderation- Heavy drinking is one of the major risk factors for many diseases. Having a bottle of bear or glass of wine each day is realistic, which relaxes the mind but more than three servings daily are a bit much risky for health.
9. Lose weight (if you’re overweight)- Losing weight is not exactly a habit — the best habit to form to lose weight is to eat less or maintain a proper diet. Overweight is just below smoking the worst risk factor for many diseases.
10- Consult with the professionals- Basically, this is the most important habit of all. Consulting with a nutritionist or personal trainer can be inspiring as well as perceptive. The best way to get in shape is to follow the advice of industry professionals.
Try to change all of your bad habits for the sake of your health. I changed some of my habits, slowly, in tiny tiny steps, and it wasn’t so hard. My suggestion is “Don’t try to change everything at a time/overnight, and don’t make it hard on yourself.” It’s actually very easy if you’re patience and if you just start with determination.
Here are some tips how to change these habits:
- Change only one habit at a time. It isn’t the fact that which habit you choose. Just choose one. Remember “A thousand mile journey starts with a single step”.
- Create positive habits you enjoy. If you start enjoying it, the habit change will be easy. Replace smoking with affirmative habits you enjoy that fulfill the needs that smoking now fulfills (stress reduction, boredom relief, etc.). Replace red meats/fatty foods with healthy foods you enjoy.
- Start as small as possible. Start from 5 minutes. Yes, Just do 5 minutes the first week, and try to be consistent as possible. Then do 10 minutes and try to increase the time. Small change is definitely the most effective method for changing habits. Remember, “Slow change lasts.”
- Make it social. Find a partner or group (friends, colleagues etc) to change the habit with you so you’re more likely to stick with it. For example if you bet your friends that if you get caught with cigarette you have to pay the dinner bill. I’m sure you are not going to pay huge bill for a cigarette!
I believe no suggestion is important if you really want to change all of your bad habits. Nothing but firm determination can give you a real enjoyment of better health. Just ask yourself “Why I will not take the chance to get a good health just maintaining some simple rules?”
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