How to Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle
Generally, as soon as we hear anyone mention anything about "healthy Lifestyles", for most people, the first two things that usually come to the mind, are eating right and exercising regularly. However, the question is, are these the only two things that constitute to healthy lifestyles? In other words, is this the only way to achieve optimal health?
Most people are aware of the fact that participating in fitness programs and eating right will help to improve their overall quality of life. However, over the years, researchers have come to realize that improving physical fitness and eating right alone, weren't always enough to lower our risk for diseases and ensure better health. Thus, Living a healthy lifestyle, goes way beyond just eating right and exercising regularly.
Many health advisers believe good health is no longer viewed as simply the absence of illness. In fact, they feel that there are more lifestyle factors that we often overlooked that can cause illness and affect overall "wellness" ( a state of health and well-being). As a result, the wellness concept was introduced by heath researchers. According to healthcare scientist, wellness living requires implementing positive programs to change behaviors to improve health and quality of life, prolong life, and achieve total well-being.The components of wellness includes the following:
- Substance Abuse control
- Cancer prevention
- Health Education
- Cardiovascular Risk reduction
- Medical Physical exams
- Stress Management
- Safety( seat-belt, workplace etc)
- Smoking Cessation
- Physical Fitness
- Adequate Sleep
Wellness goes beyond the absence of disease. It incorporates factors such a adequate fitness, sufficient sleep,proper nutrition, stress management, disease prevention, spirituality, not smoking or abusing drugs, personal safety, regular physical examinations, health education, environmental support and so on.
Health and fitness educators believe the above components of wellness overlaps,and one component can affect the others. For example, an emotionally down individual is likely to have no desire to exercise, study, socialize with others, eat, attend church or work and so on.
According to one author, for a wellness way of life, not only must individuals be physically fit and manifest no signs of disease, but they must not have any risk factors for diseases such as Diabetes, STDs, Hypertension, Lung cancer etc.). Even though an individual tested in a fitness center may have demonstrated adequate or even excellent fitness, indulgence in unhealthy lifestyle behaviors (such as smoking, unprotected sex, drinking and driving, driving without seat belts and more) will still increase the risk for chronic diseases, serious injuries, etc, and diminish the person's well-being.
In addition, it's a known fact, that stress for example, may lead to other health related illnesses such as gastric ulcers. Although we cannot totally get rid of all the stressors of life, unless we learn to develop positive coping skills or good stress management techniques, we will not be able to sustain an overall excellent state of wellness.
To summarize,no doubt, physical activity and healthy eating habits are of paramount importance to good health, but is just not enough. In fact, this is precisely only two components of "healthy lifestyles", or of all that is required for the overall wellness and total well-being of an individual. We can only achieve wellness and optimal well-being by taking all the components of wellness into consideration.