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It’s not surprising that many young people today have health problems that are typically common in old people. Many young adults are suffering from diseases such as heart disease, obesity, hypertension, and metabolic diseases just to name a few.
The kicker is that these diseases are due to poor lifestyle choices. Studies show that 75% of deaths globally are attributed to poor lifestyle. Smoking, excessive use of alcohol, drug abuse, poor eating habits, are some of the leading causes of these diseases in young people.
To have a deeper understanding of how lifestyle poor choices can affect your health, let us look at some of the common causes and their impact on health.
Unhealthy lifestyles of today’s generation
- Drug Abuse
According to a 2019 report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, over 30 million people worldwide have a drug problem. And only 1 out of 7 people seek help or treatment.
Drug abuse is a leading cause of many health problems including:
- A debilitated immune system, which can lead to an increased risk of infections and illnesses
- Brain damage, mental disorders
- Seizures and stroke
- Decision making, attention, and memory problems
- Lung disease
- Cardiovascular disorders
The impact of drug abuse on health is profound. And unfortunately, many young people who abuse drugs become dependent on them and hence the reason why many of them don’t seek help.
Research shows that drug abuse is one of the leading causes of death of young people.
- Substance Abuse
Excessive use of alcohol and/or tobacco can cause various health problems including heart disease, asthma, lung disease, cancer, and mental disorders.
- Poor Diet
The consequences of poor diet include obesity and anorexia. And these are health problems that combat many young people in urban societies. Fast foods and sugary drinks result in obesity. And as a result, this can lead to diseases such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, respiratory disorders, and diabetes.
Anorexia, on the other hand, is an eating disorder where an individual deliberately starves themself to prevent weight gain. This is a problem that affects young women in particular and like obesity, it can lead to various health problems. These problems can include low blood sugar, anemia, heart, kidney and liver failure, mental problems, and bone loss.
So now that you understand the impact poor lifestyle choices can have on health, what can you do to improve your lifestyle?
If you have an intense desire to improve your health, you must start by making better lifestyle choices. And although this is easier than done, with the right support and plenty of motivation, you can turn your health around.
Here are 7 keys to a healthy lifestyle you can adopt to achieve a healthier you.
Say No to Excessive Alcohol, Smoking & Drugs
According to WHO, cigarette smoking kills more than 7 million people per year. Out of these 7 million, about 1 million dies of second-hand smoking. There is scientific evidence that shows that cigarette smoking is directly linked to chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, respiratory disorders, and the list goes one.
Excessive alcohol consumption is also linked to chronic diseases like stroke, heart disease, liver damage, and lung infections to name a few.
Reckless sexual behavior is linked to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
All these are habits that can impact your health negatively. If you know that you practice one or two or more of these types of habits, these are areas in your life you need to change.
To improve your health, you need to eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, and get sufficient rest/sleep. Many people think that they are living a healthy lifestyle, but the truth is that most are not.
You may eat a healthy diet, but it is self-defeating if you also smoke a pack a day or drink too much alcohol. As long as you maintain these poor lifestyles, it doesn’t matter if you maintain a regimen of healthy food and exercise.
Prefer Beginner’s Workout to Start with
If you have made a firm decision to change your lifestyle to improve your health, start small. Also, be practical. Having high expectations can lead to some seriously bad decisions when it comes to your diet and exercise.
Generally, When workout comes, it’s quite difficult or confusing for a newbie to start with, how to start, when to start, how frequently, Pros n cons, etc. To start with, you should consult your physician or a gym trainer to draft a beginner’s workout routine.
Making lifestyle changes all at once can be overwhelming and even frustrating. And most people end up quitting even before they have started.
Taking baby steps rather than big steps can help you achieve your goals faster. So if you want to work out more, but you are apprehensive about hitting the gym, try simple workouts like walking. And gradually, you can go from walking to running. This goes for your diet as well. If you are planning on making a diet change, don’t make a drastic one. Start small.
The idea is to have goals that are practical and easy to achieve.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eat a healthy well-balanced diet. Ensure that your daily diet contains all the essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Also,
As per the WHO recommendation,
Eat Plenty of Raw Vegetables & Fruits
- Eat plenty of different varieties of raw fruits & vegetables and not just stick to a particular one.
- Avoid overcooked vegetables and fruit as this can lead to the loss of important vitamins & other nutrients.
Lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and certain types of cancer when you eat plenty of raw vegetables and fruits. To get all the essential nutrients in your body, you have to eat a variety of foods. This is because different foods have different nutrients.
To get enough protein in your body, you have to eat protein-rich foods like meat, eggs, and beans. To supply your body with vitamins, you have to eat foods rich in vitamins like eat dark leafy greens, broccoli, fruits, and fish.
Eat Less Salt and Sugars
- Prefer to avoid added salt and sugars when using canned or dried vegetables & fruits.
- Limit intake of artificial sweeteners, soft drinks or soda and other drinks that are high in sugars (e.g. fruit juices, cordials and syrups, flavored pints of milk and yogurt drinks)
- Go for Fresh & natural sweets (i.e. fruits & other natural sources) instead of cookies & cakes.
Reduce the risk of non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and stroke when you reduce the number of artificial sugars or sweeteners. A high sodium diet (including salt) has a high risk of high blood pressure, which can increase their risk of heart disease and stroke.
Eat limited amounts of fats and oils.
- Prefer to use unsaturated vegetable oils (e.g. olive, soy, sunflower or corn oil) rather than animals fats or oils high in saturated fats (e.g. butter, ghee, lard, coconut, and palm oil)
- Avoid processed, baked and fried foods that contain industrially-produced trans-fat (industrially produced trans-fat, e.g. partially hydrogenated oils, present in various processed foods).
Fats and oils are concentrated sources of energy, and eating too much fat, particularly the wrong kinds of fat can lead to a higher risk of heart disease or stroke.
Consume a limited amount of Meat & Dairy Products
- Choose white meat (e.g. poultry) and fish, which are generally low in fats, in preference to red meat. Know why you should avoid excessive animal protein.
- Eat only limited amounts of processed meats because these are high in fat and salt
- Where possible, go for low-fat or toned milk and dairy products, possibly avoid it completely as trans-fat may occur naturally in certain meat and milk products.
For your body to stay healthy and to function properly it needs a sufficient amount of proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, and fats. And the only way you can get these nutrients is by eating different types of foods.
Also, ensure that you eat a balanced diet. Eating too much protein and fewer vitamins or too much carbohydrate and less protein can impact your health negatively. You have to balance what you eat.
Studies show that stress is one of the biggest risk factors of diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and other health complications. Life is stressful for most people and it’s, therefore, no surprise that stress-related disorders have been on the rise. Therefore, learn to relax more.
Stress has been linked with various health problems including sleeping disorders, mental disorders, obesity, diabetes, headaches, depression, and anxiety. If not treated or managed, stress can lower the quality of your life drastically.
This is the reason doctors recommend relaxation techniques such as yoga and meditation. These techniques have proven to lower stress levels and improve mental health.
So whenever you are feeling stressed, take a moment (at least10 minutes) and meditate. This is to help relax your mind and to allow your body to rejuvenate.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Did you know that if you go for three days without water your body can start to shut down? Water is extremely essential to our health.
Instead of consuming soft drinks which are enriched with artificial sweeteners, you should find some natural resource of home-made drinks that full with electrolytes
Water helps with digestion, absorption of nutrients, and waste removal. By keeping your body hydrated, your body systems can function properly.
Doctors recommend taking 8 glasses of water a day. If you can’t handle eight, you can try drinking 6 glasses a day. Also, include fresh juices in your daily diet.
The point is you need to keep your body constantly hydrated. This means that you should drink water even when you are not thirsty.
Exercise regularly. This doesn’t mean hitting the gym every day. You can do simple workouts at home like aerobics. Or you can choose to take a couple of minutes every day to walk or cycle.
One of the keys to staying healthy both physically and mentally is exercising.
Here are some benefits of exercising regularly.
- It reduces mood swings or moodiness
- It helps build and maintain strong bones and muscles
- It helps with weight loss
- It increases your energy levels
- It lowers your risk of developing chronic diseases
- It improves brain health
- It improves skin health
Learn to take it easy. You are not in a rat race, so slow down. It’s normal to be too focused on your job and everyday activities that you forget to enjoy life.
Take a chill pill. Enjoy the wondrous beauty around you. Spend more time with family and friends. And just take the time to enjoy your life.
By slowing down, you allow your body and mind to rejuvenate. When you take the time to enjoy life by engaging in leisure activities that you love or by spending time with family and friends, this can greatly improve both your mental and physical health.
No one can get you to make the necessary lifestyle changes that can help improve your health other than yourself. You are responsible for your health. And if you are looking to live a healthy lifestyle, you must be willing to change and commit to the changes.