Eat your greens, get enough sleep, and move your body. We all know the common advice for improving your health. These things are important — but being healthy is about more than that. Living a healthy life includes caring for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being, so you can get the most out of what life offers. And even if you know what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle, you may feel like you’re not quite there.
An annual survey on stress by the American Psychological Association in 2022 found that Americans reported worse mental health, low physical activity, and unhealthy coping habits. If you’re one of the many people looking for health solutions — or if you feel great but want to take further steps to a healthy lifestyle — here’s what to consider.
What are the benefits of living a healthier lifestyle?
A longer life
There’s plenty of evidence to back up that a healthy lifestyle can add years or even decades to your life. One large-scale Harvard study looked at five areas that affect health — diet, physical activity, body weight, smoking, and alcohol intake — in men and women. People with healthy habits in all five areas enjoyed significantly longer lives than those without: 14 years for women and 12 years for men (if they had these habits by age 50).
If achieving all five healthy habits feels out of reach, keep in mind that incremental changes matter, too. The same study showed that having just one of the five healthy habits extended life expectancy by two years in men and women alike.
Swapping processed foods for a cleaner diet isn’t just easier on your budget now. It can also mean fewer health care expenses later, so that you can put those dollars toward future goals instead. The Trust for America’s Health estimates that the benefits of healthy eating and reducing the average adult body mass index (BMI) by 5% would help the U.S. save roughly $158 billion over ten years through reduced medical spending and increased productivity.
Better quality of life
Healthy lifestyle choices like diet, exercise, and stress reduction don’t just mean longer life, they can also mean a more enjoyable one. Studies show that exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood. Exercise can also alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
How to live a healthier lifestyle
Abundant research shows that these areas are the ones to keep top of mind when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle:
- Don’t smoke or consume nicotine, according to the Centers for Disease Control
- Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily per the Harvard School of Public Health
- Exercise 30 minutes five times a week, says the Mayo Clinic
- Maintain a healthy BMI of 18 to 25, according to the National Institutes of Health
According to WebMD, only 3% of American adults scored perfectly in these four healthy lifestyle choices.
Other considerations for living a healthy lifestyle
Avoid trigger foods
Especially in times of stress, we all have go-to comfort foods. These are often the ones where we lose control and can’t stop at just one — and they often have high sugar or salt content. Taking steps to avoid these foods when you’re stressed can not only help you feel better in the short term mentally and physically but will also help your health in the long run.
Be proactive about your health
Even the healthiest person can get sick. Make sure to talk to your doctor about the right healthcare plan. Be diligent about regular screenings, check-ups, mammograms, and prostate exams — especially if you have a family history of certain illnesses. Learn why a medical exam for life insurance is often required.
Take time off work
Americans have transformed busyness into a national obsession. But your mental and physical health will thank you for taking those vacation days. Chronic stress leads to health issues and shorter life expectancy.
Detox from tech regularly
Try instituting “tech hygiene” like no phones at dinner or leaving your phone on your desk while you sleep. Use the time away from your devices to get active outside instead of surfing the internet or social media.
Start living a healthy lifestyle for a brighter future
There are ways to control and reduce overall stress, leading to a longer, healthier life. There are ways to take control and reduce overall stress, which can lead to a longer, healthier life. That includes making sure your family is financially protected if something happens to you with the type of life insurance that makes sense.
Progressive Life by eFinancial is committed to helping people protect their families with affordable term life insurance. A term life plan can provide a financial safety net to replace income and cover expenses once you’re no longer there to provide for them. Our easy-to-use life insurance calculator can help you figure out how much coverage you need to protect your loved ones. Once you know your needs, consider a life insurance policy and get a personalized quote online.