A healthy lifestyle is one that helps to keep and improve people’s health and well-being. Many governments and non-governmental organizations work at promoting healthy lifestyles. They measure the benefits with critical health numbers, including weight, blood sugar, blood pressure, and blood cholesterol. Healthy living is a lifelong effect. Being healthy includes healthy eating, physical activities, weight management, and stress management. Good health allows people to do many things. Most of us hear the word – healthy lifestyle, but do not know what it exactly means. Siddha Spirituality of Swami Hardas Life System brings out the exact concept of a healthy lifestyle for the well-being of our valuable readers.
What is Lifestyle?
The lifestyle of a particular person or group of people in the living conditions, behaviour, and habits that are typical of them or are chosen by them.
What are the components of a healthy lifestyle?
A healthy lifestyle is mostly associated with:
- Healthy eating
- Regular physical exercise
- Good sleeping pattern
- Personal hygiene
- No bad habits or addiction
- Health education
- Safe and pollution-free environment
- Physical fitness
- Social support and healthy relationships
- Active social life
Steps to healthy eating
- Eat a nutritious diet based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plants, rather than animals.
- Consume bread, whole grains, pasta, rice, or potatoes several times per day.
- Eat a variety of vegetables and fruits, preferably fresh and local, several times per day (at least 400g per day).
- Maintain body weight between the recommended limits (a BMI of 18.5–25) by taking moderate to vigorous levels of physical activity, preferably daily.
- Control fat intake (not more than 30% of daily energy) and replace most saturated fats with unsaturated fats.
- Replace fatty meat and meat products with beans, legumes, lentils, fish, poultry, or lean meat.
Additional steps to healthy eating
- Use milk and dairy products (kefir, sour milk, yoghurt, and cheese) that are low in both fat and salt.
- Select foods that are low in sugar, and eat free sugars sparingly, limiting the frequency of sugary drinks and sweets.
- Choose a low-salt diet. Total salt intake should not be more than one teaspoon (5g) per day, including the salt in bread and processed, cured, and preserved foods. (Salt iodization should be universal where iodine deficiency is a problem)
- World Health Organization (WHO) does not set particular limits for alcohol consumption because the evidence shows that the ideal solution for health is not to drink at all, therefore less is better.
- Prepare food in a safe and hygienic way. Steam, bake, boil, or microwave to help reduce the amount of added fat.
- Promote exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months, and the introduction of safe and adequate complementary foods from the age of about 6 months. Promote the continuation of breastfeeding during the first 2 years of life.
Regular physical exercises
Reduces the risks
Taking part in physical activity increases opportunities for socialization, networking, and cultural identity. Physical activity has a positive influence on the community and society by promoting social interaction and cohesion.
Contribute to empowerment
Especially among children and young people, sports and other physical activities contribute to empowerment and self-confidence. Physical activity furthermore helps to prevent and control risk behaviour, such as the use of gutka, smoking, alcohol, and other substances, unhealthy diet, and violence.
Positive impact on the environment
The promotion of physical activity also has a positive impact on the environment. For instance, promoting walking and cycling over the use of motorized transport reduces traffic congestion, noise and air pollution, and the consumption of fossil fuels.
Benefit communities and economies
Regular physical activity may also benefit communities and economies through increased productivity in the workplace; lower worker absenteeism and turnover; and better performance in schools. In many countries, a significant proportion of health spending is due to the costs of managing common noncommunicable diseases that are associated with inadequate physical activity. Promoting physical activity can be a highly cost-effective and sustainable public health intervention.
Active living benefits health at all ages. It is especially important to the healthy development of children and young people, and active ageing can make a dramatic difference to the well-being of older people.
Having the opportunity to enjoy quality recreation is vital to the health and personal development of all individuals, regardless of gender, functional ability, cultural background, age, or socioeconomic status.
A good sleeping pattern
If you have difficulty sleeping or want to improve your sleep, try following these healthy sleep habits. Talk to your doctor if your sleep problem persists. You also can seek help from the sleep team at an AASM accredited sleep center.
Quick Sleep Tips
Follow these tips to establish healthy sleep habits:
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
- Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
- Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
- If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
- Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
- Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
- Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
- Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
- Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
- Avoid consuming alcohol before bedtime.
- Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.
Health education for a healthy lifestyle
Steps to follow
- Be physically active for 30 minutes most days of the week. Break this up into three 10-minute sessions when pressed for time. Healthy movement may include walking, sports, dancing, swimming, yoga, or running.
- Eat a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Choose a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and moderate in sugar, salt, and total fat.
- Avoid injury by wearing seatbelts and bike helmets, using smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the home, and using street smarts when walking alone. If you own a gun, recognize the dangers of having a gun in your home. Use safety precautions at all times.
- Don’t smoke, and quit if you do. Ask your health care provider for help. UCSF offers a smoking cessation program.
Other steps to follow
- If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation. Never drink before or when driving, or when pregnant.
- Ask someone you trust for help if you think you might be addicted to drugs or alcohol.
- Help prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS by using condoms every time you have sexual contact. Keep in mind, condoms are not 100 percent foolproof, so discuss STI screening with your provider. Birth control methods other than condoms, such as pills and implants, won’t protect you from STIs or HIV.
- Brush your teeth after meals with a soft or medium bristled toothbrush. Also brush after drinking, before going to bed. Use dental floss daily.
- Stay out of the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun’s harmful rays are strongest. Don’t think you are safe if it is cloudy or if you are in the water, as harmful rays pass through both. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that guards against both UVA and UVB rays, with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Select sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays.
Safe and pollution-free environment
Last year, across Europe, air pollution was considered to be the biggest health risk to the public. But, as well as air pollution, we are now living in a time where overall pollution is affecting us daily. Water, plastic, and fashion have all become more polluted in recent years and our day-to-day lives are practically filled with pollution.
Pollution can take on many forms, and we are becoming more exposed to them on a daily basis. However, with this increase comes more awareness. So, here are five ways you can start living a pollution-free, healthier life:
- Use public transport
- Invest in an Air purifier
- Change in your beauty habits
- Avoid the use of plastic
- Exercise at the right time
To put it simply, physical activity and exercise are important for everyone. Children, adolescents, and adults of all ages need regular physical activity. It promotes good health, and you should stay active throughout all stages of your life regardless of your body type or BMI.
Understanding the benefits of physical fitness and knowing how active you should be can help you maintain good health and improve your overall quality of life.
Regular physical activity
Here are a few benefits of regular physical activity that demonstrate the importance of physical fitness:
- Saves money
- Increases life expectancy
- Reduces risk of injury
- Improves quality of life
- Encourages for staying active
- Improves and helps maintain health
If you’re not sure what kind of support you could be looking for, it may help to paint a picture of what supportive relationships look like.
Social support from friends and family for your diet spans a spectrum of passive acceptance to active participation and might take such forms as:
- Respecting your choices, giving you the space to make your own decisions
- Exhibiting open-minded curiosity about your diet
- Encouraging your eating intentions and celebrating your successes
- Accommodating your food choices by offering food that is compatible with your diet
- Offering to go to restaurants where you will be likely to find something to eat
- Checking in with you about whether you will be able to find food in a particular location or situation
- Eating a similar diet and sharing food with you over meals, potlucks, or other social gatherings
- Teaching, leading, or otherwise inspiring you to make even healthier choices through their own modeling
Control of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
Emotional health is an important part of overall health. People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They’re able to cope with life’s challenges. They can keep problems in perspective and bounce back from setbacks. They feel good about themselves and have good relationships.
Positive or negative thoughts
Being emotionally healthy doesn’t mean you’re happy all the time. It means you’re aware of your emotions. You can deal with them, whether they’re positive or negative. Emotionally healthy people still feel stress, anger, and sadness. But they know how to manage their negative feelings. They can tell when a problem is more than they can handle on their own. They also know when to seek help from their doctor.
Research shows that emotional health is a skill. There are steps you can take to improve your emotional health and be happier.
Healthy ways for emotional health
Here are many ways to improve or maintain good emotional health:
Be aware of your emotions and reactions
Notice what in your life makes you sad, frustrated, or angry. Try to address or change those things.
Express your feelings in an appropriate way
Think before you act
Give yourself time to think and be calm before you say or do something you might regret.
Strive for balance
Find a healthy balance between work and play, and between activity and rest. Make time for things you enjoy. Focus on positive things in your life.
Take care of your physical health
Connect with others
Make a lunch date, join a group, and say hi to strangers. We need positive connections with other people.
Find purpose and meaning
Figure out what’s important to you in life, and focus on that. This could be your work, your family, volunteering, caregiving, or something else. Spend your time doing what feels meaningful to you.
Focus on the good things in your life. Forgive yourself for making mistakes and forgive others. Spend time with healthy, positive people.
Active social life
People with strong social connections may live longer and healthier lives, according to numerous studies.
For example, research about an unusually long-living population on the island of Sardinia, Italy has shown that strong ties to family and friends, along with frequent physical activity, may contribute to their longevity, according to a May 9, 2019, CNN article.
Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies
Lisa Berkman, director of the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, and Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and of Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health cited other studies that have suggested that social isolation carries a risk of mortality that’s similar to that of other major risk factors, such as smoking.
Berkman said that the stress of isolation can weaken people’s immune systems, making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. She also noted that people with strong social connections tend to have better health behaviors, like eating healthy foods and being physically active.
Spirituality for a healthy lifestyle
No one really knows for sure how spirituality is related to health. However, it seems the body, mind, and spirit are connected. The health of any one of these elements seems to affect the others.
Some research shows a connection between your beliefs and your sense of well being. Positive beliefs, comfort, and strength gained from religion, meditation, and prayer can contribute to well being. It may even promote healing. Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better. It also may prevent some health problems and help you cope better with illness, stress, or death.
Path to improved health
If you want to improve your spiritual health, you may want to try the following ideas. However, remember that everyone is different. What works for others may not work for you. Do what is comfortable for you.
- Identify the things in your life that give you a sense of inner peace, comfort, strength, love, and connection.
- Set aside time every day to do the things that help you spiritually. These may include doing community service or volunteer work, praying, meditating, singing devotional songs, reading inspirational books, taking nature walks, having quiet time for thinking, doing yoga, playing a sport, or attending religious services.
Siddha Spirituality Tips for a healthy lifestyle
For those, who are aware and trained with the methods of Swami Hardas Life System, the important tips for a healthy lifestyle include:
- Regularly perform Siddha preventive measures – once in the morning (approx 5 minutes)
- Do Siddha Kalyan Sadhana – twice a day (approx 2 minutes)
- Don’t skip breakfast, have minimum 4 meals in a day
- Take Sattvik diet
- Perform Siddha Nyasa regularly (approx 10 minutes)
- Apply direct methods of Swami Hardas Life System on self, family members, and others
- Sleep before 10 PM with chanting some Siddha mantra
- Perform Siddha Agnihotra at least once a day (approx 10 minutes)
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q:1 What is a healthy lifestyle?
A: A healthy lifestyle is one that helps to keep and improve people’s health and well-being.
Q:2 What are the components of a healthy lifestyle?
A: A healthy lifestyle is mostly associated with healthy eating, regular physical exercise, good sleeping pattern, personal hygiene, no bad habits or addiction, health education, safe and pollution-free environment, physical fitness, social support and healthy relationships, emotions, active social life, and spirituality.