Maybe you’ve been told lifestyle changes would be good for your health. This is generally not the most popular answer, but for a lot of ailments it might just be the right one.
Many times, we’re looking for a quick fix with medication because we get so busy in our daily lives that remembering to take good care of our bodies becomes another thing on the to-do list that may never get crossed off.
The fact is that ailments such as high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, joint pain, insomnia, bowel issues, depression, anxiety and obesity are sometimes directly related to the choices we make in our daily lives.
How Daily Habits Affect Health
High blood pressure may be a direct result of too much salt, smoking, caffeine, obesity, pain, stress or lack of sleep.
Elevated blood sugar may be a direct result of obesity, excessive alcohol consumption or a high carbohydrate diet.
Insomnia can sometimes manifest from depression, anxiety, stress or even too much caffeine throughout the day.
Bowel issues such as irritable bowel syndrome can be linked to stress, poor diet and obesity.
Obesity may be directly related to a higher fat and high carbohydrate diet or the inability to exercise due to joint pain
Joint pain may be a result of obesity, so the cycle continues. Joint pain can also sometimes be a physical symptom of depression or anxiety.
Depression and anxiety may manifest from stress either acute or chronic, poor diet, being sedentary, excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption.
Granted there are times when these ailments may be related to things beyond our control, such as genetics or a more serious medical condition – which is why routine medical exams are always recommended. Sometimes medications are needed to control these symptoms, but either way, making some lifestyle modifications can be very beneficial for overall health.
How to Make Healthy Lifestyle Modifications
Lifestyle modification isn’t always easy and does require some effort on our parts, but your body will thank you in the long run. Some lifestyle modifications you can make to be healthier and correct or prevent many health issues include:
Start by setting a goal to get 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. If you have joint pain, then look for lower impact exercise opportunities such as water aerobics. Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, help with weight loss, lower blood pressure, increase energy, help depression and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.
Focus on eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, healthy whole grains, nuts, lean meats and seafood. Limit salt, added sugars, processed foods and alcohol.
Aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep. If you have issues getting to bed on time, then set a sleep alarm to remind yourself. Dim the screen of your electronics or use a red filter prior to bed. Turn off notifications at night. Work towards a routine sleep/wake cycle. Avoid caffeine. Quit tobacco use.
Take care of your mental health
Exercise, healthy diet, sleep and stress reduction can have a very positive impact on your mental health. If you still struggle with anxiety and depression after making these lifestyle modifications then you should reach out to a mental health professional. Any thoughts of suicide or self-harm warrants immediate evaluation by a mental health professional.
Overall well-being is dependent on taking care of yourself physically, emotionally and psychologically. These are just a few tips on lifestyle modification. Many resources can be found online along with tons of wellness apps to help you implement long-lasting lifestyle modifications. Reach out to a primary care provider for more information.