Most of us want to be healthy, but more than a few of us find that it’s a tough goal to reach. Americans are overweight and poorly nourished. Perhaps that’s no surprise, because living a healthy life can seem very complicated. We have to worry about nutrition, weight, exercise, and so much more.
In some ways, though, it can be simpler to look at all of these different factors as one complex system. While we may not understand every detail of how our health works, we can make good choices by thinking of our health holistically rather than as the sum of a ton of tiny different factors. This is a smart way of looking at our health in party because it’s actually quite accurate. Our health indicators are all interrelated.
Our interrelated health factors
Our physical health can affect our resistance to injuries and illnesses. Our sleep schedules can help us be healthier, too, and they can affect our mental health, which will in turn affect our ability to stick to our exercise plan and diet. And our diet and exercise plan can make us feel better mentally as well as physically, which can also help us get better sleep — it’s all connected, and in all different directions!
This is why half-measures don’t work when it comes to our health. You can visit a doctor regularly and still be sick if you don’t maintain a healthy diet. You can exercise and still gain wait if you eat poorly.
What you need are big-picture lifestyle changes that tackle your whole health, not just part of it.
Nutrition, exercise, and your lifestyle
Nutrition is important, but we often get caught up in our weight as the major indicator of our nutritional health. While it’s true that being overweight is nearly always unhealthy, it’s also true that our weight is just one indicator of our health. If we focus on weight, we might end up focusing too much on calories and not enough on macronutrients and vitamins.
In reality, good nutrition is more complex. For instance, some fats can actually be good. Healthy fats can help our heart and make us more healthy overall — leading to all of those related benefits that come with each healthy lifestyle decision we make.
Seem complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Once again, we can look at a bigger picture. Studies show that we can approximate detailed nutritional plans with a simple practice of eating whole foods, such as meats and vegetables that haven’t been processed and turned into junk food. Following a whole foods diet regularly and making it a part of your lifestyle and your big-picture change will have a ripple effect throughout your body.
Exercise matters, too, of course. You should get at least a half-hour of exercise per day, five days a week. Once again, the key is to make a lifestyle decision: if you choose a hobby that involves exercise, for instance, you’ll have a much easier time sticking to your decision.
Mental health and your lifestyle
Your physical health is interrelated in all kinds of ways. And your mental health matters, too! It has a serious effect on your physical health, so take your mental health needs seriously. Be proactive about your mental health. See experts for help, just as you would see doctors regarding your physical health.
Think about your sleep patterns, as well. A surprising number of Americans are living with sleep disorders, say the experts at a trusted sleep disorders institute, and many of us don’t even know it. Good mental health can help your sleep and vice versa, and both of these things will affect your energy levels and mood in a way that will make a huge difference in how effectively you are able to stick to your diet and exercise plan.
Health as a whole
When it comes to health, there are many factors you should be maintaining. You should visit your primary care physician regularly, take a multivitamin, socialize with friends for the sake of your mental health, and more. But you don’t need to create a laundry list of chores in order to live a healthy life. The more effective way to stay healthy is to approach your whole lifestyle with health in mind. Make sustainable changes and make health a habit, not a to-do list. Your body will thank you.