Many people struggle with obesity and other chronic conditions due to unhealthy lifestyle habits and too little attention towards health-promoting activities. The good news is that an effective way to lose weight and curb chronic disease is to gradually start changing these habits for the better. Rather than making unhealthy lifestyle choices, you can instead choose to live a healthier lifestyle.
What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle? Below is a breakdown of the Prescribe FIT definition:
Second, a lifestyle is defined as “the typical way of life of an individual, group, or culture.”
Combining the meanings of these words, Prescribe FIT defines a healthy lifestyle as the following:
“The commitment in mindset and practice to a balanced way of living which includes consistent habits that promote personal wellbeing and fulfillment in all domains of life and that proactively reduce the risk of illness, pain, or hardship.”
In other words, living a healthy lifestyle involves practicing simple yet consistent habits related to nutrition, physical activity, and your daily routine that promote wellness in all aspects of your life. For example, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or pausing once a day to practice mindfulness.
To live a healthy lifestyle, the idea is that you start small and commit to these habits for life, not just for a few weeks.
While a habit can be formed in as few as 21 days, it can take an entire season, or up to 16 weeks, for those habits to become routine, and a year or longer for them to become fully engrained into a new lifestyle.
How do you start living a healthy lifestyle? The key is to take it slow and steady, focusing on the easiest changes you can make to improve your health. Those changes are different for everyone, so seeking guidance from your health provider or care coordinator is a great place to start.
While it’s easy to emphasize healthy habits that promote only physical and emotional wellbeing, there are many more domains of health or wellness that make up a lifestyle. To help you get started on your healthy lifestyle journey, below is a list of 11 healthy habits based on the Prescribe FIT definition of a healthy lifestyle, as well as the domains of wellness from the National Wellness Institute.
1. Eat healthier
Decrease your portion sizes, increase your daily servings of vegetables and fruits, and eat more anti-inflammatory foods.
2. Move more often
A short walk 1-2 times a week is a great place to start. Any activity or exercise that increases your heart rate can help you burn calories, lower your cholesterol, and even prevent cancer.
3. Don’t smoke
Smoking cigarettes is the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. Prioritize life longevity by reaching for a mint or stick of gum when you feel the urge to smoke.
4. Limit alcohol
Excessive alcohol use can lead to chronic disease and obesity. Drink in moderation by limiting yourself to 1-2 drinks or less per day. Red wine is a “heart healthy” option that may help prevent coronary artery disease.
5. Drink more water
Staying hydrated has many positive impacts on your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. Increase your water intake by carrying a reusable water bottle and/or setting daily reminders to drink water.
6. Find meaning in your work
Improve your outlook on life and sense of purpose by cultivating work that is personally meaningful to you, and that provides you with a comfortable standard of living.
7. Practice mindfulness
Start by finding 3-5 minutes each day to bring attention to your breathing, bodily sensations, and surroundings.
8. Smile often
Make a conscious effort to smile often to your family, friends, coworkers, and even to yourself. It can boost your mood, improve your social relationships, and create a ripple effect of positivity.
9. Focus on hygiene
A personal hygiene routine can protect you from illnesses, boost your confidence, and improve your quality of life. Examples include showering daily and visiting the barber or salon for a regular haircut.
10. Always keep learning
Learning new things has many benefits. It can stave off boredom, improve your adaptability, and even prevent dementia.
11. Maintain a healthy weight.
Making healthy lifestyle choices can put you on the right track to maintaining a healthy weight and preventing chronic disease.
Keep in mind that you don’t need to take on all these habits at once to get transformational effects. Start by choosing 1 or 2 healthy habits that are most important or exciting to you. As you add more and more habits, their effects begin to compound over time, giving way to powerful results.
Prescribe FIT is a virtual lifestyle health solution that partners with your orthopedic physician to help you improve your musculoskeletal (MSK) health, reduce symptoms of pain, and enhance your quality of life. By focusing on root cause medicine and whole person health, we transform our patients’ lives by transforming their lifestyles.