Surprising Benefits of Living a Healthier Lifestyle
Most people understand the core benefits of living a healthier, active lifestyle. According to the CDC, living a healthy lifestyle will help you live longer and reduce your risk of heart attack, diabetes, and some cancers.
But living a healthier lifestyle comes with some unexpected benefits, too. Healthy living can promote a stronger immune system, improve your productivity, and help your skin look great.
Have you ever wondered how fitness icons like Dwayne Johnson get so much done in the day? While they certainly have a strong work ethic, their healthy lifestyle boosts their productivity and makes it easier to complete difficult tasks throughout the day.
Fitness can boost your productivity by improving your efficiency and combating fatigue. When you work out, your body releases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is proven to improve your cognitive performance and help with things like time management.
Exercising regularly also releases endorphins which shake off tiredness, encourage better-quality sleep, and help you fall asleep quicker at night. This has a knock-on effect on your daily productivity, as good-quality sleep helps you stay focused and sharp throughout the day.
Eating healthy foods and drinking enough water ensures that you have an even spread of energy throughout the day. Replacing soda with water or tea will help you avoid energy spikes and may even improve cognitive performance. If you don’t like water, you can always opt for bubbly water or water-dense fruits and vegetables instead. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also reduce the impact of age-related conditions so you can stay productive even as you age.
Immunity has been a hot topic in the past few years. Everyone seems to have their favorite strategy and “elixir” for boosting immunity. While there’s no substitute for vaccinations and professional medical advice, exercise may help you shake off illnesses and avoid infection.
Some research suggests that physical exercise flushes bacteria out of your lungs and airways. This reduces your risk of illnesses like the common cold and some flu viruses. Exercise can also cause adaptations within your body and strengthen your white blood cell’s response to infection.
When you exercise, your body temperature rises. A regular, brief rise in body temperature may prevent bacteria from growing and help fight infection. Mild exercise may help you feel better when you have an illness “above the neck”. However, you should avoid exercising if you suspect you have a chest infection, fever, or widespread muscle aches.
Beyond physical health, living a healthy lifestyle can improve your mood and change your perspective on life. Eating a wide range of foods, drinking enough water, and getting enough exercise may be just what you need to get out of a rut and start feeling happier.
Even gentle exercise, like walking daily can have a profound effect on your mental health. 200 minutes of walking per week has been shown to reduce the symptoms of depression and improve emotional stability. Walking can also help you rediscover your creative flair, as a quick stroll is a great way to reset your mental state and find inspiration.
You also don’t have to have a fancy gym membership to receive these benefits either. Great home workouts like yoga and dance engage your whole body and spark the release of endorphins that help you feel energized.
In addition, eating healthy foods can improve your mood and help you think more clearly. Eating nutritious food throughout the day is also a valid form of self-care and may help you lead a more confident, content life. A nutritious breakfast followed by fruits and vegetables will help you think clearly and maintain your energy.
Finally, staying hydrated can reduce your symptoms of mental health conditions like anxiety. Research shows that folks who stayed hydrated throughout the day were less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, and those who drank enough water had better moods and were less tense. Hydration won’t make your mental health conditions disappear entirely, but it will help you navigate your symptoms with greater control.
Protecting your skin health is about more than looking good and avoiding acne. Your skin is an important barrier between the world and your body. As such, it needs looking after. Living a healthy lifestyle can improve the health of your skin.
Exercising regularly increases blood flow to your skin and helps your body take care of itself. According to dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD “a bout of exercise helps flush cellular debris out of the system.” Exercise also alleviates stress-related skin conditions. Conditions like acne and eczema are related to stress, as stress hormones release oil that results in flair-ups. Exercising regularly can reduce your overall stress and improve the appearance of your skin.
A well-rounded diet can also have a positive impact on your skin health. Eating a variety of foods ensures that you take on the vitamins A, B2, B3, B6, C, D, E, zinc, and selenium that you need for healthy skin functions. Foods that are high in water – like cucumber and melon – are particularly useful, as they keep your skin hydrated, too.
Living a healthier lifestyle can improve your productivity and your mental health. Even a brisk quick walk may be enough to reduce symptoms of depression and help you manage conditions like anxiety. Your skin health will also improve when you lead a healthier lifestyle, as exercise increases blood flow to the skin and reduces the impact of stress-related conditions. Either way, you only have benefits to gain by opting for healthier habits, and eventually, a healthier lifestyle.