Think you’re leading a healthy lifestyle? Most of us think we do a fair job of maintaining our health and lifestyles with good eating habits and physical activity whenever we manage to fit it in. But is that enough to be considered “healthy?”

According to a recent study, very few adults actually meet the criteria for a healthy lifestyle. The study, published in the US National Library of MedicineNational Institutes of Health, showed that only 3% of American adults got a perfect score on what the authors say are the four basic criteria for healthy living. Just 13.8% met three of the criteria; 34.2% met only two criteria. Women scored slightly better than men.

Here are some FIVE KEY questions that can help you to measure your healthfulness:

  • Do you smoke?
  • Are you able to maintain a healthy weight (a BMI of 18-25), or are you successfully losing weight to attain a healthy weight?
  • Do you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily?
  • Do you exercise 30 minutes or more, 5 times a week?
  • Do you sleep?

Lifestyle tips that can improve your health!

Everyone knows smoking is bad for your health. And smoking, for many people, is a lifestyle. If you are one of the lucky ones who never became addicted to nicotine, pat yourself on the back. Smokers, I hope you are working diligently to kick your habit. It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of a smoke-free life for your health — as well as for the sake of those around you.

A few more things you must consider …

  • Brush and floss daily to keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease.
  • Get a good night’s rest. Well-rested people not only cope better with stress, but may also have better control of their appetites. Research has shown that a lack of sleep can put our “hunger hormones” out of balance — and possibly trigger overeating.
  • Smile and laugh out loud several times a day. It keeps you grounded, and helps you cope with situations that would otherwise make you crazy. Read the comics, watch a stand up comedy, or tell jokes to bring out those happy feelings.
  • Meditate, pray, or otherwise find solace for at least 10-20 minutes each day. Contemplation is good for your soul, helps you cope with the demands of daily life, and may even help lower your blood pressure.
  • Try yoga. The poses help increase strength and flexibility and improve balance. These are critical areas for older folks especially, and both men and women can benefit.
  • Power up the protein. This nutrient is an essential part of your eating plan, and can make up anywhere from 10%-35% of your total calories. Protein lasts a long time in your belly; combine it with high-fiber foods and you’ll feel full on fewer calories. Enjoy small portions of nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, poultry, or fish.

Last but not least, have a positive attitude. Do your best to look at life as if “the glass is half full.” You must believe in yourself, have good support systems, and think positively (“I think I can, I think I can…”) to succeed.

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