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Essential Elements of Healthy Living
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Your health impacts every aspect of your life. If you want to experience a higher quality of life, taking steps to improve, protect, and preserve your health are some of the best things you can do. To that end, there are some essential elements of healthy living that it is important to pay attention to.

Food and Water

Food is often one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about healthy living. There’s truth behind the saying, “You are what you eat.” Your body uses the macro- and micronutrients in the food you eat to rebuild, maintain, and fuel your body. Make wise choices about what you eat by choosing to eat lean meats, fresh or minimally processed fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, and whole grains. The occasional treat or dessert is fine, but it should be just that: occasional.

Drinking enough water is essential as well. How much water you should drink depends on how active you are. The more active you are, the more water you’ll need to stay hydrated. According to the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, women should consume roughly 11 cups of fluids and men should consume roughly 15 cups of fluids each day. That may sound like a lot, but a lot of that can come from food as well as other liquids, not just plain water.

Exercise

Physical activity is another essential element of healthy living. Adults should aim to engage in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, plus two days of muscle training. That may sound like a lot, but you can break it down into 30-minute sessions, 5 days a week. Alternatively, you can up the intensity. If you’re engaging in vigorous physical activity, 75 minutes, or 15-minute intervals 5 days a week is enough to see health benefits. You can also mix up your intensity throughout the week. Benefits from regular physical activity include weight management, reduced risk of disease, improved brain health, and stronger muscles and bones.

Sleep

Far too many people are sleep deprived. If you want to live a healthy life, getting enough sleep is critical. It’s directly tied to your physical and mental health. Not getting enough sleep can increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Adults should get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. If you struggle to get enough sleep, consider your sleep environment. The temperature, lighting, noise levels, and comfort of your mattress and pillows will all impact how well you sleep.

Being as healthy as you can at any given point gives you your best shot at experiencing a high quality of life. Remember, your physical health and your mental health are inseparably entwined. The better you take care of your physical body, the better off your mind and spirit will be as well.

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