Good health is the first and most important need of any individual wishing to enhance the ability to engage in various activities and provide harmonious self-development. It is a vital prerequisite for acquiring knowledge of the surrounding world and happiness. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), "Health is a state of physical, spiritual and social well-being, and not just the absence of diseases or physical defects." A healthy lifestyle is a way of life, based on the principles of morality, rationality, activities, and labor, at the same time, protecting an individual from unfriendly influences in the environment while maintaining mental and physical health for the longest time possible.
Health is the most valuable possession for any human being. It cannot be bought because the formation of a healthy lifestyle depends on ourselves, our preferences, and our beliefs and views.
In these current times of scientific, technical, and industrial revolutions, almost everything is done with the help of various machines, depriving our bodies of motor activity. The main part of physical activity falls on physical culture and sports, for which we always lack time, power, or desire. Hence, it leads to poor health, various illnesses, and obesity.
The other factors influencing our health are ecological situations in places of residence, the quality of food, and the absence of life-threatening natural conditions.
The notion of a healthy lifestyle can be characterized by activities aimed primarily at preserving and improving personal health. Everyone should bear in mind that healthy ways of living for a person or a family are formed during a lifetime, purposefully and continuously.
The main components of a healthy lifestyle:
Any healthy daily routine includes a specific rhythm of life and activities. The daily schedule of every person should contain certain times for work, rest, eating, and sleeping.
Daily schedules for different people should vary depending on occupation, living conditions, lifestyle habits, and predisposition. However, daily rhythms and routines must be also present. It is necessary to provide sufficient time for sleep and rest. Breaks between meals should not be more than 4-5 hours. It is very important for every human being to sleep and eat at the same time daily. Thus, conditioned reflexes are produced. A person who has his\her lunch at a strictly determined time frame knows well when appetite comes, which is replaced by a feeling of an intense hunger if the lunch is late.
Daily routines do not imply very strict behavior minute by minute. However, the routine itself is a pivotal core, which should be the base for both work days and weekends.
Rational routine of work and rest
Rational time management in relation to work and rest is a necessary element of a healthy lifestyle. In a strictly adherent schedule, a clear and necessary rhythm of the functioning of an organism is established that creates the optimal conditions for work and rest, and, thus, contributes to the improvement of health and the increase in productivity.
Labor is the true core of a healthy human life. There is a misconception about the detrimental effect of labor, which claims that working allegedly causes the so-called "wearing off" of the body, excessive loss of forces and resources, and premature aging. Both, physical and mental labor, are not only not harmful, but, what’s more, systematic, moderate, and well-organized labor process has an extremely beneficial effect on the nervous system, heart and vessels, and musculo-skeletal system.
Continuous training through labor strengthens the body. Long live those who work a lot and regularly throughout their lives. On the contrary, procrastination and laziness lead to flabbiness of the muscles, metabolic disorders, obesity and premature aging. The necessary condition for the preservation of your health while working is the regular and mastered interchange of work and rest. Rest after work does not mean a state of complete inactivity at all. Only being completely exhausted can we talk about passive rest. It is advised for the nature of the rest to be the opposite of the nature of the work (contrasting principle of recreation).
People engaged in physical labor need the type of rest that is not associated with additional physical activity; whereas, employees of mental work are expected to be physically active during leisure time. Such an interchange of physical and mental loads is good for your health. Any person who spends a lot of time indoors should have some part of the time for rest spent in the open air.
Nutrition hygiene involves studying problems related healthy nutrition. With proper nutrition, a person is less vulnerable to various diseases. It also makes it much easier to overcome illnesses. Rational nutrition is also important for the prevention of premature aging. The next component of a healthy lifestyle is a healthy diet. When it comes to it, one should keep in mind two basic laws, violation of which is dangerous for health.
The first law talks about the balance of energy that is received and spent. If the body receives more energy than it spends, that is, if we consume more food than it is necessary for normal body functioning, work and good health, we are gaining excess weight. Excessive nutrition usually results in atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, a number of other harmful effects.
The second law states that nutrition should be diverse and supply the needs of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals and food fibers. Many of these substances are irreplaceable since they are not formed in the body, and come only from food. The absence of at least one of them, for instance, vitamin C, causes various diseases and, even, premature death. Vitamins of the group B are obtained mainly from bread; and the source of vitamin A and other fat-soluble vitamins are the dairy products, fish, oil, liver, and others.
The most nourishing meal of the day should be lunch. Dinner is useful no later than 1.5 hours before bedtime. It is always recommended to eat at the same time every day. This establishes a conditioned reflex that is necessary for appetite to appear regularly and at certain hours. Also, food consumed when hungry is better absorbed. It is very important to have free time for food digestion. The existing idea about exercise after eating helping to digest is a huge mistake. Rational nutrition ensures the correct growth and formation of the body, leads to the preservation of health, high working capacity and life expectancy.
Proper breathing is the most important function of the body. It has a close connection to blood circulation, metabolism, muscle activity, and is carried out with direct involvement of the central nervous system.
The act of breathing is an automated action, but there is also arbitrary control of breathing. At arbitrary regulation of breathing it is possible (within certain limits) to consciously regulate the depth and frequency of breathing, delay it, and to combine breathing with the nature of movements.
The ability to manage the breathing process has different levels of development depending on separate individuals. However, this ability can be improved with the help of breathing exercises.
Nasal breathing is considered to be the proper type. Passing through the nasal cavity, the air is humidified and cleared of dust. When breathing through the mouth, the air is not cleansed or flushed or warmed up. As a result, acute inflammation processes occur more often. Breathing through the mouth causes the decrease in the number of erythrocytes in the blood; also, the activity of the kidneys, stomach and intestines are impaired.
For therapeutic purposes, it is sometimes advisable to breathe in with the nose and breathe out with the mouth to exacerbate the function of exhalation. During regular breathing, the breath should be about one quarter shorter than the exhalation. At fast walking pace (and jogging), more attention should be paid not to the ratio of the number of steps during inhalation and exhalation, but to a more complete and prolonged exhalation, which contributes to deep breathing.
When working out or performing physical labor, you must be accustomed to breathing deeply and evenly. Breathing should, at the same time and if possible, be combined with the phases of motion.
Proper sleeping schedule
A full-fledged, deep sleep is a necessity when it comes to maintaining the normal functioning of the nervous system and the whole body. Your sleep should be long enough and deep. If a person sleeps fewer hours than necessary, then he\she gets up in the morning feeling angry, tired and, sometimes, with a headache.
The need for sleep for different people is not the same. On average, the normal amount of sleeping equals 7-8 hours. It is as well necessary for the room to be well-ventilated before sleep. It is a healthy practice to sleep with a window slightly open, and when it is warm outside - with a fully open window. What is more, within sleeping hours, the room should be completely dark and silent.
Constant and durable lack of sleep leads to a disturbance of nervous activity, reduced labor capacity, increased fatigue, irritation and so on. It is healthy to go to sleep at regular hours every day. Neglecting these simple rules of sleep hygiene has a negative impact on personal sleeping schedule, as well as on both physical and mental health. Sleep becomes shallow and easily breakable. As a result, over time, insomnia or various disorders of the nervous system develop.
Eradication of unhealthy and addictive habits
The next component of a healthy lifestyle is the recovering from various unhealthy and addictive habits (smoking, drinking alcohol and using other drugs). Substance abuse has a detrimental effect on health and is quite often the cause of many diseases, much shorter life expectancy, and reduced working capacity.
Many people start their recovery with quitting smoking, which is considered one of the most dangerous habits. The smoker does not inhale all the harmful substances contained in tobacco smoke - about half of those are inhaled by those who are next to him\her (passive smokers). It is no coincidence that children suffer from respiratory diseases in smoker-families much more often than in families where no one smokes. Smoking is a frequent cause of the tumors in the cavity of the mouth, larynx, bronchi, and lungs. Constant and prolonged smoking leads to premature aging. Life expectancy, at the same time, decreases by an average of 5-10 years. Violation of oxygen tissue nutrition, spasms of small vessels change the appearance of any smoker (a yellowish tint of proteins of the eyes, skin; the change in the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract affects his voice - reduced tone, hoarseness).
The next difficult task is to overcome alcohol addiction as a way of life and as a disease. It is established that alcoholism destroys all systems and organs of a person. As a result of the constant and lasting alcohol abuse, a complex of symptoms of a so-called ‘alcohol passion’ develops, resulting in the loss of sense of measure and control over the amount of alcohol drunk, disruption of the functioning of the central and peripheral nervous system (psychosis, neuritis), and the functions of internal organs.
A particularly harmful effect alcohol has on the liver: prolonged systematic abuse of alcohol is the reason for the development of alcoholic cirrhosis. Alcoholism is one of the frequent causes of pancreatic disease (pancreatitis, diabetes mellitus). Along with health-related changes, alcohol abuse is always accompanied by social consequences that harm both people with alcoholism and those around them (family, friends, co-workers).
Constant and regular exercising
Regular activity and workout is the most important condition for a healthy lifestyle. Its basis is the systematic physical exercising and sports that effectively improve your health and develop physical abilities, as well as – preserve health and motor skills, and prevent dysfunctional age-related changes.
The basic qualities that characterize human physical development are strength, speed, agility, flexibility and endurance. For the effective health improvement and the prevention of illnesses, it is necessary to train and improve the most valuable quality - endurance with the help of a combination of the components of a healthy lifestyle that will provide the body with a reliable shield against many diseases.
Daily morning gymnastics should be set as a mandatory minimum of physical training. Physical exercises should be performed in a well-ventilated room or outdoors. For people with a "sedentary" lifestyle, physical exercises on the fresh air are vital. It could be of a great use to go on foot in the morning to work and walk back after work. Systematic walking has a beneficial effect on any person; it improves self-esteem and increases the capacity for work.