Let’s start with one fact: the most common diseases today are often a direct result of your lifestyle, think diabetes and heart disease, which are all preventable through healthy habits like regular physical activity. In fact even research suggests that your lifestyle may be an important determinant of the expression of your genetic makeup, or in other words, “Genes load the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger.”
But why is it so hard to live well in America?
It’s pretty complicated actually. We live in a time that makes it easier to eat too much bad stuff, sit on our asses longer than we should, spend less quality time with those we love, and get the right quality of care from our healthcare system. Even the individuals and institutions we rely on to keep us healthy are strongly incentivized to give you the most profitable product and service rather than the ones you need to be healthy.
Changing all this will be a slow and hard process, but despite the perverse environment we live in, living healthy is quite simple. As I see it here’s what I think constitute the healthy lifestyle:
- Be active and avoid being sedentary for too much of your day
- Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much
- Spend quality time with family & friends
- Work on something meaningful to you
- Relax & sleep enough
- Don’t smoke
Stuff you probably already know, but I believe health has been over complicated by gurus touting the next best thing and studies coming out every month proving why this or that is healthy or not. Don’t let all that scare you away from living healthy in your own way. Ignore those who say they have the perfect solution to keeping you thin forever, or why Paleo is the best diet in the world, because in fact, some of these things may work for some, but definitely not for all. Just keep it simple, because it is unequivocally so, that doing more of the above can keep you healthy deep into the later stages of your life.
How do you keep it simple?
Photo via sheilaellen