Are you living a healthy lifestyle? Most likely not, at least according to a recent study by the Mayo Clinic. In fact, it revealed that just three out 100 Americans are doing so.
In the study, Mayo Clinic defined a “healthy lifestyle” as meeting all four of these qualifications:
The study connected these criteria to lower cholesterol, white blood cell counts and blood pressure, which mean lower risk for heart disease.
While none of the health criteria are new or revolutionary, the study reveals just how difficult it can be for us to make them all a part of our lives.
So, what can we do? Make small changes, with realistic goals. “The keys to a healthy life are diet, exercise, sleep and laughter,” says Dr. Adele Sykes, of SCL Physicians. “We can’t change our lifestyles overnight, but we can make small changes over time that significantly impact our overall health.”
Dr. Sykes recommends that, in each of these areas, we set realistic goals and take them one step at a time:
- Exercise:Start moving more. Begin by figuring out where you are at using a step tracking device. Then try to increase this number by 20%. When you are comfortable there, increase it again. Your ultimate goal is to take 10,000 steps a day.
- Diet: We could all stand to eat a little better. Make small substitutions, like making quinoa instead of rice. Shop for colorful fruits and vegetables, and opt for fresh produce over canned whenever possible. For a snack, forgo the cookies and try nuts, dried fruit or berries instead.
- Body Fat:If you drink soda, get rid of it! One can of pop a day equals 13-15 pounds of body fat a year. Processed fruit juice is almost as bad. Instead, drink more water and add lemon, cucumber or fruit for flavor.
- Smoking:If you smoke, seek out help to quit. Visit the National Jewish Health QuitLogix website for access to tools, information and support that can help you on your journey to quitting.