Humans are predictable creatures for good reason. The large majority of people are social, align themselves to systems and tend to operate in organized patterns. We see this set of tendencies repeatedly in life, school, work and family. However, just as we pick up good habits and practices, we can do the same with bad ones too, decreasing our health over time as the negative health effects accumulate.
Fortunately, there are easy-to-remember, specific practices that contribute significantly to good health. When practiced on a regular basis, these activities not only help our bodies to perform better, but they improve strength, cognitive ability and resistance to sickness.
Run or jog 11 miles a week
This target of cardiovascular activity has an immediate dual benefit; it helps reduce the effect of a sedentary lifestyle, and it improves breathing capacity. A person doesn’t have to be a sprint runner or marathon competitor. By just breaking down the distance target to a few days a week, the task is extremely doable even with a slow jog. The idea is to get the body moving regularly.
Increase your heart rate to 140 beats per minute
This is the target range you want your heart to reach with regular exercise for at least 10 minutes. The process improves your heart’s strength, improves blood-pumping capacity and flushes your system.
Sleep 6 to 8 hours a night
Sleep is a critical restorative process for the body. A regular schedule of sleep does more to fend off sickness than vitamins, exercise, and washing hands combined.
Getting vaccinated against common illnesses is an important way to protect yourself and stay healthy. See some of the most important vaccines here.
Read 1 book a month regularly
The brain exercises and functions increasingly well when challenged and used via sight. The same principle doesn’t apply as much when reading via a computer. So pick up a book and exercise those brain cells.
Eat 5 vegetables or fruits a day
In a processed-food world, it is extremely hard to remember to eat natural, plant-based food. However, the fiber and vitamins from fruits and vegetables boost the body significantly, and far better than supplements.
Drink 5 glasses of water daily
When we are dehydrated, we are affected both mentally and physically. Processed drinks tend to make this worse, not better. In many places, water is inexpensive and easy to obtain.
Basic health-oriented behavior can go a long way in improving the probability of a healthy life. To find out more about public health and human behavior, consider the Master of Public Health Online at Keck School of Medicine of University of Southern California.