While a healthy, sustainable lifestyle for one individual may not be the best option for another, can experts point out signs of a healthy life?
Table of Contents
Being or living a healthy life is a phrase that can be confusing. Researchers examine some major areas of concern with constant imagery like social media’s role in shaping what behaviors people consider important to reach a physical fitness/health goal. These behaviors prioritize physical appearance and are often linked with negative psychological effects and worsening physical health outcomes. (Binder A, et al., 2021) Studies routinely show that someone’s body shape is not a good indicator of how healthy they really are. (Uhlmann LR, et al., 2018)
Living a healthy life is a multi-faceted endeavor that requires maintaining a balance. New research has shown that “adhering to both quality diet and sufficient physical activity is important for optimally reducing the risk of mortality from all causes, CVD and PDAR cancers.” (Ding D, et al., 2022) Individuals do not need to make extreme changes to these areas of their lifestyle. Studies show that making small adjustments, little by little, prepares the individual to develop long-term sustainable habits. (Adhikari P, Gollub E. 2021)
Too much salt, sugar, and saturated fat increases the risk of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. (National Institutes of Health, 2017) It can be easy to overlook balanced nutrition and it is not all about what should be restricted and avoided. It is about making sure the body gets the proper amount of nutrient-rich foods essential to overall health. Examples include:
Regular physical activity helps with weight management, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, maintains healthy bones and joints, and contributes to positive mental health and mood.
A few signs that an individual is healthy.
Signs that the mind and body are not healthy include:
The human body, organs, and tissues are complex structures, and the signals they transmit about underlying issues can be subtle which individuals tend to not notice until the little problems become major ones. It’s important to look at life habits and be honest about changes that may need to be implemented to improve health, lessen the risk of chronic health conditions, and improve quality of life.
Binder, A., Noetzel, S., Spielvogel, I., & Matthes, J. (2021). “Context, Please?” The Effects of Appearance- and Health-Frames and Media Context on Body-Related Outcomes. Frontiers in public health, 9, 637354. doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2021.637354
Uhlmann, L. R., Donovan, C. L., Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., Bell, H. S., & Ramme, R. A. (2018). The fit beauty ideal: A healthy alternative to thinness or a wolf in sheep’s clothing? Body image, 25, 23–30. doi.org/10.1016/j.bodyim.2018.01.005
Ding, D., Van Buskirk, J., Nguyen, B., Stamatakis, E., Elbarbary, M., Veronese, N., Clare, P. J., Lee, I. M., Ekelund, U., & Fontana, L. (2022). Physical activity, diet quality and all-cause cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: a prospective study of 346 627 UK Biobank participants. British Journal of sports medicine, bj sports-2021-105195. Advanced online publication. doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2021-105195
Adhikari, P., & Gollub, E. (2021). Evaluation of the Small Changes, Healthy Habits Pilot Program: Its Influence on Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Behaviors of Adults in Louisiana. European journal of investigation in health, psychology, and education, 11(1), 251–262. doi.org/10.3390/ejihpe11010019
How dietary factors influence disease risk. National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Ikonte, C. J., Mun, J. G., Reider, C. A., Grant, R. W., & Mitmesser, S. H. (2019). Micronutrient Inadequacy in Short Sleep: Analysis of the NHANES 2005-2016. Nutrients, 11(10), 2335. doi.org/10.3390/nu11102335
Pezeshki, A., Zapata, R. C., Singh, A., Yee, N. J., & Chelikani, P. K. (2016). Low protein diets produce divergent effects on energy balance. Scientific reports, 6, 25145. doi.org/10.1038/srep25145
Gammone, M. A., Riccioni, G., Parrinello, G., & D’Orazio, N. (2018). Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport. Nutrients, 11(1), 46. doi.org/10.3390/nu11010046
Oddo, V. M., Welke, L., McLeod, A., Pezley, L., Xia, Y., Maki, P., Koenig, M. D., Kominiarek, M. A., Langenecker, S., & Tussing-Humphreys, L. (2022). Adherence to a Mediterranean Diet Is Associated with Lower Depressive Symptoms among U.S. Adults. Nutrients, 14(2), 278. doi.org/10.3390/nu14020278
Adults, Surgeon General Report, CDC.
Koh, Y. S., Asharani, P. V., Devi, F., Roystonn, K., Wang, P., Vaingankar, J. A., Abdin, E., Sum, C. F., Lee, E. S., Müller-Riemenschneider, F., Chong, S. A., & Subramaniam, M. (2022). A cross-sectional study on the perceived barriers to physical activity and their associations with domain-specific physical activity and sedentary behavior. BMC public health, 22(1), 1051. doi.org/10.1186/s12889-022-13431-2
Saint-Maurice, P. F., Graubard, B. I., Troiano, R. P., Berrigan, D., Galuska, D. A., Fulton, J. E., & Matthews, C. E. (2022). Estimated Number of Deaths Prevented Through Increased Physical Activity Among US Adults. JAMA internal medicine, 182(3), 349–352. doi.org/10.1001/jamainternmed.2021.7755
Nayor, M., Shah, R. V., Miller, P. E., Blodgett, J. B., Tanguay, M., Pico, A. R., Murthy, V. L., Malhotra, R., Houstis, N. E., Deik, A., Pierce, K. A., Bullock, K., Dailey, L., Velagaleti, R. S., Moore, S. A., Ho, J. E., Baggish, A. L., Clish, C. B., Larson, M. G., Vasan, R. S., … Lewis, G. D. (2020). Metabolic Architecture of Acute Exercise Response in Middle-Aged Adults in the Community. Circulation, 142(20), 1905–1924. doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.050281
Melaku, Y. A., Reynolds, A. C., Gill, T. K., Appleton, S., & Adams, R. (2019). Association between Macronutrient Intake and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness: An Iso-Caloric Substitution Analysis from the North West Adelaide Health Study. Nutrients, 11(10), 2374. doi.org/10.3390/nu11102374
Jamieson, J. P., Black, A. E., Pelaia, L. E., Gravelding, H., Gordils, J., & Reis, H. T. (2022). Reappraising stress arousal improves affective, neuroendocrine, and academic performance outcomes in community college classrooms. Journal of experimental psychology. General, 151(1), 197–212. doi.org/10.1037/xge0000893
Smelling Sickness, Body Odor May Be A Sign of Disease. NIH, News in Health.newsinhealth.nih.gov/2018/09/smelling-sickness
Vernia, F., Di Ruscio, M., Ciccone, A., Viscido, A., Frieri, G., Stefanelli, G., & Latella, G. (2021). Sleep disorders related to nutrition and digestive diseases: a neglected clinical condition. International journal of medical sciences, 18(3), 593–603. doi.org/10.7150/ijms.45512
The information herein on "What Makes A Healthy Life?" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
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