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The Habits of the Highly Healthy

The Habits of the Highly Healthy

The healthiest, longest-living people all share many common practices, routines, and habits. It has been said, “Repetition is the mother of skill.” Well let me add that “repetition” is also the mother of health. By consistently engaging in certain habits, you can enjoy a healthier and longer life.

It’s not in your genes. In fact, studies have shown that only about 20% of all people have a true genetic predisposition that places certain limitations on their health and longevity. Could it be that the studies showing hereditary (gene) correlations between parent and child (genes) is more a matter of the parent and child sharing the same conditioning or the same unhealthy habits? If so, then that means that for most people, it’s more of what they do (their habits) than their genes (hereditary traits).

Perhaps, it’s time you throw out your limitations.

Suppose you dismiss the notion of genes that, because of age, sex, ethnicity, or another hereditary trait, you can’t be one of the healthiest men or women on the planet.

By simply completing the same routines and habits of the world’s healthiest, longest-living people, you can easily join their ranks. You can become healthier. You can live longer. Today, it’s possible to live past our average life expectancy of 78.7 years and to do so in good-health. We now have the capacity to live comfortably into our 90s.

So, let’s explore some of the core habits of “the highly healthy” that will very likely work for you too.

Movement

Movement is the 800-pound gorilla.

And, pound for pound, no other health habit comes close to this powerhouse. There’s no denying it; and there’s no getting around it. Your DNA, evolution, and body demand that you move. Your health demands regular physical activity.

The world’s “highly healthy” men and women respect this powerful habit by giving their bodies regular, consistent, physical activity. And, not all “highly healthy” people join gyms or fitness clubs. Many simply choose to:

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  • Engage in natural, functional forms of activity such as, gardening, housework, and yard work
  • Enjoy walking and/or running an average of 30 minutes daily

Highly healthy people appreciate the benefits that only physical activity can provide, such as, increased ability to focus, less depression or anxiety, longevity, energy, and heightened creativity.

Purpose and Connection

Long ago, things weren’t always so easy and convenient for the human race.

In those times, survival often kept people pre-occupied and busy every day. Fast-forward to today, and you find the purpose of “surviving” to be more of an after-thought.

The point is that “survival” has been man’s number one purpose for countless centuries. Without that overriding purpose, you are free to indulge in any number of other “purposeful” activities.

Unfortunately, many people haven’t defined their purpose. And, it’s hard to hit a target you can’t see. So, this often causes some people to feel empty inside, detached, and yearning for something more.

Highly healthy men and women realize that purpose is a void that’s better filled than left empty. That’s why they often:

  • Find something bigger than themselves to focus on, and strive to achieve
  • Work in fields they enjoy, and are more than just financially-rewarding
  • Serve their community, nation, and family

A fast way to finding your purpose is to sit down with a pen and notepad and to start writing. In the center of the pad write, “MY PURPOSE” and circle it. Next, draw four lines. One that extends from the top, one that extends from the right, another that extends out of the bottom, and finally one more that extends from the left.

On the line extending from the top write, “Values.” On the line extending from the right, write the word, “Passions.” On the line extending from the bottom write, “Talents;” and finally on the line extending from the left write, “Skills/expertise.”

Write until your hand hurts – anything and everything that falls under those categories. As you write pay attention to your emotions. Which words conjure up thoughts, laughter, tears, give you goose bumps, or scare you so much you feel as if you may just pee in your pants? See example below:

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Purpose

    Photo: Justin Miller

    Circle those words. Your purpose may lie in them.

    Often times, “the highly healthy” find their “purpose” in maintaining valuable “connections.” Connections are social relationships, and the human race is a social race. Our need for “social” interaction has been hardwired in our DNA over the numerous centuries. Our ancestors were forced to be social in order to survive. Tribes, small bands, communities, and towns all created a social atmosphere, while simultaneously promoting and protecting the well-being of all of its members.

    Social relationships can provide us positive emotions and feelings of well-being like nothing else. And so, “the highly healthy” embrace “connections” by:

    Mindset

    There are several mindset traits of “the highly healthy.”

    Thoughts have long been known to cause profound changes within a person’s body and to the state of their health. Thoughts are what trigger emotions – good and bad. Unpleasant thoughts produce painful, aggravating feelings. Additionally, negative thoughts create stress that manifests in the body and wreaks havoc on every physical aspect of a person’s being. However, pleasant thoughts produce pleasurable, soothing feelings.

    “The highly healthy” realize that their thoughts are better directed than left to roam. Therefore, to maximize their positive feelings, they take the time to toss out any “stinking-thinking” and replace them with positive thoughts. They don’t fall prey to addictions because they actively manage the most powerful pharmacy – their state of mind.

    The result is both better feelings and a healthier body. That’s why highly healthy people:

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    • Show gratitude and give thanks, every day
    • Forgive others, and free themselves from the destructive, negative thoughts that would otherwise constantly fill their minds
    • Accept and acknowledge their fears, but move forward with their life
    • Trust their gut or intuition because they realize that it’s often an excellent decision-maker
    • Bounce back from troubles without seeing temporary setbacks as permanent failures

    Pace

    Success in life, work, and health require effort and planning.

    Yet, few of life’s great achievements happen overnight. Highly healthy people know that becoming and remaining healthy is a process that takes time.

    And that’s why they develop “pacing” habits in order to keep their health in optimal condition. When it comes to joining the ranks of “the highly healthy,” you’ll have to learn to pace yourself… by knowing when “less” of certain things will provide you “more” benefits.

    Less is More

    An important part of pacing yourself involves recognizing when “less is actually more.”

    “The highly healthy” have experienced the pain of having over-committed themselves only to find that despite being involved in several activities, they enjoyed none of them. Moderation is the key.

    And, that’s why “the highly healthy” tend to:

    • Embrace the simple solution vs. the complex approach
    • Avoid trying to be “all things to all people” embracing the power of a positive no.
    • Take breaks throughout their day to relax, nap, socialize, or read. Fifty minutes of work followed by 10 minutes of break-time. Or try the Pomodoro principle.

    Additionally, when it comes to eating, super-healthy people maintain habits to:

    • Stop eating when only 70 to 80% full, instead of stuffing themselves
    • Eat smaller meals with smaller portions
    • Eat less late in the day… and very lightly, if at all, before going to bed

    Enemy #1

    And, in keeping with their mindset of moderation, highly healthy people realize that there are certain foods that are worse than others. Many require you to pace your consumption of them.

    Yet despite attempting to tackle every unhealthy food, “the highly healthy” wisely choose to eradicate the worse food – enemy #1 – sugar.

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    The healthiest people realize that sugar is addicting, and their body functions better and more effectively without it. So, instead of going allowing sugar to destroy their health, “the highly healthy” have habits in which they:

    • Eat moderate amounts of fruits on occasion
    • Indulge in desserts and sweets no more than one day per week, often known as their “junk-food day” or a “day off”
    • Avoid sugar in all it’s hidden forms, including juices, sodas, etc.

    Plants

    Studies have shown that a plant-based diet has many health benefits. A diet rich in the right vegetables has long been known to help reduce a person’s risks for health issues, such as:

    • High-blood pressure
    • High-blood sugar
    • Unhealthy cholesterol levels
    • Obesity
    • Diabetes
    • And many other health problems

    Highly healthy people have developed the habit of enjoying plant-based foods everyday. And a number of them eat as much as 6 to 9 servings each day. To make it a bit easier on yourself simply strive to eat a serving of veggies every time you eat.

    Prioritize eating veggies every time you eat. One to two fist-sized servings should do the trick. You can use resources like this to help you choose the best ones.

    Shut-eye

    Countless studies and research have been done in the realm of sleeping. Scientists want to know how sleep affects the body. In their sleep studies of humans, they discovered the incredible and essential role sleep plays in our life.

    Getting sufficient sleep can improve:

    • Metabolism
    • Memory
    • Attention
    • Depression
    • Creativity
    • Inflammation
    • Learning
    • Immune Function
    • Longevity

    Highly healthy people are committed to giving their bodies adequate sleep every night. That means these men and women sleep between 7 to 9 hours every single night.

    And, with such a long list of sleep benefits, there’s little doubt why many of the world’s “highly healthy” people are also “highly successful.”

    Join the “Highly Healthy”

    There are medications that actually get rid of bacterial infections and other ailments. However, there has never been… and will likely never be… a magic pill for good health. Instead, it requires each person, to incorporate certain habits and routines into their lives.

    Today, men and women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s are running marathons. That’s 26.2 miles, in a matter of hours, not days. So, it’s important for you to realize, believe, and know that there is no limit to how healthy you can become at any age. All you need to do is to embrace and adopt the habits of “the highly healthy.”

    It’s hard to live a limitless life if you can’t get out of bed.

    More by this author

    Justin Miller

    Healthy Lifestyle Architect, a Fitness and Nutrition Coach

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    Last Updated on May 21, 2020

    The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

    The Top Fad Diets That Are Actually Worth the Hype

    You have probably seen enough fad diets to last a lifetime. Many have become popular overnight and left just as quickly.

    Some fad diets, though, have actually passed the test of time and are making some headway in the nutritional world.

    Outlined below are four fad diets that are actually beneficial for your health and wellness. Read on to find out why you should consider adopting one (or more) of these healthy eating styles today.

    An important concept you should keep in mind is to disregard the term “diet” as it is typically used. The word diet implies the idea of restriction and removal. Instead, think of the word diet in this context as a healthy eating lifestyle.

    Let’s take a look at some of these healthy eating lifestyles that have been categorized, by no fault of their own, as fad diets.

    1. The Paleo Diet

    The paleo diet, or ancestral eating, is simply eating the way your paleolithic ancestors would have up to 10,000 years ago, or when the agriculture age began.

    The advantage now is you don’t have to do this in a loin cloth, unless you want to… The focus of this diet is proteins, vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds and some healthy fats.

    In the paleo diet, there aren’t any grains, starchy carbohydrates, sugars, or dairy.

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    How Your Health Can Change With Paleo

    The paleo diet is a good way to keep your blood sugar under control. It can also have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes, and can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

    With this healthy eating lifestyle, people have also achieved good weight loss results and boast improved energy levels. [1]

    It’s not just what’s in the paleo diet that’s important, it’s what’s NOT in it. There aren’t any processed and manufactured foods, junk foods, artificial ingredients or chemical additives.

    Paleo is a way of eating that gets you more in tune with your body and, therefore, can provide a lot of benefits.

    2. Whole30

    The Whole30 diet is relatively new and owes its popularity to social media and the #Whole30 Instagram hashtag that allowed people to share and broadcast their success with the diet.

    With Whole30 you are taking 30 days and focusing on nutritious whole foods such as meats, nuts and seeds, seafood, eggs, vegetables, and fruits.

    During the month you are eliminating:

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    • sugar
    • alcohol
    • legumes
    • grains
    • dairy
    • soy

    Whole30 is similar to paleo, but it goes a bit further eliminating sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup.

    At the end of the 30 days, you strategically reintroduce those eliminated foods back into your diet to discover any possibility of health consequences from them or even potential food allergies.

    Finding Out How Food Impacts You

    Most people eat the same things so often and may not realize that certain foods are causing health consequences, as they’ve become accustomed to feeling lethargic and run down.

    With Whole30 you get the chance to see how these foods may have a negative impact on your body. You’ll also reset your taste buds, which may have become desensitized from processed and artificial “foods” and excess salt.

    This diet will help you regain your love of food… in a healthy way!

    3. The Mediterranean Diet

    The Mediterranean diet has been at the top of the list as a very effective diet for some time now.

    For people in countries like Italy or Greece, this has simply been a normal way of life–along with higher activity levels, sunlight exposure, proximity to water, and lower stress.

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    With the Mediterranean diet, the focus is on heart-healthy foods. It looks like this:

    • Fruits & vegetables
    • Whole grains
    • Legumes & nuts
    • Replacing butter with olive oil
    • Using herbs and spices instead of salt
    • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
    • Moderate amounts of red wine

    Help Your Heart & Overall Health With A Mediterranean Diet

    Information from the Mayo Clinic shows that this diet reduces heart disease and lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol. Studies involving 1.5 million people demonstrated that the Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality, along with overall mortality. [2]

    With all these benefits, this is definitely a “fad diet” that’s worth the hype.

    4. The Alkaline Diet

    The alkaline diet is about changing the foods you eat so that you put your body into an alkaline state and out of an acidic state. When your body is too far on the acidic side it can result in a condition called acidosis. This can lead to issues in your body such as upset stomach, breathing difficulties, headaches, weakness and, fatigue. In extreme cases, it can result in shock, coma, or death.

    The goal is to get your body in a more alkaline state, which results in overall better health. The focus is on including alkaline boosting foods such as fruits, nuts, vegetables, and legumes. You’re also wanting to reduce acidic foods such as low quality beef and poultry, dairy, eggs, grains, and alcohol.

    Pros & Cons With The Alkaline Diet

    The benefits that come from this way of eating is that reduction in inferior quality foods, processed items and alcohol. You may feel improved energy levels, mental clarity and even better joint health.

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    People also report weight loss but again this may come from the reduction in calories from junk and processed foods but this is not a bad thing at all.

    One con with this diet is that the pH value of the food you eat might not have an impact on blood pH, as your body is able to balance this pretty well on a day-to-day basis.

    Follow These Fads for Better Health and Wellness

    There can be a danger in categorizing things as a fad diet because fads come and go. People are always looking for the next big thing or a quick fix.

    The four examples above buck that status quo. These diets, though mainstream, actually can give you benefits and aren’t going to go away anytime soon because they work.

    What makes these diets special is that they boast real whole foods and the eliminate processed and manufactured junk.

    The Big Takeaway:

    Whatever way you choose to eat, the focus needs to be on whole unprocessed foods. Look for the cleanest, local and most natural things you can find for the benefit of your overall health and wellness. Your body and mind will thank you.

    Featured photo credit: Dan Gold via unsplash.com

    Reference

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