My Goal to Be Healthier

April 23, 2021

I firmly believe that striving for a healthier lifestyle is crucial for our professional and personal relationships, as well as for our overall well-being in this unpredictable world.

2021 04 24

Working hard to uphold our values is not about seeking external validation; rather, we strive for a healthier life because our circumstances seem to demand it.

Engaging in regular exercise not only improves our physical health but also enhances our cognitive function. Increased blood flow in the brain, particularly in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, enhances our memory.

To achieve this, we should set small, manageable goals, such as taking 10,000 steps per day, exercising three days a week, and sleeping for seven hours each night. In addition to exercise, mindfulness, nutritious eating, and adequate sleep contribute to our overall health.

Chemical messengers like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline regulate bodily functions and impact our cognitive behavior. Exercise has been proven to improve mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. In fact, research suggests that aerobic exercise can be as effective as antidepressants in treating depression.

Moreover, a daily 20-minute walk can reduce the risk of stroke by over 57%. Exercise not only serves as a short-term stress relief but also provides long-term protection against the harmful effects of stress. Physical activities such as running, walking, or swimming are excellent ways to flush the stress hormone cortisol from our system.

Prioritizing personal health can also inspire meaningful, long-term change in our lives. If we believe that certain actions will improve our health, we should take the initiative to adopt them. Improved health can lead to increased productivity at work, better study habits, and a more positive social life.

Being around healthy individuals encourages us to adopt better habits ourselves. True friendships should promote mutual well-being, rather than fostering self-pity or toxic behavior.

Embracing a healthier lifestyle can have a positive ripple effect on those around us. It allows us to be more effective in our roles without compromising our health. Additionally, combating social isolation is vital; the risks associated with loneliness can be as severe as those linked to smoking.

To implement these changes, planning is key. For instance, I schedule a one-hour jog at 6 a.m. and an hour of swimming at 7 p.m. each day. Activities like cycling, kayaking, or hiking can replace screen time during weekends.

Maintaining a balanced diet is another cornerstone of a healthier lifestyle. Avoid fast food and opt for meals rich in fish and vegetables. Eating at consistent times and limiting sugar intake are also essential. A well-stocked kitchen with healthy options can make nutritious eating easier and more convenient.

Obstacles such as laziness or busy schedules can deter us from our health goals. To counteract this, we can minimize the effort needed to begin an exercise routine by, for example, keeping a gym bag at work or choosing exercise venues close to home.

Another challenge is the allure of fast food, particularly when it’s conveniently available. To resist this temptation, it helps to prepare healthy meals at home. Limiting dining out to once a week is a balanced approach.

Monitoring progress is possible through smartphone apps that track daily steps, aiming for an average of 10,000 steps a day. I plan to achieve this goal by my 31st birthday to keep myself motivated. Additionally, keeping track of physical metrics like waist size and weight can provide an objective measure of success.

Listening to podcasts during exercise or allowing occasional indulgences can make the journey more enjoyable. Advanced wearables can further assist in tracking health metrics like heart rate and blood pressure.

Staying committed and tracking metrics through apps like Google Health helps in gauging our progress without making the process cumbersome. After all, the journey to a healthier life is a marathon, not a sprint.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn