Obesity is a major health concern in the United States with prevalence rates at 39.8% for adults and 18.5% for children. This means that millions of Americans—both young and old–have a higher risk of coronary heart disease, ischemic stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. For those who are physically inactive and have sedentary habits, one of the best ways to prevent obesity and obesity-related conditions is by making healthy lifestyle changes. It doesn’t have to be drastic; even light, regular exercise can help you live longer. If you’re serious about making a change, certain lifestyle changes can significantly boost your fitness levels and overall health.
How Current Lifestyle Affects Your Fitness and Health
Though biological factors like age and genetics certainly play a part, the way you live your life can also have a significant effect on your overall fitness and health. Your current weight can reflect the life you lead, specifically your eating habits, activity levels, work schedule, and sleeping patterns. Those with unhealthy diets, low activity levels, demanding schedules and sleep problems might see a higher number when they step on the weighing scale. This is echoed by a study’s findings that obesity and higher body weight are strongly associated with a sedentary lifestyle and physical inactivity. So, if you want to prevent obesity and obesity-related conditions, lifestyle modification with a focus on proper diet and exercise habits is one of the best ways to achieve better fitness and health.
Importance of Regular Exercise and a Healthy Diet
Regular exercise and a balanced diet are the hallmarks of a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to immediately go all-out once you commit to a lifestyle change. You can start slow and steady by doing light exercises such as brisk walking or jogging for 15 to 30 minutes each day, replacing junk food with healthier and more nutritious foods, and weaning yourself from bad habits like smoking and drinking. Eventually, you’ll start to see positive results with these healthy lifestyle changes.
Though it might not seem like much in the beginning, even slight weight loss can already lessen your likelihood of developing health complications associated with obesity. In one study, participants who were able to reduce their initial weight by 7% and engage in 150 minutes of physical activity per week were able to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%.
Similarly, a healthier diet and increased physical activity were able to lessen the prevalence of hypertension in participants with above-optimal blood pressure.
How to Sustain a Healthy Lifestyle
Once you’re able to establish a healthier routine, you can amp up your efforts in order to achieve a truly active and fit lifestyle. You just have to be ‘S.M.A.R.T’ to see long-lasting changes.
This means having specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound goals when it comes to exercise, diet and other lifestyle activities. As long as you have motivation, conviction and confidence, you’ll be able to stick to these healthy lifestyle changes and in turn, this will lessen your risk of obesity and obesity-related conditions.
Obesity is becoming more and more of a problem due to our modern lifestyle—one that’s static and very unhealthy. As a result, we are also seeing a rise in obesity-related conditions like cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
In order to lessen the likelihood of developing these conditions, it’s important to improve your overall fitness and health. The best way to do that is through healthy lifestyle changes such as regular exercise and a healthy diet. As long as you stick to these lifestyle changes, you’ll be able to look and feel healthier. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that you’re doing everything you can to boost your life expectancy.