How Does Lifestyle Affect Your Long-Term Health?
Lifestyle is a huge contributing factor to both your current level of health as well as your health down the road. While many people don’t think too far into the future when it comes to health, or think “It wouldn’t happen to me” when it comes to serious health issues, it’s actually really important to set yourself up for the future with the choices you make today.
Everything you do from the moment you are born will have an impact on your health. Of course, uncontrollable factors such as genetics play a role in the development of certain chronic diseases – but even so, genetics are only a small part of the larger puzzle. So how does lifestyle affect your long-term health?
Lifestyle factors that can affect health
In the health world, “lifestyle” is more of a blanket term to describe various aspects of how you live and take care of yourself. There are various components of your lifestyle that will play a role in the way your health progresses as you age. Those factors include:
What you put into your body matters. Nutrients are a huge part of your overall health, and if your body doesn’t get enough of what it needs, things begin to malfunction. While eating junk food now and again likely won’t have that big of an impact, if you’re continuously eating food that isn’t good for you, your overall health will suffer – both now and in the long term.
If you’ve heard the term “sitting is the new smoking”, you likely know just how important it is to move your body. Exercise and movement are vital to keep organs, muscles, tissues, and even your mind healthy.
Certain environmental factors contributing to your lifestyle will play a role in how healthy you are over time. Where you live, how you live, and what pollutants you’re exposed to will all play their own part in your health in the long term.
Certain habits you form when growing up or in early adulthood will affect your health. Those could include bad habits such as excessive alcohol use or smoking, or good ones such as a regular exercise routine.
Stress can be a huge health hindrance because of the way excessive and prolonged levels of stress affect your body. A larger component of your health than you might think is affected by your ability to deal with the stressors you face in your life.
The relationships you form with people can influence your mental and physical health. Strong, consistent relationships will do you good, whereas bad ones can negatively affect you in the long term.
The quality and amount of sleep you get on a regular basis is crucial to your overall health. Poor sleep hygiene can negatively affect many aspects of your health.
What are the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle?
According to the World Health Organization, lifestyle factors account for up to 60% of all factors when it comes to long-term health issues. When a person lives an overall unhealthy lifestyle, they are doing their health a huge disservice, both now and into the future.
Studies have shown that unhealthy lifestyles can lead to the onset of many chronic diseases such as:
- Metabolic diseases
- Joint and skeletal problems
- Cardiovascular disease
- Overweight or obesity
- Mental health issues
To break it down further, you can look at each specific disease and what lifestyle factors play a role in their development. Cardiovascular disease, for example, can be brought on by many things such as a lack of exercise, a poor diet, being overweight, and smoking or excessive alcohol use.
A lack of good quality sleep has been associated with the onset of disease such as diabetes, obesity, and mental health disorders such as depression. Diet is a huge factor when it comes to long-term health and has been closely associated with mental health issues, overweight or obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and issues with cognition and brain function.
As you can see, your lifestyle is a key influence on the way your health progresses over time. Because of how big a role it plays, many diseases can be prevented if you choose a healthy lifestyle over an unhealthy one.
What are the effects of a healthy lifestyle?
There are many positives associated with treating your body with care by feeding it the right things, avoiding the wrong things, and doing all that you can to live a healthy lifestyle. Some benefits you can enjoy from leading a healthy lifestyle over the long-term include:
- A stronger and more well-equipped immune system: A healthy lifestyle will keep your immune system strong and prevent you from getting sick often or developing certain chronic diseases.
- Living longer: Those who lead a healthy lifestyle can dramatically lower their risk of dying from certain diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and other causes.
- Energy and endurance maintenance: Being healthy and active will help you keep your body and mind strong, but it will also help you on a cellular level. Because of this, your body will be energized a lot longer as you age than if you were living a sedentary lifestyle.
- Better overall mood: As mentioned above, an unhealthy lifestyle can contribute to the development of mood disorders. When you live healthily, you generally feel better overall.
While it’s not easy to live 100% healthily all the time, it is important for your long-term health that you pay attention to your lifestyle habits and make changes where necessary now. Your future self will thank you.