Living a healthy life is actually not at all complicated, unlike deciding which car or smartphone to buy where there are hundreds of options. To live a healthy life you only have to focus on four things – sleep, exercise, diet and social connection. And unlike car models or phone models that keep changing with time, these tenets don’t.
Let’s look at them in detail –
1. Nutrition or diet
Food is the fuel for your body. It is needed to keep the body alive and functional. Now imagine a car that has a petrol engine. What if one day you decided to pour diesel into its fuel tank instead of petrol. The car will start and move but it will stutter and eventually, its engine will breakdown.
It’s the same with the body. The body is engineered by nature to digest certain food, and you can even observe this through the indications that the body sends out- for example, the hangover after consuming too many drinks. Most of our diets have turned unhealthy in recent times, this is why we are also witnessing a spurt in lifestyle-related problems like obesity and diabetes.
What you can do?
Know your nutritional requirements and try to meet them. Eat all food items that promote energy and vitality in the body without draining your energy. These two things will suffice when it comes to a healthy diet.
Good sleep is one of the cornerstones of a healthy life. If your sleep is inadequate, then the moment you wake up a feeling of grogginess will take over. It could also make your mood bitter and drain energy during the day.
Sleep helps the body rebuild tissues and recover from the physical wear and tear of your daily routine. Thus if you aren’t sleeping enough, your body won’t be at its peak and vulnerable to break downs.
What you can do?
One of the things to improve your sleep is to eat your dinner at least 2-3 hours before you sleep. Also showering before sleep can also help. You need to set your phone aside before you hit the sack as the blue light emitted from a smartphone can mess around with your body’s natural sleep cycle.
Exercise is critical to a healthy life, which not many people realize. It helps you manage your weight and stay in shape. Not just that, exercising on a regular basis also can reduce the risk of age-related degenerative ailments like dementia and alzheimer's.
At the end of an exercise session, you feel happy and content because it causes the body to release endorphins in your brain. Endorphins are also known as the feel-good hormone, which induces happiness in you.
What you can do?
A simple thing you can do is to walk as much as you can. For example – get off the bus a little farther away from the bus stop and walk the rest of the way. You can also take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator. If you can give dedicated time to exercise then you should at least aim for 30 minutes of exercise every day. You can take your pick from running, weight lifting, yoga, Pilates and many more.
4. Social connection
By social connection, we don’t mean social media. In fact, it has been observed that social media has made us more disconnected from the world. People hardly have the time to spend with their families and friends anymore.
A lot of people these days complain of loneliness and depression – lack of social connection is one of the causes. Doctors have also observed that a person with strong social connections also tends to have a strong immune system, low anxiety and longer life span.
What you can do?
While at social gatherings, avoid using your phone unless necessary. Interact with strangers around you – this will also reduce the fear of public speaking. Go out with your friends and family more often.
You can live a healthy and happy life if you adhere to these guidelines and follow them diligently.
Sleep is an essential part of a child's growth and development journey. Sleep helps the child develop both physically and mentally. Thus it is important for every child to develop good sleeping habits. The amount of sleep a child requires varies from child to child and according to their age.
Here's a broad guideline for how much sleep your child should be getting depending on their age.
Less than a year
The confusion between day and night ends when the baby is about 4 months old. This is when you will notice regular sleep patterns emerging. By the time they are 6 months old, most infants have a regular sleep and wake cycle. At this age, your baby needs at least 15 hours of sleep a day. The goal here is to establish healthy sleeping habits.
1-3 year old
After their first birthday, toddlers tend to reduce their number of daytime naps. But they still require 11-14 hours of sleep a day. Let your child take a 1-3 hour afternoon nap and put them to bed early so that they can get a full night's sleep.
3-6 year old
Naps gradually become shorter as the child grows up. These pre-schoolers need 10-13 hours of sleep a day. At this age, it is a good idea to encourage your child to fall asleep on their own. They should no longer need an adult to put them to sleep. They should also learn to fall back asleep on their own if they wake up in the middle of the night.
7-12 year old
A pre-teen needs 10-11 hours of sleep a day but the average sleep they get is about 9 hours. The challenge at this age is to not allow bedtime to get very late. Once they start going to school, children have a fixed time to wake up. Thus, a late bedtime will give them inadequate sleep.
12-18 year old
Teenagers require 8-9 hours of sleep a day. In no way should they get less than 7 hours of sleep. It is a good idea to keep the television and computer out of their bedroom. Also, avoid letting them have caffeinated drinks before sleeping.
Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to a number of health complications as well as mental disorders such as ADHD and cognitive problems. Thus it is important for your child to not only follow a regular sleep schedule but also to have restful sleep.
Diabetes is the condition where the blood glucose levels in your body tend to be quite high and can have an adverse effect on many of the organs in your body. The eyes are no exception and can be quite adversely affected by diabetes as well. Let's look at the various problems you could face if you have diabetes.
1. Blurry vision: Diabetes can cause the lens in the eye to swell and this will affect the way you see. Because of the increased lens size, the eyes have difficulty in focusing on objects resulting in blurry vision. You will have to get your blood sugar levels back to normal and only then the vision will begin to correct itself. This will, however, take time to happen.
2. Cataract: Blurry vision for an extended period of time which progressively gets worse can be a symptom of cataract. Although cataracts can develop even in non-diabetic persons, they tend to accelerate and happen earlier in adults who have diabetes. Cataracts are usually fixed with surgery where the natural lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
3. Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic Retinopathy and Retinal Detachment are one of the leading causes of blindness in adults who suffer from diabetes. The retina is a very important part of the eye which allows us to see the images by capturing light and then sending them to the brain via optic nerve. With diabetic retinopathy, the smaller blood vessels in your retina may get damaged and thus end up causing damage to your vision. This can be of three types:
a. Proliferative Retinopathy: In this condition very small blood vessels grow from the surface of the retina. The retina is the film at the back of your eye, and the tiny blood vessels are capillaries. These growing blood vessels are very delicate and bleed easily.
If you have had diabetes for years, your retina may develop this condition. As the retina is damaged by diabetes, the diseased retina releases special growth chemicals. These chemicals make tiny blood vessels grow: these are called 'new blood vessels'.
b. Background Retinopathy: Background or nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the earliest stage of diabetic retinopathy. With this condition, damaged blood vessels in the retina begin to leak extra fluid and small amounts of blood into the eye
c. Maculopathy: The macula is the central area of your retina. It is responsible for all your sharp vision, such as used for watching TV or reading. It can become damaged in diabetes, with leaks developing (oedema).
4. Glaucoma: This is a condition where fluids build up inside the eye and it results in increase in pressure within it. This may damage the blood vessels within the eye and cause vision changes. Problems within the eye may not be detected until you experience vision loss. Some of the symptoms of glaucoma may include:
1. Blurry vision
2. Watering from Eyes
3. Difficulty in vision
4. Pain in the eyes
5. Lights appear to have halos
Blurry vision also tends to go away slowly once the level of blood glucose is controlled either via medicines or by diet changes. However, glaucoma or diabetic retinopathy may require a range of medicines to ease the pressure on the eye or to discharge fluid build-up. If none of these works, then relevant surgery may be required to resolve the problems.
Wake up to find too many strands of hair on your pillow can be a nightmare for anyone. Losing an average of 50 strands of hair a day is a normal part of the hair cycle. However, losing more hair than that could be a problem. Hair fall can be caused by a number of reasons including old age, hormonal imbalances, stress etc. Hair fall can be treated in most cases as long as the trigger has first been identified. This can be done with the help of lab tests. Some of the common reasons for hair fall are:
Dry skin is a condition caused by the lack of moisture in the skin. Fine lines and wrinkles are just some of the conditions which may be caused due to dry skin. Dry skin can also be very uncomfortable. The condition is mostly caused by environmental factors such as exposure to harsh weather conditions or getting soaked in hot water.
People at risk
People who are older than 40 years tend to be more at risk of dry skin than people who are younger than 40.
As mentioned earlier, weather conditions play a pivotal role in causing dry skin. Therefore, people who live in areas where the climate is either very hot or very cold tend to get dry skin more often than people who live in temperate climates. Low humidity is another factor which causes dry skin.
Some professions, such as nursing or hairstyling requires frequent usage of hot water all through the day.
Swimming is one of the major causes of dry skin. This is especially true in pools which have chlorine. This is because chlorine increases the itchiness of your skin.
1. Lifestyle changes
Usually, lifestyle changes such as avoiding long, hot showers and putting moisturizers are good enough to make sure that dry skin goes away.
2. Lactic acid
Creams with lactic acid and urea can be prescribed by your doctor if the dryness of your skin does not go away with just moisturizers. These creams usually tend to be over-the-counter medications.
4. Wet dressing
Wet dressings are given only when dermatitis has set in. These are mostly to help prevent infection.
Oiling your body, especially with fish or flaxseed oil is especially crucial in making sure that your body does not succumb to dry skin.
6. Hand sanitizer
Normal hand sanitizers create a drying feeling on your hand. However, dermatologist-recommended hydrating hand sanitizers allow your hands to keep their moisture.
Therefore, when you are using hand sanitizers, it is advisable to try to use hydrating ones.