It may come as no surprise that leading a healthy lifestyle has physical benefits, but it bears repeating. It’s easy to overlook the impact of some of our most basic lifestyle choices on both our mental and physical health. But those everyday habits that you form around how you eat and sleep, whether you exercise and how you manage stress have mental and physical consequences.
Stress and problematic lifestyle choices often interact with each exacerbating the other. For many people healthy life choices go out the window when they are stressed. Often, when we’re overwhelmed or feeling under pressure, we try to relieve the stress by doing those things that, in the long run, contribute to physical and mental health problems. Smoking, eating unhealthy foods, failing to exercise and, as a result, gaining extra weight are common unhealthy behaviors.
Not feeling well, physically, because of weight gain or smoking can then contribute to increased life stress.
According to a study in the July 6 issue of Journal of the American Medical Association, “Adhering to a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, exercising regularly, having a low body weight and eating a healthy diet, appears to lower the risk of sudden cardiac death in women.”
Using data collected as part of the Nurses’ Health Study, Stephanie E. Chiuve, Sc.D., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues examined the association between a healthy lifestyle and risk of sudden cardiac death.
Women at low risk for all four lifestyle factors had a 92 percent lower risk of sudden cardiac death when compared with women at low risk for none of the four lifestyle factors.
Tips for making changes in unhealthy habits:
Photo by ANOLDENT, available under A Creative Commons attribution license.
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Best of Our Blogs: July 1, 2011 | World of Psychology (July 1, 2011)
Last reviewed: 1 Jul 2011