Making small adjustments to your lifestyle can go a long way towards managing chronic disease. Studies show that healthy lifestyle habits can slow and even reverse the damage from certain chronic conditions including diabetes, obesity, hypertension, heart disease, and high cholesterol. With the help of online guides and educational resources like the Lifestyle Medicine Summit, anyone can learn how to take control of their health through simple, daily actions. Let’s explore some practical health habits to get you started!
Chronic stress has an incredibly damaging effect on our whole-body health. While short bouts of acute stress are normal and natural, feeling stressed for days on end can contribute to high blood pressure, insomnia, inflammation, muscle tension, and other symptoms of chronic disease. Work is one of the most common sources of chronic stress. If your job is starting to wear on your mind and body, it might be time for a career change. It’s always possible to go back to school and earn a degree that will open new doors for you! Consider enrolling in an online degree program for a flexible and stress-free university experience.
Diet plays an important role in chronic disease management. However, maintaining a healthy diet isn’t easy for many of us, especially when unhealthy options are so convenient and affordable. Sticking to a healthy meal plan is even more challenging when you try to follow a fad diet. Trendy diets can lure you in with grandiose claims of renewed health and weight loss, but they’re so strict and restrictive that they’re nearly impossible to maintain for the long term.
Don’t worry about deciphering conflicting dietary theories and committing to a single dietary dogma. Keep it simple and focus on a few main things—eating plenty of vegetables, avoiding highly processed foods, and minimizing your sugar intake.
Like diet, there are a number of conflicting beliefs regarding the best way to exercise. Don’t overthink it! The most important thing is that you get moving in one shape or form. Regular exercise can improve a number of chronic conditions, enhance your mood, boost your energy, alleviate pain, and help you sleep better!
Explore different types of exercise until you find a few that you enjoy. Looking for somewhere to start? Healthline suggests a number of fun cardio exercise options. Try Pilates, yoga, hiking, biking, swimming, dancing, boxing, or organized sports. When you find an exercise you like, you’ll have a much easier time sticking with it!
Getting enough high-quality sleep can be tough when you’re suffering from chronic disease. However, sleep plays a vital role in fighting chronic illnesses and facilitating the process of healing throughout the body and brain. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to enjoy more restorative sleep without turning to prescription medications. Your behaviors during the day and around bedtime have a significant impact on your ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling rested in the morning.
The AASM shares some tips to help you develop healthy sleep habits by practicing good sleep hygiene. Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool. Limit your exposure to bright light—including electronics—in the hours before bed. And most importantly, stick to a consistent sleep schedule to maintain the timing of your body’s internal clock. This will make it easier to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning!
It’s easy to feel unhealthy when you’re facing a chronic illness like diabetes. The good news is that there are steps you can take to keep yourself in top shape, and possibly even eliminate some of your symptoms altogether. Eat clean, exercise, get enough sleep, and keep your stress under control. You’ll feel better before you know it!
Do you want to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle? The Lifestyle Medicine Summit is a gathering of health professionals who are passionate about lifestyle medicine. Check it out here.