Living a Healthy Lifestyle: What Does it Mean?

What does it mean to live a healthy lifestyle? Ask 50 people and you're likely to get 50 different answers. The truth is, there is no single way to be healthy. A healthy lifestyle simply means doing things that make you happy and feel good. Eating a well-balanced, low-fat diet with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains is a great place to start.

Switching from some refined grains to whole grains can also reduce the risk of disease. A review of 45 studies concluded that eating 90 grams (or three 30-gram servings) of whole grains a day reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by 22 percent, coronary heart disease by 19 percent, and cancer by 15 percent. Physical activity is also important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Barcelona's bike sharing program reduces carbon dioxide emissions by about 10,000 tons every year, showing that even small changes can have a big impact.

The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act also plays an important role in promoting healthy living. Smoking has been linked to numerous health problems, so avoiding it is key to living a healthy lifestyle.

Finally, moderate alcohol consumption can also be part of a healthy lifestyle. In an observational study of nearly 200,000 adults, those who ate the most whole grains had a 29 percent lower rate of type 2 diabetes than those who ate the least. Basic healthy habits are related to living a longer life. If, at age 50, you've never smoked, maintain a healthy weight, are physically active, eat a healthy diet, and maintain moderate alcohol consumption, you could live up to 14 more years. Making even some of these changes could extend its lifespan.