Start Healthy Habits Now and Reap Benefits for 20 years

“What’s the point? It’s too late to change my lifestyle habits to make a difference.” These are the kinds of statements and excuses many people give for changing their diet and exercise habits. If you haven’t exercised in years, you’re overweight or obese, or you crave soda, sweets, and processed foods, you might think you’re destined to stay that way even though your health may be at risk. But it’s not true.

In a recent study, researchers found that healthy eating and exercise habits positively impact your health in the long run. Adopting healthy habits may even be able to reverse, control, or prevent chronic diseases. It’s best if you can develop and maintain healthy habits throughout your life, but even if you don’t get started until later, you can still improve your health.

In a study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise researchers followed about 500 middle-aged adults for 20 years. Each participant completed questionnaires throughout the study along with periodic health and fitness evaluations. Researchers found that the people who began the study with healthy lifestyle habits were less likely to develop chronic disease and other health problems later in life.

It’s a reminder that eating healthy foods, getting regular exercise, sleeping 7 to 8 hours a night, and managing stress in healthy ways are some of the best ways to protect your health. Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight if you need to will also protect your health. If you’re already making healthy choices, keep up the good work. If you need to make some changes, start today and you’ll be on your way to better health.