How to Stay Healthy

Healthy is a lifestyle that supports physical, emotional and mental well-being. It includes regular exercise; eating a balanced diet; limiting screen time; getting adequate sleep and rest; drinking alcohol in moderation or not at all; avoiding smoking and taking nonessential drugs; and reducing stress.

Each person defines what health means for them. For some, it may be maintaining a good weight or avoiding foods that cause them to feel bad. For others, it may mean addressing underlying mental or emotional issues. Ultimately, it is the balance of all of these factors that determines our overall state of wellness.

Getting and staying healthy requires a lot of effort. It can be difficult to make healthy choices when there are so many other things competing for our attention. That is why it’s important to set aside time in your daily routine to make healthy choices.

One way to do that is by making food a priority, even if it doesn’t always feel like that. Food is one of the most important pieces to a well-rounded life. It provides the nutrients that our bodies and minds need to function properly.

It is also a great way to improve mood and reduce anxiety. A healthy diet is a great way to lower your stress level because it can help you manage cravings and feelings of hunger. Choosing whole, nutrient-dense foods—like vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and fatty fish—can help you keep your mind clear and your body feeling strong. It is also helpful to avoid high-calorie, ultra-processed foods and beverages, such as candy, soda, ice cream, and processed meats.

When it comes to sleep, a good night’s rest is essential for physical and mental health. A lack of sleep can cause serious problems, from lowered memory and attention to mood swings and depression. To get the best sleep possible, you can try relaxing activities like reading, listening to music or meditation, and practicing mindfulness.

4-H programs help youth learn skills and attitudes that lead to healthy living, which can be defined as a balanced mix of physical, mental and emotional well-being. It is the responsibility of families, schools and communities to work together to provide a positive environment that supports youth in developing these skills and confidence to be healthy, resilient and capable adults.

To help you stay healthy all year long, we are featuring research highlights and tips related to our annual categories of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Sleep. This month, we’ll take a look at the latest findings on ultra-processed foods and mental health, turning up the tunes and moving with Zumba, and evidence that different sleep “chronotypes” can impact our wellbeing. Here’s to a happy, healthy and mindful 2024!