Align Your Surroundings with Longevity
From the beginning, the Habits of Health were designed around longevity. The goal was not simply to reach a healthy weight but rather to unlock more years of vibrant, active living. As you master your Habits of Healthy Eating and Motion, you should also be thinking about the bigger picture of your health and addressing other Habits of Health as well.
Habits of a Healthy Environment are one of your key opportunities for longevity. In the context of optimal health, we use Habits of a Healthy Environment to encompass all of the external influences on your health, including the physical objects that you surround yourself with and the people who influence you as well. These elements may be passive (exerting influence on you without requiring an active choice on your part), but their impact on your health can still be powerful.
For example, 9.19 million people died of pollution-related illness or complications in 2015. That’s a worldwide figure, so those numbers include individuals living in countries with poor pollution or environmental controls, but even well-developed areas are not immune.
Here are some simple ways that you can maximize your healthy environment:
- Stay up to date on changing air and water filters in your home. These small practices can dramatically improve air and water quality for you and your family, which means less exposure to harmful chemicals.
- Exercise in clean, healthy places. Many people pick up jogging but do it on busy streets, inhaling fumes and dirt from passing traffic as they work on their fitness. Avoid working out in environments where emissions are high.
- Spend more time in nature. A wealth of studies link spending time in greenspaces with improvements in health. Even if you live in an urban area, try to regularly visit local parks.
- Don’t forget to address noise pollution. Consistent exposure to loud sounds, such as traffic noise, can disturb your sleep and potentially contribute to hypertension or a weakened immune system. Grab a pair of ear plugs!
- Check your home for other potential problems as well. A small leak can create problems with mold, and retesting your home for radon is wise (especially if you change living arrangements or have not tested in a while).
Since Habits of a Healthy Environment are passive, you can often reap the rewards of a healthy choice for a long period without having to actively make that choice again. The downside, however, is you can quickly forget or overlook these opportunities in the shuffle of your busy life. If you need to, set reminders for yourself in your personal calendar. These are small steps, but they move you closer to optimal health!