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5 Health Habits of the Most Successful People


cc licensed flickr photo shared by mikebaird

Fitness and motivational experts know that good health creates a foundation for professional and personal success. Healthy lifestyle and diet habits lead to increased attention and memory, a stronger immune system and more energy – all factors that contribute to achieving success. Numerous studies on health and well-being report that just a few basic habits can lay the groundwork for success in all areas of life, opening doors to increased productivity, creativity and self esteem. Five health habits embraced by successful people from all walks of life include:

Sleeping Well

Sleep is essential for alertness, memory and mood. Lack of sleep, or inconsistent sleep patterns, can cause problems with concentration and decision-making. The brain needs sleep time to process and store memories, so any long-term disruption in sleep affects cognition. The body repairs itself on a cellular level during sleep, too, so poor sleep can lead to metabolic and immune system problems. Although individual requirements for sleep vary, experts suggest getting no less than five hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, and establishing a consistent sleep routine.

Exercising Regularly

Exercise builds new brain cells and improves coordination and motor skills. Research suggests that a regular exercise regimen of at least 30 minutes every day increases the flow of oxygen to the brain and stimulates the immune system as well as the heart and lungs. Even walking can improve concentration and problem-solving skills, and stimulate memory and sensory processing.

Adding Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, healthy oils such as olive oil and nuts and seeds such as flaxseed can improve brain function, lower the risk of heart disease and improve joint flexibility. Some research suggests that consuming fish at least once a week, or taking fish oil capsules, and cooking with olive and vegetable oils can even improve mood, increase alertness and reduce the risk of depression.

Eating a Plant-Based Diet

The benefits of a diet rich in vegetables and fruits has been documented repeatedly. These foods contain the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a strong immune system, nourish the muscles and bones, and keep the brain producing new cells. A diet rich in plant foods keeps weight normal and the heart strong, providing the energy and strength needed to live a vital healthy life.

Establishing and Maintaining Social Connections

One habit shared by many successful people is strong social connections, gained through personal relationships, involvement with causes and movements, and belonging to a faith community with shared values. Studies suggest that those who feel a connection to things outside themselves have stronger immune systems, greater self-esteem and a more positive outlook.

Incorporating these healthy habits also means letting go of some unhealthy ones. A healthy diet has no room for fatty, over-sugared and processed foods; regular exercise means getting up off the couch and turning off the TV. Trading these bad health habits for positive ones that include good nutrition, movement, personal connections and adequate rest can create the conditions that lead to success in both personal and professional life.

Damon Ledford is an ER nurse and guest contributor at Best Nursing Masters, a site with resources and information, including the Master's in Nursing Guide.