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While it may seem obvious that living a healthy lifestyle is better than the alternative, those not-so-great lifestyle choices can be awfully tempting. Therefore, when you’re thinking about grabbing another helping of potato chips or sitting on the couch some more instead of going for a run, it can be helpful to remind yourself of the benefits of the healthier choice. Below are five benefits you can keep in mind the next time you’re deciding between chocolate cake or fruit for dessert.

It’s also important to remember that this is not an all-or-nothing proposition. No one chooses the broccoli over the brownie or bike riding over beer with friends 100% of the time. However, even just making small changes in your habits can make a big difference over time.

Lower Risk of Disease

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One of the primary benefits of a healthy lifestyle is that you could be less likely to develop a number of diseases. While environmental factors and your genetic makeup can play a part in whether you develop high blood pressure, many types of cancer and a number of other conditions, making the right nutritional choices, exercising and getting enough sleep can reduce the likelihood of disease. Furthermore, it can also mean that if you do get a serious disease or even come down with something mild, your immune system could be in a better position to fight it.

A healthy lifestyle can also help with mental illness. In particular, it can reduce depression and anxiety. Professionals such as your physician, a dietician and a physical trainer can all help you determine ways to improve your eating habits and your fitness. It is important to keep in mind that even small amounts of activity or shifts in eating habits can lead to positive improvement. You don’t have to run a marathon or swear off sugar forever. Just walking more or reaching for carrot sticks instead of cake can help.

Cheaper Insurance

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A healthier lifestyle often means paying less for life insurance premiums. Some companies will offer lower prices for certain behaviors. However, on top of that, since nutritious food, exercise and plenty of sleep means a higher probability of good health, you will also pay less if you have fewer risk factors or conditions. While your life insurance premiums will be cheaper, the policy itself can still have a substantial value if you decide to sell it as you get older.

If you are considering this, you can estimate its cash value from Mason Finance in seconds. You may also pay less for your health insurance if you are a non-smoker or have other behaviors that reduce your risk of getting sick. Even some types of car insurance can be cheaper if you do not engage in high-risk behaviors while behind the wheel.

More Energy

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People often think that getting less sleep and working longer hours will make them more productive. In fact, taking the time to get a good night’s sleep, which is an important component of healthy living, along with exercising regularly and eating nutritious foods are all ways to create more energy and get more done. You may be surprised to find that when you cut back on junk food and start to eat more things like vegetables and lean meats that your stamina is much higher.

While there’s nothing wrong with a cup of coffee or tea, leaning too heavily on caffeinated beverages to keep going or drinking too many specialty coffees that are high in sugar can actually reduce your energy because you tend to crash after the initial burst of energy. Once you start to get enough sleep, eat better and exercise, you’ll create a great feedback loop in which you are less likely to rely on sugar or grab the nearest processed food because you have more energy. Many people also find that when they become more active, it becomes easier for them to make the right food choices because they do not want to waste all of that effort.

Improved Senior Years

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The older you get, the more important it becomes to pay attention to getting enough sleep, physical activity and the right food choices. The reason is that when you are younger, you can bounce back more quickly from unhealthy choices. In your 20s, you might be able to drink too much alcohol and still get up the next day and run a 5K without any training. In your 50s, you probably won’t make it out of bed the next morning, and even if you do, you are unlikely to be able to jump into a demanding physical activity if you have been sedentary.

The good news is that whatever your age, if you start making changes today, it will make a difference. You can age with greater strength, flexibility and even mental acuity if you make an effort to take care of yourself, and because your risk of illness is lower, you also may be able to look forward to a longer life. There is a stereotype of older adults as being frail or having lower cognitive capacity. In fact, people in their 60s, 70s and beyond still run, play sports, take on cognitively demanding jobs and lead independent lives. What your senior years look like can be significantly affected by making good choices.

Better for the Environment

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Healthy living is not just good for you. It is better for the rest of the world as well. If you go to work and run your errands on foot or on a bicycle, you get a great workout and one less car gets driven. There is also an environmental cost to manufacturing highly processed food, such as sweet cereals, various types of potato chips and other salty snacks, and processed meats.

While the issues around what food choices and types of packaging cause the most damage to the environment are both complex and controversial, many highly processed foods have little or no nutritional value and create a lot of waste. Saving these types of things for special occasions reduces some of this harm. You may even find that after you have been eating less processed food for a while, you have lost your taste for these items.

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