Healthy eating and regular exercise are essential for preventing chronic diseases like diabetes and promoting longevity.  It can be easy to let everyday distractions take precedence over your health, but don’t ignore the staggering statistics regarding a healthy diet and exercise. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent premature deaths. Here are a few healthy eating and exercise habits that you should adopt during American Diabetes Month to promote longevity.

Eat a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet can do wonders for your overall health and help you live longer. It can decrease your chances of developing dangerous risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity that can lead to serious diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Try to plan well-balanced meals ahead of time. (This tip can reduce the likelihood that you will exasperatedly order a pizza after standing in front of the refrigerator with no idea what to prepare.) The key is balancing your diet with a healthy selection of whole grains, fiber, lean meats, and low-fat foods. When meal-planning, follow these five guidelines:

  • Eat at least five servings of fruit and vegetables everyday, and more than that if possible.  
  • Make sure at least half of the grains you eat are whole grain.
  • Opt for low-fat meats like fish, poultry, and lean beef.
  • Avoid refined foods with excessive amounts of sugar, sodium, and fat.
  • Use olive oil and vegetable oils whenever possible, and avoid trans fats completely.

Get Your Body Moving

Combine these healthy eating habits with regular physical activity. The CDC recommends that adults should incorporate two and half hours to five hours of aerobic exercise and at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities into their weekly routines. With this small time commitment, you gain benefits like weight loss, a lowered risk of high blood pressure and stroke, and improved mental health.

You don’t have to devote large chunks of your day to exercise in order to achieve these benefits. Even short spurts of physical activity are great for you, and many health benefits begin right after you exercise. Set aside smaller amounts of time for exercise if that works best for your schedule.

Another great habit is to reduce the amount of time you sit. If your work requires you to sit at a desk, try to take small breaks throughout the day. Walk up and down a flight of stairs or take a lap around the block. Maybe grab a coworker or two! The most important thing to remember is that any amount of physical activity is better than no physical activity at all.

Make exercise and healthy eating a priority in your daily life. Your body will thank you for taking these steps to prevent and manage disease.