Wellness and Prevention
Living a healthy lifestyle can reduce illness and improve the quality of your life. Maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help reduce your risk factors for heart disease and other illnesses such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. In addition to the physical benefits of diet and exercise, taking care of your body provides emotional benefits as well by reducing stress and improving your mood.
The Importance of Fitness and Exercise
Regular exercise is an important part of staying fit and healthy. Exercise requires energy and our bodies burn fat and glycogen as fuel, making you stronger and more lean. Aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, swimming, biking or hiking, strengthens your heart and lungs, while anaerobic exercise, such as strength training, builds muscle mass.
If you are 35 or older, have heart problems, high blood pressure, or other medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
The many benefits of exercise include:
- Strengthen your heart and lungs
- Help you control your weight
- Enhance self-confidence and self-esteem
- Improve your mood
- Reduce stress
- Improve the quality of your sleep
- Improve your concentration
- Reduce your risk factors for heart disease and other illnesses
- Boost your metabolism
- Increase bone strength and density
- Reduce body fat
Other activities, such as Yoga and stretching, can help improve your flexibility and prevent injury. Yoga is also a great form of relaxation for your mind and body. Yoga, meditation, and other recreational activities can help reduce stress in your life by making time for relaxing, fun activities with loved ones.
To help maintain a healthy weight, include plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, unprocessed grains, and a small amount of meat in your diet. Avoid dairy products that are high in fat and food containing saturated fat.
Controlling portion size is also an important part of proper nutrition. If you eat more calories than your body naturally burns, you may gain weight even if you are exercising regularly. When eating out at restaurants, it is helpful to monitor your calorie intake because foods at many restaurants are high in fat and include very large portion sizes. Keeping a food journal is also a great way to monitor your calorie intake.
Eating a balanced meal can give you the vitamins your body needs but in some cases vitamin supplements may be beneficial. Talk with your doctor to see if you should be taking any vitamin supplements. Vitamin supplements are available at most pharmacies.