Diet and Exercise to Stay Healthy
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Good exercise and diet habits are key aspects not only in appearance but in living long, healthy lives. One may look fabulous, both fit and healthy while being just as unhealthy as an obese person. The exact opposite is true, also. A person may be a little overweight but have a healthy heart and diet. The only way to find out if one is eating healthy and getting the proper amounts and types of exercise is by looking at their diet and activity level.
It is important to first start with a good eating plan. Age, health issues, and level of physical activity are just a few factors that should be taken into consideration when writing a meal plan for a person. For example, a young, healthy, and active person can eat more freely than an older person with high cholesterol who does not get much physical activity. On average, a person should try to eat 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 servings of fruits, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-3 servings of dairy, 2-3 servings of meat, and consume fats and sugars sparingly each day. One should shoot for this range until he/she can have an eating plan written for them.
Diet is just as big of a part of your health as exercising, that’s why it is so crucial to eat well balanced healthy meals. This requires knowing what you are eating; you can obtain this by the dietary label present on the back of the food when you buy it in the grocery store. “Water is an essential for being healthy; you should drink 8-ounce glasses per day. Most people do not have a well-balanced diet like they should, but instead, have a diet high in fat and are not consuming enough fiber” (Gebhardt, 72).
The best way to start towards a healthy diet is to start consuming more natural whole foods, such as fruit, vegetables, bread, cereals, potatoes, and pasta. You have six different food groups one of which would be a good idea to eliminate completely from your diet, the sweets. The other five groups which you need to focus on are the dairy group, meat group, vegetable group, fruit group, and the bread group. It is a good idea to try and eat a little from each of these groups with each meal. Also keep in mind that you need to be paying attention to the amount of protein, fiber, salt, vitamins, and minerals which you consume as well. These are a little bit harder to keep track of and have always caused more confusion.
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Diet is not the only thing that should be factored into a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is just as important as a nutritious diet. There are many benefits of physical activity besides the obvious advantage of having a better physical appearance. Exercise can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression and improve one's mood and feelings of well-being. Besides helping you look great it helps you feel great, too. There are different types of exercises which give different results. Strength training, such as lifting weights, produces dramatic differences in physical appearance and raises one's metabolic rate. It also improves athletic performance and builds stronger bones. Cardiovascular training builds a powerful heart and strong lungs. It helps prevent hypertension, obesity, heart disease, and Type Two diabetes.
Exercise is not all about physical looks, it also has to do a lot with your actual health and well being. For example, many overweight people tend to be more susceptible to higher cholesterol and blood pressure. Well, by working out and adding an exercise routine into your normal everyday life, you can help to decrease risk factors drastically. It is said that over 60% of American grown-ups are on the heavier side, or overweight. Only about 15% actually engage in the slightest amount of exercise.
“Obesity alone makes a person very vulnerable to heart disease, but also susceptible to an additional 65% chance of having at least one added risk for heart disease, diabetes and or stroke and a 50% possibility of having two or more of these as possible risk factors. Some other possible risks are high blood pressure, high blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats that are not all curable with insulin and are considered the Metabolic Syndrome” (Lissner, 886-92). This becomes an even bigger risk when areas of fat accumulate around a person’s middle area and the organs in which the fat surrounds. Basically, people become obese by consuming more calories than should be consumed for a whole day and not using up that energy that has been consumed in calories by exerting it in a physical manner such as exercise. Some people have a fast metabolism which would be the people you see eating whatever they want and still look fit or have the average metabolism where you are what you eat, which makes it a lot harder to stay fit and lean.
Exercise has also had a tremendous effect on the aging process of the body. Apparently, the increase in exercise has an enormous effect on nerve cell health and with how long those cells are alive. By maintaining these healthy cells it helps to promote the production of antioxidants which help to protect cells from damage, this is the leading cause of aging. No matter what your age is you can still benefit from exercise not only mentally but also help to prolong your ability to function later on in life. But most importantly “you will be reducing the chance of having a stroke and clotting which can result in deep vein thrombosis and death, which is more critical as we age” (Tremblay, 814-18).
Keeping up a regular cardio routine is a great way to get in shape and also it helps benefit you in various prolonging ways. It is still a good idea to have weight lifting as a part of your routine too. There are six different muscle groups that you can work on with weights. You have arms, back, chest, shoulders, legs, and then abs. You want to try and keep them all worked out pretty evenly. Keeping it switched up and by not concentrating on let's just say bench press, you keep your body guessing and keep it from getting immune to the exercise. Instead of just doing bench press all the time you can switch it up to one week doing dumbbells, maybe cables the next, or maybe even just doing flat out push ups. Then you have the machine style workout which you can substitute in one week. Also, you can switch the focus point up, maybe you want to concentrate on your upper chest this week and lower or mid chest the following week. With this type of confusion, your muscles will grow much stronger and you will notice much more of an improvement.
Exercise and diet are key factors in staying physically and mentally healthy. It is a known fact that if you look great and feel great you will live a longer and happier life. It is important to take one's age, health, and current physical activity level into consideration when writing an exercise and diet plan. There are many people out there, such as nutritionists, personal trainers, and even personal doctors, who can help develop a diet and exercise plan that is right for him/her. There are so many facilities out there to help keep you alive and healthy.
- Gebhardt, S.E., Matthews, R.H. (2006). Nutrition Value of Foods, United States Department of Agriculture, Human Nutrition Information Service, Home and Garden Bulletin Number 72.
- Lissner L., Levitsky D.A., Strupp B.J., Kalkwarf H.J., Roe D.A. (2005). Dietary fat and the regulation of energy intake in human subjects. Am J Clin Nutr, 46, 886-892.
- Tremblay, A., Simoneau, J., Bouchard, C. (2004). The impact of Exercise Intensity on Body Fatness and Skeletal Muscle Metabolism. Metabolism. 43(7): 814-818.
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