Healthy Living means choosing a lifestyle that can help improve your health and well being. It means making positive choices about the way you live to enhance your personal, mental, and physical health. It's never too late to get healthy, so start to establish these 5 essential good habits and reap the benefits of a healthier, happier you!
Exercise is an important factor in staying healthy. The benefits of regular fitness activity range from preventing chronic conditions to improving self esteem, to reducing stress. Regular exercise can help to prevent high blood pressure and other cardiovascular diseases, which is a leading cause of death in this country. Exercise helps boost the good cholesterol known as high density lipoprotein (HDL) while lowering the bad cholesterol known as low density lipoprotein (LDL). This prevents plaque buildup in the arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke. People who exercise regularly maintain a healthy, normal body weight, which reduces one's health risk to other chronic conditions such as diabetes and gallbladder disease. Those who are obese or overweight will have interrupted breathing during sleep, a condition known as apnea. Regular exercise will help you sleep better and deeper. Having a good night's sleep will improve one's concentration, and leave you feeling energized.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is a natural, essential part of our life and it is something that is needed for our body to function optimally. Getting the right amount of sleep is important for our minds and bodies to function normally. Adults will generally need approximately 8 hours of sleep each night and not getting enough sleep can impact us in many ways. Chronic lack of sleep is a big problem in this country and can have serious consequences. It can decrease our performance, thinking, concentration and cause us to fall asleep at inappropriate and dangerous times. Lack of sleep can put us at risk for falling asleep while driving or increase our chances of workplace accidents, due to the decrease level of alertness. In addition, research has shown that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain. The body's organ systems and immune system repair and detoxify themselves when you are sleeping. The body is releasing wastes and repairing cellular damage. Getting enough sleep can provide countless benefits to our lives, including a strengthened immune system, increased memory and improved reaction time.
8 Glasses of Water a day
Water is our body's main chemical component, making up about 70 percent of our body weight. All of the systems in our body requires water. The body needs water to regulate our body temperature and helps to transport nutrients to all the organs. Water is needed to remove body wastes and it protects our joints and organs. In our daily life, water is lost through perspiration, urine, and exercise and it must be replenish for our body to function properly. Not having enough fluids can lead to headaches, dry skin, and dehydration. In severe cases, dehydration can be life threatening. Dehydration can also affect digestion and kidney functions as well as many other body processes such as circulation. Even mild dehydration, defined as 1 to 2 percent loss of our body weight can decrease our energy and make us tired. To provide the body with the fluids it needs and to avoid dehydration, it is recommended that adults consume eight glasses of water a day. You may need to modify the total amount of fluid needed depending on how active you are. If you exercise, you should drink another eight ounce of water for each 20 minute that you are active. Be sure to hydrate before, during, and after you exercise.
Eating right is essential to maintain a well balanced lifestyle. Our bodies need the right amount of nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to work properly. Good dietary habits can promote overall good health and reduce our risk for many chronic diseases. According to dietary guidelines, a healthy diet is one that consists of nutritious, well-balanced foods that are low in saturated fats (trans fat), cholesterol, salt, and high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Regardless of which eating plan you choose, the following guidelines are recommended:
- Saturated fat intake should be less than 10 percent of total daily calories
- Total fat intake should be less than 30 percent of total daily calories
- Polyunsaturated fat intake should be less than 10 percent of total daily calories
- Monosaturated fat intake should be only 10-15 percent of total daily calories
A certain amount of fat in our diet is good and necessary but overall, adults should try to limit consumption of fat to 20-35% percent of our total daily calories. Excessive intake of fat, especially trans and saturated fat, leads to increased risk for heart disease. Instead, choose foods that are high in fiber, calcium, vitamin A, C, and iron. It is recommended that you consume 100% of the Daily Value (DV) recommended for these vitamins and minerals. Also, be aware of chemicals in processed foods such as MSG, and other food additives. All of the food you eat affects the health of your body so it is important to eat a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups.
Vitamins are essential for our body to function efficiently. On a daily basis, they are required in small amounts to help the body use energy more effectively and for proper regulation of many other chemicals such as hormones and enzymes. Your eating and lifestyle habits as well as other factors that are out of your control will determine if vitamin supplements are needed as part of your overall dietary plan. Vitamin supplements are most appropriate when you do not receive the five total servings of fruits and vegetables daily that is needed by your body. Fruits and vegetables are important to our diet because they contain a lot of the vitamins that the body needs. Prolonged deficiencies in our vitamin intake can lead to problems with our metabolism, and can affect growth and cause reproductive problems. A weakened immune system also results from vitamin deficiencies.
Other groups of people who would benefit from taking vitamins are those who have restricted diets due to disease, older people who lack appetite, and those who have an increased need of vitamins because they are pregnant or undergoing certain medical treatments. It is important to remember that these pills are intended to supplement our diet, not to replace it. Adopting a healthy dietary plan with a wide variety of foods, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats will provide many of the vitamins your body needs.