Diet and Exercise
Developing a healthy diet and regular exercise regimen are equally important. Many people only consider improving their diet and exercise routine when they want to lose weight. Diet and exercise, however, should not be forgotten once weight loss goals are achieved since they are important health factors even in individuals who are at an optimal weight.
People become overweight when they consume more calories than they expend. To lose weight, the number of calories consumed needs to be reduced. This can be accomplished in many ways but a weight-loss diet usually necessitates avoiding or limiting high calorie foods, such as fatty foods and foods high in sugar, and limiting or avoiding alcoholic consumption. Portion size for high calorie foods should be reduced and the consumption of high fiber foods, such as fruits and vegetables, increased.
Physical activity in the form of regular exercise will also assist in weight loss.
Benefits of Diet and Exercise
In addition to maintaining a healthy weight, those who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet enjoy many health benefits.
Decreased Risk of Heart Disease
Studies have shown that those who exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet have fewer heart problems. A diet low in fat and cholesterol also reduces the chance of blocked arteries. Additionally, regular, moderate-intensity exercise, helps lower blood pressure and decrease heart rate over time.
A healthy diet and regular exercise promote relaxation and contentment. When an individual is hungry, the body is signaling its desire for nutrients. This need cannot be fulfilled through the consumption of high-fat foods with low nutritional values, so the individual does not experience satisfaction. In addition, blood sugar levels that are too low or too high often cause irritability. Moreover, studies have shown that exercising causes the body to release endorphins, which elevate the mood, so the combination of consuming a nutritious diet and exercising regularly, promotes happiness as well as health.
Improved Energy Levels
Good nutrition and exercise also contribute to a high energy level for several reasons. Blood sugar levels that are too low or too high cause lethargy and fatigue in most people. Eating properly maintains the blood sugar at proper levels. In addition, exercise promotes an increased flow of blood and oxygen throughout the body and helps to achieve efficient heart function.
Another benefit of exercise is the improved the quality of sleep. A good night's sleep is important for concentration and memory, as well as for renewing energy levels. While exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, it may interfere with sleep if engaged in too close to bedtime, so establishing a proper, well-timed exercise routine is important.
Diet and exercise are important steps to leading a healthy life. Those who have not exercised in a long time should start out slowly to avoid injury. If there are any underlying health conditions, a doctor should be consulted in order to develop an appropriate diet and exercise plan.
- National Institutes of Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
- U.S. National Library of Medicine
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