The most important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is unquestionably what you eat. You can’t out train a bad diet, or in other words, you can go for a run, swim or cycle for as long as you want but if you don’t eat the right foods it’ll all be a waste of time.
Eating well not only keeps you physically healthy in terms of your weight and vital organs functioning but it also keeps your mind healthy and clear.
Firstly, drinking plenty of water is crucial and it has plenty of benefits such as; increasing energy and relieving fatigue, it promotes weight loss, flushes out toxins, boosts the immune system and more. Water is no doubt the best drink to stay healthy but other options are fresh juice, green tea or even milk. You want to avoid drinks which contain a lot of added sugar. Some may not realise but liquid sugar can be even more fattening that sugars in food.
Having a balanced food diet is very worthwhile too. Ensuring you eat a mixture of foods gives you all the different nutrients required to sustain good health. But of course you need to be eating the right sorts of food and not just any junk that may be cheap and easy to get your hands on.
Fruit and vegetables are key ingredients and a great starting point. If you aim to eat 5-6 pieces of different fruit and vegetables each day you’ll be boosting your immune system significantly and in turn reducing the chance of disease and illness.
Eat wholegrain instead of refined grains. For example, look out for wholegrain barley, rice, bread, etc. They contain lots of fiber, help digestion, lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure as well as many other health benefits. Refined grains are modified from their natural composition, taking away the components bran and germ which are better for us. So try and limit those refined grains as well as anything containing added sugar. Most foods contain sugar in their natural ingredients, so added sugar is simply unnecessary.
Avoiding bad fats is something that you should try and cement in to your lifestyle because these are the fats that can damage your heart. But what are bad fats and is there such things as good fats? The simple answer to that is yes. Oily fish, nuts, avocados, vegetable oils are all examples of unsaturated good fats and are great but these should be eaten in place of other high calorie foods. But of course there are bad fats too. These are foods like red meat such as beef and lamb. Dairy products such as whole milk, cheese, butter, sour cream and others. Additionally, cutting out or at least reducing the intake of snack foods such as crisps, chocolate, cake, etc. will go a long way to help weight loss.
It’s important to remember that everything in moderation is okay. You still need to enjoy the food you eat.
Exercise also goes a long way to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Age shouldn’t be an excuse to give up on exercise and any sort of active lifestyle no matter how strenuous or not is better than nothing.
Endurance/Aerobic – These types of exercises are designed to increase your heart rate and breathing. These activities will help keep you healthy, improve your fitness, and help you carry out your everyday tasks. Endurance training will improve the health of your heart, lungs, and circulatory system. Jogging, Cycling, Swimming or even dancing are all good examples of endurance exercises which will raise your heart rate. Don’t forget to warm up first though to prevent any injury!
Strength – Strength exercises make your muscles stronger. Even small increases in strength can make a big difference in your ability to stay independent and carry out everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying groceries. These exercises also are called “strength training” or “resistance training.” Lifting weights, own body weight exercises and resistance band training are all ways of improving general strength.
Balance – Having good balance is key, especially for older adults as it helps prevent falls and accidents. It will also help with other general exercises such as lifting weights, running on a treadmill and even stretching. Increasing the amount of lower body strength exercises you do will also improve your balance.
Flexibility – Stretching is incredibly important to reduce the risk of injury. Being flexible gives you more freedom of movement for other exercises as well as for your everyday activities. It’s well worth fitting in stretching in to your workout routine for at least 15 minutes. Yoga is a good activity which helps flexibility and balance for that matter.
Both healthy eating/drinking and exercise significantly improve our physical and mental well-being. You will notice a huge change in the way you feel by eating better and exercising at least a few times a week. But the key is consistency. If you can constantly eat well and exercise for the majority of the week, every week, you’re guaranteed to feel sharper, happier, stronger and just generally better all round.
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