What is a healthy lifestyle?
Good health is not just the absence of disease or illness, it is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.
This means eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, avoiding tobacco and drugs and getting plenty of rest.
Our bodies are like machines that require a balance of protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins, minerals and water to stay in good working order.
Get the balance wrong and your health will suffer.
A balanced diet means eating only as many calories as you use during the day.
Any excess will be stored as fat if you eat more than you burn off.
How important is a balanced diet?
The benefits of a balanced diet are:
- a strong immune system to prevent and fight infections;
- a lower risk of certain types of cancers;
- lower blood pressure;
- a healthy weight;
- more energy;
- essential nutrients to support tissue growth.
What type of foods should I avoid?
Many people do not buy and prepare fresh food, and it's easy to see why.
We are often short of time, and cheap, highly processed convenience food is always available.
However, convenience food has a negative impact on our health. Here are a few examples of this type of food:
- junk food, like crisps and chocolate, is high in calories but low in nutritional value;
- fast food, such as hamburgers and fried chicken, is prepared and served quickly but is high in fat;
- convenience food, such as microwave ‘ready meals’, often has too much salt and sugar.
How important is staying active?
Your body isn’t made to sit around.
If joints and muscles are to be kept in good, working order they need regular exercise.
If you stop walking, they'll stop working.
Your body finds it much easier to deal with threats such as sickness, injury, or the occasional sugary or fatty snack if you are active.
Exercise also helps you maintain a healthy attitude to problems and mental pressures.
You gain less body fat, tire less easily and feel better.
Exercise gives you greater flexibility and strength, prevents boredom and helps you sleep.
It also helps you find new friends and learn new skills.