Healthy Lifestyle Choices

p-healthyfoodActivity – Keeping physically active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Physical activity can have both short-term and long-term benefits. Short-term benefits include weight loss or maintenance, increased energy and better sleep. Improved muscle tone and co-ordination are also immediate short-term benefits. The long-term benefits of an active lifestyle include reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of both men and women, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis.

Being in good physical shape also influences mental performance. Studies show those individuals who are physically active tend to concentrate better and have enhanced creativity and problem-solving skills. Emotional well being is also affected. Vigorous exercise helps get rid of tensions resulting from stress or anger and can improve self-esteem. Physical activity is also recommended as part of a plan to treat depression.

Adding physical activity to your daily routine does not have to be complex or expensive. A brisk walk for 30 minutes on most days is all it takes to start reaping the short and long-term benefits of an active lifestyle. Make regular exercise part of your own daily routine.

Eating Healthy – Research has shown that following a healthy eating plan can provide many health benefits. A healthy diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low fat milk and milk products.

The American Cancer Society recommends eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day to help reduce the risk of certain cancers. Low-fat, low-cholesterol diets are part of the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease. Following a low sodium diet is a first line of treatment in reducing high blood pressure and lowering the risk of developing high blood pressure. Studies show that you can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases with nutritious food.

A good resource to learn about healthy eating and to track your daily food habits is the government website www.mypyramid.gov. They have revised the recommended food groups and servings from each group to reflect the latest research on healthy eating.

Also, women require fewer calories daily so we have to pack better nutrition into the foods we eat. It is important to make smart choices from every food group to get the most nutrition out of your calories.

Sunscreens – Sunscreens work by physically blocking ultraviolet light. Sunscreens may provide protection with various chemicals, which act to either reflect the UV rays or absorb the radiation. All sunscreens are graded according to SPF, or Sun Protection Factor. Studies show that most people do not apply sunscreen properly in amounts adequate to provide the graded level of protection, and doctors recommend a minimum of SPF 15 for general-purpose use.

Skin that is repeatedly subjected to UV radiation over time may develop sun damage in the form of premature wrinkling, premature aging, and even skin cancer. Special risk factors for UV ray susceptibility include fair skin, red or blonde hair, light-colored eyes, easy burning of the skin, being prone to moles and freckles, high levels of sun exposure as a child or a history of skin cancer in the family.

Sunscreen should be applied at least 20 minutes before intended exposure to strong sunlight and be re-applied regularly to receive the benefits of its protection, especially after swimming.

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