The Importance of Diet and Exercise

The Importance of Diet and Exercise

Edward-MaharamAlmost all of us will face chronic illness at some point during our lives.  Our bodies are not perfect, and as we age, we are likely to get chronic diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer.  Fortunately, what we call environmental factors play a major role in whether we get these illnesses.  Being physically active and maintaining a proper diet serves as our best protection against chronic diseases.  Although this information may not be new to you, this article will hopefully provide you with some helpful exercise and nutrition tips.

 
 

Exercise
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, being active helps to prevent a long list of diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, and certain types of cancer.  Exercise also helps to relieve stress and improve wellness.  Which type of physical activity is best, and how much is necessary to improve health, is a topic of debate within the medical community.  However, try to find a physical activity that works for you.  Exercising is easier to maintain if you enjoy the activity.  Some people prefer to play sports such as basketball or soccer, while others are more comfortable running or biking.  What’s important is this: some exercise is better than none.  Even adding a short walk to your daily routine can improve your health and wellbeing.

 

Diet
Proper “diet” refers to the lifestyle changes that a person makes in order to get healthier.  Eating good foods not only helps prevent chronic diseases, but it also decreases stress on the body – this leads to higher feelings of overall energy and wellness.  Below is a simple list of nutritional recommendations.  The list may seem long, but following even a couple of these suggestions will make you feel better!
  • Eat 3 to 7 servings per day of vegetables, especially green and leafy veggies
  • Eat 3-5 servings of fruit per day
  • Eat at least 2-3 servings of protein every day, preferably fish (not fried)
  • Eat whole grains instead of processed grains
  • Limit intake of dairy/milk products to 0-3 servings per day
  • Get at least two teaspoons of ‘good’ oils (monounsaturated – like flaxseed or olive)
  • Eat very small amounts (maximum of 75 calories) of processed or sugary foods
  • Take an appropriate multivitamin (ask your doctor or pharmacist which one is best for you)

 

These are general recommendations, and this information may apply differently to different people.  Please see your doctor before doing any new exercises or changing your diet – this will help you make sure that the changes you want to make are safe for you.