Adopting and maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle has numerous positive effects on both mental and physical well-being. By making small changes to your diet and exercise habits while avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption you can increase your chance of living longer and reduce the risk of major illnesses by up to 50 percent according to the National Health Service.
Boosting your mood
Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good, boost your self-esteem, help you concentrate and aid sleep. Individuals who partake in moderate exercise five times a week for 30 minutes should also benefit from an increase in their energy levels. The Mental Health Foundation recommends being energetic enough so that you breathe a little more heavily than normal but aren't out of breath.
Maintaining a healthy weight
Diet and exercise can be used to maintain a healthy weight. According to Weight Watchers, regular physical activity is one of the best predictors of weight loss maintenance with evidence showing that tracking your food intake is one of the most important weight loss skills. Regular activity burns more calories, while reducing the amount of alcohol, sugar, saturated fat and junk food in your daily diet helps control your calorie consumption.
A healthy heart
A healthy and active lifestyle can reduce your risk of developing coronary heart disease and also help to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, according to the British Heart Foundation. Even if you already have a heart condition, a healthy diet and being physically active can benefit your heart regardless of your age. Being aware of the dangers of smoking, drinking, high blood pressure and stress are all important for your long term heart health.
Protecting against cancer
In the UK, more than one-third of people will develop cancer at some point in their lives yet according to according to Cancer Research UK; experts estimate that more than two-fifths of cancer cases could be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. They suggest not smoking, keeping a healthy body weight, reducing alcohol consumption, keeping active, staying safe in the sun and reducing exposure to chemicals in the workplace.
After the age of 30, your bone density begins to decrease. According to the National Osteoporosis Society, half of women and one-fifth of men over the age of 50 in the UK will fracture a bone, mainly due to poor bone health. They suggest moderate exercise outdoors to increase levels of vitamin D which can result in small increases in bone mineral density while eating a calcium rich diet. Exercising outdoors is also a great way to meet new people.
An active lifestyle can help reduce stiffening of muscles and arthritis as your body ages. With over 600 muscles in your body, most people experience aches and pains at some point in their lives. According to Arthritis Research UK, these pains can often be eased with exercise. Eating a balanced diet rich in meat, fish, eggs and pulses ensures the body has enough nutrients for muscles to grow, build, repair and heal.
A healthy and active lifestyle can help to prevent diabetes. According to Diabetes UK, regular exercise, stopping smoking and a diet low in saturated fat, simple carbohydrates (such as white bread, while flour and pastries), sugars and salt can help reduce the risk of developing the disease. Even if you have diabetes, diet and lifestyle are key components in living healthy and controlling the symptoms.