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Channels: Health

Tags: healthy lifestyle - american cancer society - weight gain - health - iu health



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The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

Views: 4,032
Added: Mon. Apr 23, 2012 2:44pm
Posted in: Health

The American Cancer Society attributes one-third of all cancer deaths in the United States to diet and physical activity, and another third to the use of tobacco products. A healthy lifestyle is the series of choices an individual makes in hopes of being physically fit, having more energy and at less risk for diseases that can shorten or decrease the quality of life. Decades of medical research show that a healthy lifestyle consisting of regular exercise, a nutritious diet, plenty of sleep and proper hydration can significantly extend and improve the quality of life for most individuals.

Why is a Healthy Lifestyle Important?

Every system of the human body relies on a healthy lifestyle to function properly. The cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, immune and other body systems depend on a steady supply of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat to fuel metabolism and cell development. Exercise is vital to the health of muscles and bones, and physical activity burns excess calories and unwanted fat.

Adequate sleep allows the human body time to repair damage and rejuvenate cellular tissue. Additionally, sleep is apparently important for memory consolidation and appetite regulation. The National Sleep Foundation states that inadequate sleep can inhibit productivity, reduce an individual’s ability to remember and consolidate information and can have profound effects on health, including increased body mass, higher risk for diabetes or high blood pressure, and a greater chance for developing psychiatric conditions, such as depression or substance abuse.

Innovations in medical science have allowed people with cancer to live longer; specialized treatment provided by institutions like IU Health Proton Therapy can target tumors more precisely and help patients recover more quickly. But a healthy lifestyle can dramatically decrease a person’s risk of developing cancer.

How Can You Adopt a Healthier Lifestyle?

Here are a few tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

1. Be as lean as possible throughout your entire lifetime without being underweight. Avoid excessive weight gain. Overweight or obese individuals enjoy immediate benefits from even moderate weight loss.

2. Get more exercise. Adults should aim for 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity every week (or a combination of the two). Kids and teens who engage in an hour of moderate or vigorous activity each day improve physical fitness and cardiovascular health. Limit sedentary activities like watching television, working on the computer or playing video games.

3. A nutritious, balanced diet is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Consistently choose food and drinks that help maintain good health. Imagine vegetables as the entrée of each meal, with lean meat taking a smaller role as a side dish.

4. Eat healthy portions of food to avoid excessive weight gain. The Weight-control Information Network suggests comparing serving sizes with everyday products. For example, a healthy portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. A portion of cereal is about the same size as a fist.

5. Drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. This doesn’t include coffee, juices, soda or other beverages. Water prevents dehydration, aids kidney function and keeps the digestive system running smoothly.

6. Don’t smoke or use any form of tobacco. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco causes more deaths each year than illegal drug use, HIV, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides and murders combined. Smoking cigarettes, cigars or pipes increases the risk for cancers of the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus and lungs. Smokeless tobacco is associated with oral, esophageal and pancreatic cancer, along with potentially fatal heart arrhythmia.

7. Limit alcohol intake. The American Heart Association recommends one to two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women; a drink is one 12 oz. beer, 4 oz. of wine, 1.5 oz., of 80-proof liquor or 1 oz. of 100-proof alcohol.

Your health and well-being are in your hands. Choose a diet and exercise plan that keeps you at optimal weight. Stay away from tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption and get enough sleep. Making these simple choices consistently improves your energy level, reduces pain, decreases your risk for cancer and other serious diseases while increasing energy levels and improving your mood.

  • Posted 11:42am May 3rd, 2012

    Thankfully I've never had cancer, but I've seen first hand the toll it can take on not only the individual diagnosed, but how it can affect family and friends as well. My best friends mother was diagnosed with breast cancer about 7 years ago. She treated me like a 2nd son, and it was hard to watch her go through all that physical and emotional pain. She survived, but lost her left breast in the process. Ever since I've been researching and writing about different types of cancers in hopes that someone out there will find my info beneficial.

    How about you? Do you have a story you'd like to share? I would love to hear it!

  • Posted 10:57pm April 25th, 2012

    What is your personal experience with cancer?

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