The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle
Added: Mon. Apr 23, 2012 2:44pm
Posted in: Health
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
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
How Can You Adopt a
Here are a few tips for achieving and maintaining a healthy
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
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