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Benefits of a Healthy Lifestyle

08 June 2022

The importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle at every stage of life is undisputed, but the ways in which we can maintain this lifestyle are often misunderstood. Leading a healthy lifestyle means more than just eating well.

Healthy Living

The importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle at every stage of life is undisputed, but the ways in which we can maintain this lifestyle are often misunderstood. Leading a healthy lifestyle means more than just eating well.

Leading a healthy lifestyle means keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, maintaining a good sleeping pattern and eating well.

A healthy weight means being within the ranges of your body mass index (BMI). BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. If you are within the healthy ranges of your BMI, it means your chances of developing lifestyle related diseases are much lower. Obesity is one of the leading causes for many lifestyle diseases and can have devastating effects on our bodies.

We can avoid obesity and maintain a healthy BMI by eating well and exercising regularly. In order to avoid putting on excess weight, what we put into our bodies (calories) needs to be equal to what we expend (calories burned through exercise or daily activities).

The NHS recommends adults:

  • do strengthening activities that work all the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) on at least 2 days a week
  • do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity a week
  • spread exercise evenly over 4 to 5 days a week, or every day
  • reduce time spent sitting or lying down and break up long periods of not moving with some activity.

For many people some of these will be difficult – in which case simply to what you can from the HowFit plan.

Maintaining regular exercise not only decreases your chances of developing diseases, but it has also been found to boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy.

Eating well means to have a diet that is varied and incorporates all the necessary food groups. The NHS eat well plate indicates a healthy diet as one that includes 5 portions of fruit and veg a day, starchy foods such as potatoes, dairy products such as milk and cheese, protein such as meat, beans and fish, at least 6-8 glasses of water a day and to consume unsaturated fats in small amounts. Higher fat foods should also be consumed less often and in smaller amounts. 

Starchy foods correlate to our carbohydrate intake, these should be the main bulk of our meals. Protein is necessary to help rebuild after our daily activities and exercise, and should be the second highest percentage of our meals. Our fat intake should be lowest. Generally, we should be aiming for 50% of our daily intake to be carbohydrates (bread, potatoes, rice), 35% to be protein (meat, fish, eggs, beans) and 15% fats (oils, cheese, butter).

We need to ensure that we are getting enough sleep as well as eating well and exercising regularly. It is recommended that adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Lack of sleep has strong research links to the development of obesity, injuries, poor immune system and low mood. Sleep is equally as important as eating well and exercise.

If you would like more information on the above topic, please use the links below:

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/the-eatwell-guide/

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