Leading a healthy lifestyle is a complex task, as there are many factors contributing to overall health. Achieving and maintaining your health requires you to not only make sure you do certain things, but also avoid making unhealthy decisions. You should consult a doctor before making any lifestyle changes.
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Even if you are not training to be an athlete, regular exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps keep your heart and lungs in good condition and can burn off excess calories you consume. The Centers for Disease Control suggests you perform moderate-intensity exercise for 30 minutes at least five times per week.
Appropriate Calorie Intake
Nearly everything you consume -- with the exception of water -- contains calories, which fuel your body. However, too many calories result in obesity, while too few calories can lead to weight loss, which can be unhealthy if uncontrolled. Although recommendations are made based on a 2,000-calorie diet, your individual calorie needs may be different based on your activity levels. You can use the American Cancer Society's calorie needs calculator to find out the right intake for you.
Adequate Protein Intake
Although protein intake is commonly associated with bodybuilders and other athletes, this nutrient is important for everyone. Protein contains amino acids, which are the building blocks of your body's cells and tissues. The Harvard School of Public Health notes that high-protein diets may be effective for weight loss and suggests consuming 20 to 25 percent of your daily calories from the nutrient.
Adequate Fat Intake
Fat is often discouraged because it is high in calories and is thought to cause obesity. But fat is essential for proper health, as it helps your body absorb certain vitamins and minerals and builds your body's cells. The United States Department of Agriculture suggests consuming between 20 and 25 percent of your daily calories from fat. Saturated fat should be limited to less than 10 percent of your calories.
Healthy Body Weight
Obesity is more than a cosmetic problem. The National Institutes of Health explain that being overweight can increase your risk of conditions such as type-2 diabetes, heart disease, gallstones and some cancers.
Getting enough sleep and quality sleep is a huge component of a healthy lifestyle. If going to bed earlier means that you get a solid seven to eight hours, then it's worth the effort. You'll have more energy throughout the day and are more likely to participate in all the exercise you need to keep healthy. And, limiting your alcohol intake and not smoking are two other components of a healthy lifestyle.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- Centers for Disease Control: How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Nutrition Source: Protein: Expert Answers to Readers' Questions
- Health.gov: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005: Chapter 6 - Fats
- National Institutes of Health: Assessing Your Weight and Health Risk
- American Cancer Society: Calorie Counter Calculator