To stay active, you’ve got to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Rather than sapping your strength, regular exercise, powered by a good diet, preserves and increases the strength of your bones, muscles, heart, lungs and immune system. Keeping these body foundations in working order will keep maintenance and repairs to a minimum. You’ll get sick less often and remain active longer in life. You can start by getting the daily values of nutrients from food recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
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A Balanced Diet for Energy
Daily allowances of essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, protein and other nutrients assist in cellular growth and the many body processes that keep you alive and functioning well. A balanced diet lets you consume these nutrients within reasonable calorie limits. Eating a variety of foods from all the food groups provides plenty of energy without overloading on high-calorie proteins, fats and sugar. To strike this energy balance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.
Nutrition for Strength
Many of these same foods help to establish the type of strength you will need to maintain an active lifestyle. Along with milk products, fish provides calcium, which is needed for musculoskeletal strength. The National Osteoporosis Foundation relates the importance of adequate calcium stores for healthy bones. Muscle activity also requires calcium, while antioxidant vitamins A, C and E, found in many fruits and vegetables, support a strong immune system. B vitamins, iron, potassium and other minerals encourage cardiovascular strength.
Nutrition for Stress Relief
Physical and mental tension place strain on many systems of the body, such as the cardiovascular and immune systems. Therefore, optimum health depends upon stress management, in which nutrition plays a vital role. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that a healthy diet prepares you to handle daily stress and to take part in an exercise routine, which also controls stress levels.
Diet and Exercise for Longevity
Individuals who practice stress relief can live longer, more active lives than those who resort to unhealthy coping habits, such as eating junk foods and drinking too much alcohol. Simply controlling your weight with a good diet and regular exercise reduces your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart attack and some types of cancer, reports the Office of the Surgeon General. In addition, getting adequate daily nutrients, such as fiber and calcium, can help to stave off chronic degenerative diseases, such as coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.