What Should or Shouldn't I Do to Be Fit & Healthy?

Portrait of mature woman in garden holding flower pot with herbs, smiling
A woman holds a pot of fresh herbs in the garden. (Image: Erik Snyder/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Staying fit and healthy will help you feel good and protect your health. There are many things you can do to maintain a healthy weight, boost your immune system and prevent a wide range of debilitating illnesses and diseases. The decisions you make every day will impact how long you live, as well as your quality of life. A few lifestyle changes will help you get fit and healthy and stay that way for many years to come.

Exercise Regularly

middle aged woman relaxing after workout
A woman does yoga outside on a mat. (Image: Hongqi Zhang/iStock/Getty Images)

Being physically active helps you burn calories so you are able to achieve a healthy weight and also keeps your body fit and strong. Regular exercise keeps your entire body working the way it should so you feel healthy. Exercise also helps protect your health by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes and cancer. Exercise is also essential for mental health because it helps reduce symptoms of depression, raises your self-esteem and reduces stress and anxiety, according to Brian Lindsay in his book, "Stay Healthy, Be Happy, Live Longer, in Whatever Way Suits You Best."

Eat Healthy Foods

Smiling man with healthy salad
A smiling man eats a salad on the patio. (Image: Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images)

Nutritious foods will supply your body with what it needs to work properly and help keep you well. Humans must eat to live, and choosing the healthiest foods will improve your health and help you maintain your fitness level. Food should supply you with energy to be physically active and also provide the nutrients your body needs. Eat a variety of healthy foods including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean poultry, meat and fish, and low-fat milk and cheese and restrict your intake of fast food, sweets and soda.

Stop Smoking and Limit Alcohol

Cigarette broken.
A man breaks a cigarette in half. (Image: marcoprati/iStock/Getty Images)

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your health. It can lead to heart disease, stroke and many types of cancer, including lung cancer. Quitting smoking will reduce your blood pressure, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer and enable you to breathe more easily. Limiting your alcohol consumption can also benefit your health. While an occasional drink is acceptable as part of a healthy diet, drinking large amounts can lead to liver problems, weight gain and risk taking. Restricting your intake of alcohol will reduce how many calories you consume so you can reach your healthy weight more easily.

Make Time for Social Connections

Friends Laughing at Beach
A group of friends take a walk on the beach. (Image: Mike Watson Images/moodboard/Getty Images)

Spending time with family and friends may improve your mental health so you are happier and healthier. Good mental health is an important part of being fit and healthy because if you are satisfied and happy you are more likely to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Taking time to interact with your loved ones can bring feelings of joy, satisfaction and contentment because you are able to receive and offer support to one another. Schedule time to go for a walk with your spouse, play with your kids or have a dinner party for your closest friends. Activities like these will encourage you to live healthier in all aspects of your life.

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