The Importance of Diet and Exercise to Physical and Mental Health

 

Exercise and diet are complimentary to one another. While each is a key component to your wellbeing, they produce an even greater effect together than on their own.  A healthy diet and exercise routine are important for maintaining good long-term physical and mental health.

The food choices we make can result in an enormous difference for decreasing the likelihood of developing many preventable diseases. Not only do the choices we make affect our physical wellbeing, but they also help our cognitive functioning. The food we eat supplies us with essential vitamins and nutrients to maintain proper body function and weight.  Some foods with antioxidants also fight cancer and help reduce stress.

Exercise should also be incorporated into our daily lives to help maintain proper body weight, heart health, and reduce stress (See the Centers for Disease Control recommendations for physical activity here http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/index.html ).  Research shows that exercise is one of the single most important variables for general health and wellbeing. A combination of anaerobic and aerobic activity has been shown to increase cognitive function, by increasing the health of nerve cells and promoting endorphins.  Furthermore, exercise helps the nervous system adapt so that the stress response is more effective, which keeps your stress levels down.  Even small improvements, such as increasing activity by 100 minutes a week, could help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

Drastic diets and heavy workouts are hard to sustain for most people, so many experts recommend beginning immediately, in small ways if you have a long way to go, to change your eating and exercise habits. Think in terms of each day, checking off your efforts to meet your goals, rather than at how far you have to go.

Find what motivates you to eat healthy and exercise regularly, and reinvigorate your journey to a healthy lifestyle. Learn about the little changes you can make today that will last a lifetime.

 
Quit smoking

The following link contains the importance of quitting, how to quit and all its health benefits. You can start now to eliminate tobacco from your lifestyle. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/QuitSmoking/Quit-Smoking_UCM_001085_SubHomePage.jsp


Physical activity

The following link to the American Heart Association offers advice on how you can start being more active now. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/Physical-Activity_UCM_001080_SubHomePage.jsp


Nutrition center

The following link to the American Heart Association offers advice on healthy eating at home and dining out, and provides recipes to help you get started on a diet that will help keep your heart healthy. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/NutritionCenter/Nutrition-Center_UCM_001188_SubHomePage.jsp