Part of a healthy lifestyle encompasses many things, healthy eating and exercise being two main factors and it is important to understand how each of these can help you. It’s alright to say exercise is good for you, but do we really understand what types of exercise we need to do, how each type of exercise benefits different parts of the body and different people? Does it mean we need to do lots of press-ups? Be able to run for miles?
The answer isn’t quite as easy as that, which is why we will aim to guide you to a better understanding of how each of these will help you towards a healthier lifestyle.
The same can be said of healthy eating. Do we really know what healthy eating is? Does it mean extra salad and no chips? More fruit but cut down on the bread and cakes? Maybe, but not completely. To better understand what healthy eating is, we need to understand which different types of food your body needs and why – and where to find the best sources of these different foods.
Over the next few weeks we will explore in depth how to start leading a healthy lifestyle, small changes you can make and some amazing recipes that will leave you feeling healthier, happier and losing weight, whilst getting fit.
So let’s start with healthy eating, what we need, and why.
You body needs the following nutrients:
Carbohydrates are all about energy
Carbohydrates are all about energy – your body uses the carbohydrates in foods to make glucose, which is your body’s main energy source. Glucose is a type of sugar that can be used right away for energy or stored away for use later.
Virtually all foods contain some fat. Fats are the most economical way for your body to store energy. They are needed for growth, development and function when there is a shortage of food supply.
Fibre has many health benefits. It can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and some cancers, and can also improve digestive health. There are two different types of fibre – soluble and insoluble. Each type of fibre helps your body in different ways, so a normal, healthy diet should include both types.
Essential minerals include calcium and iron, although there are also many other types of minerals that are an important part of a healthy diet. They are needed for building strong bones and teeth, controlling body fluids inside and outside cells, turning the food you eat into energy
Protein is essential for the healthy growth of all of your body tissues – such as your muscles (including your heart), internal organs (such as your lungs and liver) and skin – and also for repair of these tissues. On top of this, it’s a good source of energy too.
Vitamins are compounds which are necessary for our normal growth and function, which we cannot make within our bodies, and so we must obtain them from our foods.
Water makes up about two-thirds of the weight of a healthy body. Most of the chemical reactions that happen in our cells need water in order to take place. We also need water so that our blood can carry nutrients around the body and get rid of waste.
As you can see, eating healthily isn’t quite as simple as extra lettuce – but it can be amazingly satisfying picking from a range of simple, tasty and cheap recipes -that you know is going towards healthy eating, losing weight and an improved lifestyle.
That’s the food and nutrient information covered; let’s get to the exercise part.
Exercise is activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.
The NHS suggests that:
To stay healthy or to improve health, young people need to do three types of physical activity each week: aerobic, muscle-strengthening and bone-strengthening activity.
Aerobic, Muscle and Bone Strengthening Activities Are Important
This is any activity that uses large muscle groups, can be maintained continuously for a long period of time and is rhythmic in nature. Aerobic activity trains the heart, lungs and cardiovascular system to process and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently to every part of the body.
Muscle Strengthening Activity
Muscle strengthening activities are those that require them to lift their own body weight or to work against a resistance,
Bone Strengthening Activity
Bone-strengthening activities produce an impact or tension force on the bones that promotes bone growth and strength.
Each of these activities should be made up of a combination of moderate intensity and vigorous intensity.
In keeping up with these activities, we find that our exercise routine is more than extra push ups or running, getting fit can be made up of multiple activities, or activities that encompass them all, like Martial Arts.
So there we have an overview of some core elements to leading a healthier lifestyle. Tomorrow we will go into more depth on Carbohydrates and how to include them in your new healthy lifestyle – including some mouth watering recipes.