Many factors affect your health. Some factors you cannot control, such as your genetic makeup or your age, but you can make changes to your lifestyle. By taking steps toward making healthier choices, you can help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and other serious diseases. Nutrition and physical activity are two factors that can positively affect an individual’s well-being and mental state. What we eat, the amount we eat, and our level of physical activity affect us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Food provides our bodies with nutrients and calories needed for growth, muscle and organ function, and cognitive functions. Nutrients also contribute to the development of a strong immune system. Portion size and the sugar content found in food and beverages should be monitored to ensure you are not consuming more calories than you need each day for your level of activity.
Physical activity simply is movement. Walking, running, dancing, swimming, yoga, and gardening are a few examples of physical activity. It is important to have a level of muscular and cardiovascular fitness that will enable you to do daily activities and to participate in leisure or recreational activities of your choice.
Regular physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on our physical and cognitive functioning and emotional health as we age. Older adults report that by being physically active they find they have the strength and energy to continue to do daily activities and the things they enjoy, find that their memory is improved, and experience less depression. These factors contribute to a greater quality of life and enable older adults to live independently longer.
Unfortunately, many Americans are very sedentary. Technology has taken away the need to move. The good news is that even modest amounts of physical activity can have positive health benefits.
Eating nutritiously and becoming more physically active are behaviors we all know are “good” for us. The challenge is to do them on a consistent basis. Start slowly; go at a comfortable pace, and establish healthy habits. Seek advice from your health care professional. For encouragement and support in developing your personal wellness plan contact EASE.
EASE counselors are available to speak with you by calling (800) 882-1341.