Nutrition and Physical Activity
By Faith Mulligan
Nutrition and physical activity are key components in life. To most, good nutrition and being physically active means having the perfect figure, a toned body, and running five miles a day, but that is not always the case. Practicing good nutrition habits and exercising daily to be our healthiest self is very important. But, how exactly do we do that?
When hearing or reading about great nutrition, it is common that a person’s first thought would be some crazy fad diet, but that is most likely not the healthiest choice. While some diets are safe, some are actually quite terrible for your health. Before choosing a diet plan, you should dig deeper into the nutrition of that diet to see if it is right for you. Any diet where you don’t eat enough calories or fat can be harmful to your body.
“The greatest wealth is health”
Majority of individuals can have overall good nutrition by following simple recommendations. One of the most encouraged nutrition recommendations is to eat fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with the key nutrients we need to fuel our body. The intake of fruits and vegetables can help to reduce blood cholesterol levels, heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, and high blood pressure. They provide us with potassium, dietary fiber, and multiple sources of vitamins.
In order to get these benefits from fruits and vegetables we have to be eating the proper serving. According to health professionals, the recommended serving of fruits and vegetables you should be consuming each day based on a 2,000 calorie diet is at least four to five servings of each. Fresh, frozen, canned, or juiced fruit and vegetables are all great options.
Another nutrition tip that could greatly benefit your health is simply watching the portions of the food you put into your body. When we have an uncontrolled portion, we have an uncontrolled amount of calories going into our bodies, which can be dangerous. Most data and studies support the fact that we will almost always eat more food, if we are offered larger portions of it. It is important to eat what your body needs rather than carelessly indulging. In some cases, though, portion control may not be a problem. A platefull of non-starch vegetables would be perfectly fine to indulge in. There is an exception when it comes to portion control, and that is non-starch vegetables.
For some, practicing a healthy diet and getting the nutrients your body needs does not come as easily. People who have allergies or food intolerances can often struggle to fuel their body with key nutrients. Mrs. Olmos, a teacher at Mossyrock High School, deals with Celiac Sprue Disease. With this disease she is unable to eat gluten, and, on top of that, she has wheat, mushroom, and shellfish allergies. Since Mrs. Olmos avoids certain foods, she has to “be smart and get fiber, vitamins, and iron in other foods.” Mrs. Olmos has found that she “does best when avoiding dairy and most carbohydrates, including grains.” Along with avoiding certain foods, Mrs. Olmos says, “I do best on a routine, regularly scheduled exercise, meal times, and appropriate hydration.” As an adult, Mrs. Olmos has truly learned, “You are what you eat, and healthy food makes a healthy body.”
On top of your nutrition, regular physical activity is one of the most important things people can do to improve their overall health. Moving your body more has tremendous benefits for everyone. The recommended amount of physical activity does not look the same for everyone either. Physical activity recommendations are made between different age groups.
From data, it shows that children aged three to five should be getting their physical activity throughout the day with a variety of enjoyable activities. Children and adolescents aged six to seventeen fall into the next age group, where they are recommended about sixty minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity at least three days a week. When reaching the age of eighteen, you fall into the next age group that recommends at least 150 minutes of walking a week, and two days of exercise that strengthens your muscles until age 64. Once reaching the age of 65, the last group, you are recommended the same amount of physical activity as the age group 18 to 64 with additional activities to improve balance. Age, medical conditions, and injury are all factors when figuring the amount and intensity of physical activity you should be getting. Always know your limits.
While these physical activity recommendations are helpful, what does one do when it is difficult to meet them? Shania Hadaller, a student-athlete from Mossyrock High School tore her ACL and meniscus in the fall of 2018 during a district volleyball game. Shortly after her surgery to repair her knee, she found that physical activity would no longer come as easily. Trying to ease her way back into sports and physical activity was a painful process. Although Shania struggles with a knee injury, she pushes herself to get physical activity each day while being aware of her limits. “I know I will always have pain in my knee, so I try to think about something else while being active to put the pain aside.”
We can conclude that by practicing proper nutrition and exercising daily we do have some control over our health. While it is not as easy for some, there is always another way, as we read from Miss Hadaller and Mrs. Olmos’s interview responses. Nutrition and physical activity plays a huge role in your health. It is important that you take care of your body, since you live your entire life in your body.
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