Family Health and Fitness
By Gracie Lovan
Being physically active and staying healthy is important for everyone. People of all ages need to stay active and have good eating habits to maintain a healthy lifestyle. An unhealthy lifestyle can lead to bad habits, while a healthy lifestyle can help you have a successful happy life. This may not be the traditional information you hear in the classroom, but I will share with you and hopefully leave you more informed.
In high school, many kids participate in some form of physical activity, whether it’s P.E., football, volleyball, cross country, softball, track, soccer, etc. My point is that kids have many opportunities to join a team and stay fit. As a high school student, the opportunity to stay active can be easier than when you go off to college or join the workforce. While many recognize that it is still important to stay active, it can be harder to prioritize your time to make that happen. You hear the term “freshman 15” for a reason. It is somewhat common for a student to go off to college and gain weight.
Let’s say you were a 3-sport athlete in high school and always involved in sports year round. After graduation you could go down one of two paths. You could continue to stay fit in college and maintain a healthy diet, or you could choose to not be physically active and partake in an unhealthy diet. If you choose the first path you’ll be more likely to feel good about yourself, sleep better, and have an overall better mindset. If you choose the second path you’ll be more likely to experience weight gain, potential sleep loss and an overall dissatisfaction with your life. A healthy lifestyle can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression. Exercise and/or physical activity combined with a healthy diet are an excellent combination for a positive life.
A healthy lifestyle can help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
Regular exercise has many different benefits for all ages. It is important that when you become an adult that you continue to be physical. For women, after having children, motivation may be lost, but keeping a regular routine could prove critical. Some benefits of exercising regularly include managing your weight better, having stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis. Exercise has many positive effects like helping improve your state of mind, help block out negative thoughts and energy, and can also help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. In the article “The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise”, it talks about a study done by the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health, found that running 15 minutes a day or walking for an hour reduces the risk of major depression by 26%. Aside from that, research verifies that maintaining an exercise schedule can prevent you from relapsing. Another benefit of keeping up with physical activity is getting better sleep at night. For kids ages 6 to 13, benefits include improved thinking or cognition. Regular exercise can help improve many skills as you age.
Nutrition is another critical component of a healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy through all phases of your life is important. For babies birth to six months of age, breast milk gives the baby plenty of nutrients, fluids, and energy. It is recommended that babies have breast milk till at least six months of age. Fruit juice is not recommended to babies under six months of age, but all babies should be getting extra water after solid foods are introduced. Food for babies six to twelve months, should be food that is rich in iron and zinc. Adding sugar, honey, or salt to your baby’s food is unnecessary. It is important that young children consume protein, vitamins, and minerals to help increase energy. Food for children entering their teenage years, milk, yogurt and cheese are needed to boost calcium intake. Older teenagers and young adults should reduce the amounts of fats and salts in their daily diets. Be careful of including foods rich in calcium and iron. Food for women who are pregnant, focus on quality over quantity. In the article “Food and your life stages”, you can find that nutrients that have increased requirements include folate, iron, vitamin B12 and iodine. As you age, you should eat foods that are nutrient dense rather than energy dense, including foods like eggs, fish, legumes, fruit and vegetables and whole grains. Knowing what you should be putting into your body is critical. If you are ever concerned about your health and weight, following these guidelines could be very helpful.
Healthy habits and routines are a very critical part in our everyday lives. Understanding the consequences if we choose not to follow the recommendations, can lead to a life of misery. Stay healthy, my friends; eat well, exercise often, and you will improve your odds of living a longer life, which means more time spent with the ones you love.
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