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Jennifer Ellison-Brown: Concepts of healthy lifestyle

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being; all three affect each other.

Lifestyle is a set of behaviours by which you live your life.

A healthy lifestyle means to live a way of life that promotes good health and includes: rest; relaxation; a healthy diet; getting regular medical check-ups and exercise.

The four main components that make up healthy lifestyle are:

Exercise: This keeps the body in good physical condition. The body's main motor, the heart, works better the more it is worked. Other organs and body systems also work better if the body is exercised regularly. The minimum amount of exercise recommended is three times per week for 30 minutes.

Diet: To have a balanced diet in order to stay healthy, the body needs: carbohydrate; protein; vitamins; minerals; fats; and water.

If the balance is not right, there may be important consequences for health. Serious under eating may lead to anorexia, causing severe loss of weight and ill health. Alternatively, a high fat diet or lack of exercise may cause people to be overweight for their age and height. The extreme form of this condition is obesity. The actual amount of food we eat depends on our body type and the physical activities we are involved in.

Hygiene: This involves keeping yourself clean. Personal hygiene has an effect on how your body functions. Keeping clean can help to prevent the spread of diseases.

Rest: Lack of sleep or feeling tired is a factor that affects performance. On the average, most people require at least eight hours sleep each night to function properly.

In order to keep healthy, we have to look after our bodies and minds - feeling good and looking good will make life more enjoyable. Good health is our own responsibility. We can control many of the factors that affect our health.

As you get older, you become more responsible for taking care of yourself. This involves eating right, avoiding risky behaviour, preventing possible illnesses or injury and exercising regularly.

Where more persons began to enjoy the "good life" (sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, fatty foods, excessive sweets, tobacco, drugs), we saw parallel increase in the incidence of chronic diseases such as: hypertension; coronary heart diseases; diabetes; cancer; cirrhosis of the liver; atherosclerosis; strokes.

As the incidence of chronic diseases climbed, we realised that prevention is the best medicine.


Positive habits


People are now beginning to realise that good health is mostly self-controlled and that the leading causes of premature death and illness can be prevented by positive lifestyle habits. A few ways to ensure such includes:

- Engaging in regular exercises or physical activity

- Balancing the diet

- Maintaining recommended body weight

- Getting sufficient sleep

- Avoiding unprotected sexual activity or abstaining

- Minimising exposure to environmental contaminants

- Avoid harmful drugs (including smoking and excessive alcohol)

- Seeking medical attention as needed

- Managing stress in a healthy way

- Exercising confidence, affection and friendliness

Did you know that the human organism needs movement and activity to grow, develop and maintain health? Advances in modern technology, however, has almost eliminated the necessity for physical exertion in daily life. We live in an automated society, where most of the activity that previously required extreme exertion, can be accomplished by the pull of a handle or push of a button. This inactivity is a threat to health.

It is recommended that individuals should strive to achieve at least 30 minutes of physical activity per day for most days of the week. This will provide health benefits, lower risk of common chronic lifestyle diseases and illnesses, reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, strengthen bones and joints and increase muscle tone. It enhances one's ability to perform daily tasks and also control health care costs.