Most people recognize that living a healthy and active lifestyle is important, but what some may not realize is just how wide-reaching the effects are of maintaining a balanced diet, keeping alcohol consumption down, and getting regular physical exercise. The positive effects of a healthy lifestyle aren’t just physical, but also influence your mental health and help protect you against an array of life-threatening illnesses and conditions.
Protects Bones and Muscles
Your body slows as you age, with muscles stiffening and bones becoming brittle. But an active lifestyle can help reduce these negative effects. Exercising regularly strengthens both muscles and bones, reducing the chances of an injury such as a hip fracture, and, in women especially, of developing the bone disease osteoporosis. Studies have found that if you participate in a moderately intense aerobic exercise for a few hours per week, you have a reduced risk of suffering from arthritis, according to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website.
Whenever you exercise you release chemicals that make you feel better, both mentally and physically. These include endorphins, which are mood-enhancing chemicals. Individuals who lead healthy, active lifestyles will also notice an increase in their energy levels over time and should develop improved self-esteem and confidence, too.
Both diet and exercise can be used to maintain a weight that’s healthy for you. For some people, this will mean reducing the amount of sugary drinks, alcohol and junk food they consume, while others will need to increase the level of physical exercise they partake in each week. An active lifestyle burns off more calories, which results in the body's converting fewer calories to fat, thus staving off weight increase, while eating and drinking healthily controls your calorie intake.
Protects the Heart
A healthy lifestyle prepares your body against cardiovascular disease, such as heart attacks and strokes. Physical exercise on a regular basis, for example, lowers your blood pressure and keeps your body’s cholesterol at manageable levels. According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention website, partaking in 150 minutes of aerobic activity of moderate intensity every week significantly lowers your risk of developing a cardiovascular illness.
Protects Against Cancer
A healthy lifestyle is important in the fight against cancer. Being active and consuming plenty of fruits and vegetables contributes greatly to lowering your chances of developing certain types of cancer. For example, research from the World Cancer Research Fund discovered that maintaining a healthy lifestyle could prevent illnesses such as stomach and mouth cancer in 39 percent of cases, as reported by the Guardian newspaper website in 2009.