Thursday, 2 February 2012

Healthy Lifestyle

So what exactly is a healthy lifestyle?

It equates to three principles – Healthy Eating, Exercise and Relaxation.

Healthy Eating

The Irish government has spent a lot of time trying to get the healthy eating message across to all sectors of the population. As a result, the campaign has introduced the food pyramid, which is now acknowledged and accepted as the national guide to healthy eating, and has enhanced public awareness on healthy eating guidelines on fruit and vegetables, fibre, low fat and being a healthy weight.

The Health Promotion Unit has run National Healthy Eating Campaigns for one decade. This campaign has been successful in creating and increasing public attention on healthy eating with 60% awareness of key healthy eating messages.

Recent research has indicated that of those people who were aware of the campaign, one in three was influenced to change their eating habits as a direct result, this proves that it is working as an easy to follow campaign.

The food pyramid is distributed through public health centers, doctors, hospitals, schools etc. in order to access as much of the population as possible.
I do think though our Governments should be looking at revisiting this model.

These statistic indicate it's working, the statistics from the health sector may differ. A lot of preventable disease's are on the increase. Is it not working anymore, have people stopped listening, is it flawed?

Healthy eating is essential for good health and radiant skin.
What you eat can either protect you or increase your chances of getting diseases like heart disease.

The Food PyramidThe key to healthy eating is to eat a wide variety of foods. Using the Food Pyramid as a guide will help make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and goodness you need from your food. Choose most foods from the bottom two shelves, smaller amounts from the next two shelves and a very small amount from the top shelf.

Smart food strategies

· Eat breakfast - studies show that even in young healthy adults with reasonable diets, eating breakfast helps them to address a problem more creatively.

· Eat smaller meals - large meals can make you feel over full and tired.

· Avoid crash diets - very low energy diets can cause memory and attention problems and lead to poor reaction times.

· Keep well hydrated - drink water frequently throughout the day to help prevent dehydration.

Following on from the success of the food pyramid, there is the exercise pyramid. People can feel overwhelmed when they are being told how much exercise they need to do, so the idea of the exercise pyramid is a quick reference guide, it puts the fun back into exercise and also show that some things you do routinely are actually counted as your overall exercise needs. The pyramid is based on some of the following research: The current recognised recommendation is that every adult should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week. However six out of ten Irish people do not take enough activity for health benefits. The lifestyle trend in Ireland was identified in the recent SLAN surveys, Which found that only 51% of the population reported engaged in some form of regular physical activity. In addition, obesity was identified as a growing problem, affecting 13% of the population and almost half the population reported as being overweight.


Adults should aim to be physically active for at least a total of 30 minutes, each day of the week. Activity minutes can be accumulated, i.e. adults can be active 3 times a day for 10 minutes each time.

Children and teenagers should aim to be physically active for at least one hour, most days of the week. Children can also accumulate their activity minutes.

The benefits of regular physical activity are numerous:

Ø Better general health

Ø Reduces the risk of dying prematurely.

Ø Reduces the risk of dying from heart disease or stroke.

Ø Reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%.

Ø Promotes well-being and reduces feelings of stress and anxiety.

Ø Is excellent in helping to maintain a healthy weight.

Ø Improves mobility, at any age.

Ø Helps to reduce cholesterol levels.

Ø Helps prevent / reduce osteoporosis - reducing the risk of hip fracture by up to 50% in women.

Ø Exercise aids lymph flow, which will aid in the removal of toxins and excess fluid.

Fluid intake

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, impaired performance and can also be a threat to life. For this reason, anyone who exercises should make sure they have a good fluid intake. You should aim to drink a litre of fluid per hour of exercise.

Start well hydrated drink before exercise

Get well hydrated drink during exercise

Stay well hydrated drink after exercise

As life becomes busy and hectic, finding time to relax is difficult. Take at least 20 minutes a day for relaxation. Always plan your time to relax, otherwise it may not happen. Relaxation can be a few moments of quietness or simply enjoying a hobby or interest. There are many relaxation techniques for you to discover, see which one suits you best. Learn and practice deep breathing and relaxation techniques, walking is excellent, yoga, meditation, anything that has a positive effect on mind and body. Stress is a part of modern day life and occurs in all areas of our daily lives. Stress cannot be avoided but it can be managed.

Finally, I think lifestyle, accepting responsibility and taking control of of our lifestyles is more important now more than ever.

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