Fitness: Your Overall Health
What does being fit mean to you? Perhaps being free of disease and other health problems? Or having plenty of energy, a trim or muscular body, or the ability to finish a 10K run or fitness walk? Actually, “fitness” is far broader and more personal. It refers to your own optimal health and overall well-being. Fitness, or wellness, is your good health—at its very best.
Being fit defines every aspect of your health—not only your physical health but also your emotional and mental well-being. In fact, they’re interconnected. Smart eating and active living are fundamental to all three. When you’re fit, you have:
Energy to do what’s important to you and to be more productive. Stamina and a positive outlook to handle the mental challenges and emotional ups and downs of everyday life, and to deal with stress. Reduced risk for many health problems, including serious, often life-changing diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. The chance to look and feel your best. Physical strength and endurance to protect yourself in case of an emergency. A better chance for a higher quality of life, and perhaps a longer one, too.
Fitness Is Ageless
Fitness at every age and stage in life depends on healthful eating and active living. The sooner you make them your priorities, the better your health.
That, too, is what this book is all about—how to eat for health and stay physically active throughout the cycle of life, and enjoy great-tasting food along the way!
Good nutrition and regular physical activity are two lifestyle habits that promote fitness. But they are certainly not the only ones. To stay fit, make other lifestyle choices for good health, too: get adequate sleep, avoid smoking, manage stress, drink alcoholic beverages only in moderation (if you drink), wear your seat belt, observe good hygiene, get regular medical checkups, obtain adequate health care to name a few.
Smart Eating: Fuel for Fitness
What does it take to be and to stay fit? You don’t need special or costly foods, or fancy exercise equipment or a health club membership. You don’t need to give up your favorite foods or set up a tedious system of eating rules or calorie counting. And you don’t need to hit a specific weight on the bathroom scale.
You’ve heard the term “nutrition” all your life. The food-fitness connection is what it’s all about. In a nutshell, nutrition is how food nourishes your body. And being well nourished depends on getting enough of the nutrients your body needs but not too much and on keeping your weight within a healthy range.
At every stage in life, healthful eating fuels fitness. Well-nourished infants, children, and teens grow, develop, and learn better. Good nutrition helps ensure a healthy pregnancy and successful breastfeeding. Healthful eating and active living help people at any age feel their best, work productively, lower their risks for some diseases—and may even slow aging!
Today, our understanding of nutrition is based on years of scientific study. Interest in food and health
actually has a long history and was even recorded by the ancient Greeks. But it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the mysteries of nutrition began to be solved. Since then, scientists have answered many nutrition questions. And research continues as they explore emerging questions about food, nutrients, and phytonutrients, and the roles they play in health.
Today we know that healthful eating along with active living is key to your healthy weight. They’re essentials for dramatically lowering the risk for the main causes of disability and death in the United States: heart disease, certain cancers, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis. Good nutrition and regular physical activity also can lower risks for obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood cholesterol all risk factors for serious disease.
Nutrition advises, with the consensus of today’s nutrition experts, is supported by solid scientific evidence. So unlike the ancients, you have a valid basis for choosing food for health. It’s up to you to apply nutrition principles and advice for your own well-being.
This post contains the content of the book American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide3RD EDITION