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Health Tips for Adults: A Guide to a Healthy Lifestyle

CEO Tinh Phung
Setting healthy eating and physical activity goals may help you improve your health. In this fast-paced world, it's crucial to prioritize our health and well-being. Consuming healthy foods, beverages, and snacks, along with regular physical...

A couple walks through the woods. Setting healthy eating and physical activity goals may help you improve your health.

In this fast-paced world, it's crucial to prioritize our health and well-being. Consuming healthy foods, beverages, and snacks, along with regular physical activity, can go a long way in helping us achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. Moreover, making suitable lifestyle choices can help prevent a range of health problems.

Choose Whole Grains and Colorful Vegetables

When it comes to eating better, there are some simple steps you can take. Start by choosing whole grains more often, such as whole-wheat breads and pastas, oatmeal, or brown rice. These are rich in fiber and provide essential nutrients.

Additionally, opt for a mix of colorful vegetables. Vegetables of different colors offer a variety of nutrients. Incorporate collards, kale, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes into your diet for maximum health benefits.

Moderation is Key

At restaurants, practice portion control by eating only half of your meal and taking the rest home. This allows you to enjoy your favorite dishes while still maintaining a balanced diet.

Prioritize Physical Activity

Physical activity should be a priority in your life. Aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as biking or brisk walking. If your time is limited, try to incorporate small amounts of activity throughout your day. Every step counts!

Your waist size is an important measure of whether your weight is healthy. Your waist size is an important measure of whether your weight is healthy.

Healthy Weight: Understanding Your Body

Managing weight can be challenging, but you're not alone. In fact, more than 39 percent of American adults struggle with obesity. Excess weight can lead to various health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease.

To determine if you are at a healthy weight, calculate your body mass index (BMI) using an online tool. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 falls within the healthy range, while a BMI of 25 to 29.9 indicates overweight. A BMI of 30 or greater is considered obesity. Additionally, keep an eye on your waist size. Women with a waist size over 35 inches, and men with a waist size over 40 inches, may be at higher risk for health problems.

The Risks of Being Overweight or Obese

Carrying excess weight increases your risk for a range of health conditions. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, high blood cholesterol and pressure, kidney disease, fatty liver disease, problems with pregnancy, and certain types of cancer.

It's essential to be aware of the potential health risks and take proactive steps towards achieving a healthier weight.

Factors Contributing to Weight Gain

Several factors can influence weight gain, including consuming more calories than necessary, lack of sleep, and low levels of physical activity. The world around you, your family, your medications, and your emotions all play a role in weight management.

The food environment, including the availability of high-fat, sugary, and calorie-dense options, can make it challenging to make healthy choices. Additionally, family habits and genetics may contribute to weight gain. Certain medications, such as steroids and some drugs for chronic health conditions, can lead to weight gain as well. Emotional factors, such as eating in response to boredom or stress, can also contribute to weight gain. Lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain as well.

Fruit, colorful veggies, beans, fish, and low-fat dairy products are rich sources of nutrients that give our bodies what they need to be healthy. Fruit, colorful veggies, beans, fish, and low-fat dairy products are rich sources of nutrients that give our bodies what they need to be healthy.

Consuming Healthy Food and Beverages

Maintaining a healthy eating plan is vital. Be mindful of your portion sizes and the types of foods and drinks you consume.

Focus on consuming more nutrient-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, seafood, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds. These foods are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that promote overall health.

On the other hand, limit your intake of foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, solid fats, and salt. Sugar-sweetened drinks and foods, foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, and lard, white bread, rice, and pasta made from refined grains, foods with added salt, and whole milk should be consumed in moderation.

Following a Healthy Eating Plan

To stay on track with your healthy eating plan, keep these tips in mind:

  • Reduce your overall calorie intake to maintain or achieve a healthy weight. If you consume more calories than you expend, weight gain may occur.
  • Have healthy snacks readily available to combat hunger and prevent overeating. Opt for whole foods like baby carrots, fresh fruit, or low-fat or fat-free yogurt instead of packaged or processed snacks.
  • Include a mix of colorful vegetables in your daily meals. Dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale, as well as red and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, are excellent choices.
  • Choose whole grains more often, such as whole-grain breads, pastas, oatmeal, and brown rice.
  • Switch from solid fats to healthier oils for cooking and salad dressings.
  • Opt for baking, grilling, or steaming instead of frying your food.
  • Read nutrition labels on packaged foods to make informed choices about what you consume.

How Much Should I Consume?

The amount of food you need each day depends on various factors, including your weight, sex, age, metabolism, and activity level. Generally, men require more calories than women, while younger adults need more calories than older adults. Those with higher physical activity levels also need more calories.

To maintain a healthy weight, it's crucial to keep your food and beverage portions in check. For personalized guidance on food and beverage quantities suitable for your needs, visit MyPlate.gov.

If You Need to Lose Weight

If you are overweight or have obesity, consult your healthcare provider to determine a healthy weight range for you. Weight loss may be recommended to improve your overall health.

Consider joining a structured weight loss program for guidance and support. Experts suggest aiming for a weight loss of 5 to 10 percent of your starting weight over a period of 6 months. Modest weight loss has been shown to bring many health benefits, such as improved mood and increased energy.

Tracking your food and beverage intake in a diary can be helpful. Additionally, understanding and managing emotional triggers for overeating can contribute to successful weight loss.

The Importance of Physical Activity

Physical activity is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. Incorporating regular exercise into your routine can have numerous benefits for your physical and mental well-being.

Engaging in aerobic activities, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or dancing, for at least 150 minutes per week can help manage weight, prevent heart disease and stroke, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and certain cancers.

Getting a friend, family member, or coworker to join you may help you enjoy activity and stick with it. Getting a friend, family member, or coworker to join you may help you enjoy activity and stick with it.

In addition to aerobic exercise, it's important to include muscle-strengthening activities in your routine. These activities help maintain strong bones and prevent muscle loss as you age.

Start by incorporating activities like lifting weights, doing push-ups, or working with resistance bands into your weekly routine. Aim for at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities per week, allowing your muscles to rest and recover between sessions.

Remember, it's never too late to start. Begin with easier activities if you have been inactive for a while, gradually increasing the intensity and duration over time. Incorporate movement into your daily life by taking the stairs, walking during lunch breaks, or engaging in activities like gardening or housecleaning.

Being Good to Yourself

Stress can have a significant impact on our health. It can lead to overeating, fatigue, and a lack of motivation for physical activity. Prioritizing self-care and stress management can support your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Adequate sleep, engaging in hobbies, and surrounding yourself with positive company are crucial. Explore stress management apps and practices to find what works best for you.

Remember, a balanced eating plan, regular physical activity, stress relief, sufficient sleep, and other positive behaviors can help you maintain lifelong health.

References

[1] Hales CM, Carroll MD, Fryar CD, Ogden CL. Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: United States, 2015-2016. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. NCHS Data Brief No. 288. www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db288.pdf (PDF, 603 KB). Published October 2017. Accessed April 15, 2019.

[2] Sleep deprivation and obesity. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health website. www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/sleep/. Accessed August 7, 2019.

[3] Hicklin T. Molecular ties between lack of sleep and weight gain. NIH Research Matters. March 22, 2016. www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/molecular-ties-between-lack-sleep-weight-gain. Accessed August 7, 2019.

[4] Jensen MD, et al. 2013 AHA/ACC/TOS guideline for the management of overweight and obesity in adults: a report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and The Obesity Society. Circulation. 2014;129(25 Suppl 2):S102-S138. https://europepmc.org/articles/pmc5819889. Accessed April 15, 2019.

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