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Health - General
A person’s overall physical health is governed, in large part, by what they eat and how much exercise they get.  Of course, there are other considerations, such as happiness, self-esteem, contentment with family or job, and others.

The Mayo Clinic has provided general nutritional recommendations which should promote physical health.  The body’s main energy source is carbohydrates, complex and simple.  Complex carbohydrates are found in whole grains, potatoes, corn, and peas.  Simple carbohydrates are found in dairy products and fruits.  Mayo recommends getting 45 to 65 percent of daily calories from carbohydrates, especially complex.  Protein is essential to healthy skin, bones, muscles, and organs.  Sources of protein include whole grains, poultry, fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, and seeds.  Ten to 35 percent of daily calories should come from protein.  Fats help the body absorb vitamins, assist in the function of cells, and protect the immune system.  However, fats contain twice as many calories per gram as carbohydrates or proteins.  Saturated fats and trans fats can increase cholesterol levels and increase chances of developing heart disease.  Fat calories should be limited to no more than 20 to 35 percent of daily calories, and they should come from sources such as nuts and healthy oils.  Daily intake of saturated fats and trans fats should be severely limited.  Fiber prevents constipation and improves cholesterol and blood sugar levels.  Sources of fiber include dried beans, apples, and oranges.  Sodium helps nerve function, muscle flexibility, and balance of fluids.  Most sodium comes from processed or canned foods.  The addition of table salt to food is unnecessary and not conducive to good health.

Exercise is conducive to general good health.  The physical and mental benefits of an exercise program include loss of weight, reduction of stress, relief of symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduction of risk of heart disease or cancer, mood enhancement, energy enhancement, better sleep, bone density increase, heart and lung health, and an overall improvement of the quality of life.   Beneficial types of exercise include cardio exercise, strength training, and flexibility training.  Cardio includes any continuously-performed activity which raises the heart rate for a period of time.  These exercises include walking, running, or swimming.  Recommendations are 20 to 60 minutes of activity 3-5 days a week.  Strength training works the body differently from cardio exercises.  Lifting weights or using resistance bands strengthens muscles and promotes bone health.  Building lean muscle raises metabolism and encourages weight loss.  Each muscle group should be trained two or three non-consecutive days a week.  Flexibility training is important to maintain agility as a person ages, build endurance, and reduce stress.  It also develops core strength within your body.  Stretch within your range of motion at least three times a week.  Always stretch before or after cardio or strength training.  The best flexibility training is yoga or Pilates.

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