Guide to Living a Healthy Lifestyle

1. Perhaps most important of all is maintaining a strict, healthy and balanced diet. Most people are now aware of the advice to aim for five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day. In fact, specialists now say that enjoying just one extra piece of fruit a day could extend our lives by up to 20%.

However, making sure you get the diet that is right for you is not always that simple. Everyone is different; some have a higher metabolism for example. Therefore, it is always a good idea to visit a qualified nutritionist or dietitian or, if you prefer, get on the internet and carry out some independent research of your own.

2. While most will recommend that you pay regular visits to the gym, not everybody has the time for this or perhaps they don`t like the gym environment so much. In such cases, it is vital that some exercise is taken, even if it is just a daily walk.

Indeed, a worldwide study has revealed that when we reach middle age, we need to cover at least 12,000 steps a day to keep us in shape. So, get walking and purchase a pedometer if you can, to keep tabs on your targets.

3. At the same time, you can enjoy some fresh air and hopefully, some sunshine. Exposure to the sun`s rays helps our bodies to produce vitamin D, which is vital to ward off both heart disease and depression. Of course, the sun is not always there, so make the most of it when it is and remember to wear some protective cream.

4. We have all heard the saying, "laughter is the best medicine". Well, this is much truer than you may think. Maintaining a positive attitude goes a long way to keeping us in good shape. Laughter encourages the body to release chemicals known as endorphins and these help the nerves to relax and subsequently reduce stress. Therefore, always try to look for the funny side of things, even if it doesn`t at first appear to be funny at all.

5. Finally, taking regular, strenuous exercise (every day if possible) is vital to achieving balance. Join a gym, take up yoga or swimming and try to make your exercise routines as varied as possible to ensure you stay motivated.

However, it is important to take care when exercising. Injuries can easily occur, which can leave you in worse shape than before you started. Get some advice from a personal trainer and, whenever possible, wear protective clothing such as compression stockings or support hose. These help with blood-flow regulation and are excellent for preventing injuries.
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