Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise may help prevent certain diseases and enhance quality of life.
Antioxidants are the subject of increasing research because of the possible role they play in preventing disease. Antioxidants are molecules that work to prevent damage that occurs in cells and body tissues due to both normal bodily processes and exposure to some chemicals. The potential medical benefit of antioxidants may reside in their ability to prevent or slow the oxidation of molecules. However, there is some debate as to whether antioxidants have health benefits, as clinical trials have produced mixed results.
Research has recently focused on how antioxidant vitamins may reduce cardiovascular disease risk. In addition to being available in a variety of fruits and vegetables, antioxidants are available as supplements. Antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin E and C, and beta-carotene (a form of vitamin A), may have potential health benefits. According to the American Heart Association, approximately 30% of Americans are taking some form of antioxidant supplement.
Exercise is any form of physical activity that helps to promote overall health and decrease the risk of developing illnesses, such as heart disease. Most movement of the body is considered beneficial, as long as it is done in moderation and at the skill level of the person. There are many ways for people to exercise, including gardening, walking, sports activities, and dancing.
Patients beginning an exercise program should choose activities that fit their levels of strength and endurance. Exercise that causes extreme pain or discomfort is considered by many experts as unhealthy, and it may even cause permanent damage to the body.
Based on expert opinion, most regular exercise plans adjusted for the abilities and goals of the patient are about equally beneficial.
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends that patients choose exercise programs they will carry out consistently. They also recommend lower-impact forms of exercise, such as walking or swimming, for pregnant patients and patients unable to handle more intense forms of exercise. The American Heart Association recommends that adults aged 18-65 years participate in moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity for a minimum of 30 minutes at least five days each week. Another option is vigorous-intensity aerobic activity for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three days each week.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity on all or most days of the week. Finally, the
World Health Organization (WHO) suggests 30 minutes of moderate activity every day.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, poor diet and physical inactivity may be associated with a variety of conditions, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and certain cancers.
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