Lifestyle decisions you make today can lead to a healthier future

Reading Time: 2 minutes Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly can help control or minimize age-related health problems. Set short-term goals to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

A graphic saying "live healthy."Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Washington Post reports, “People who improved their eating habits saw big benefits.” The article further explains that those who had improved their diet scores by about 20 percent saw an eight percent reduction in mortality and a seven to 15 percent reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease. 

Part of improving a diet may include monitoring caloric intake. “The human body needs calories to survive,” states MedicalNewsToday (MNT). However, the number of calories needed changes from person to person. Correct calorie counting depends on various factors such as physical activity, age, sex, muscle mass, and others, MNT explains

Although the science behind calories is confusing, understanding caloric intake is made easier when a calorie is broken down to its most basic definition: a measure of energy. Foods have calories because they supply the body with energy, which is released when the food is broken down during digestion. 

A diet is nothing more than a “prescribed course of food, restricted in kind or limited in quantity,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Calorie counting is indispensable in this process, for it helps determine how many of these prescribed foods should be consumed. 

According to the AEAL (Spanish Association of People Affected by Lymphoma, Myeloma, and Leukemia), a healthy daily diet for an adult should contain vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water in varying, healthy quantities. Recommendations given for these nutrients are: 

• carbohydrates 55%-60% of total calories

• fats 25%-30% of total calories

• proteins 12%-15% of total calories

• 1.5 to 2 liters of water daily.

One may think that eating a balanced diet is restrictive and uncomfortable; however, a good diet does not mean only eating vegetables or reducing food intake. Instead, eating a healthy diet requires balance and moderation in what we eat and a lifestyle change for the better. 

Regarding this, Cassandra Vazquez, a UVU student majoring in English and Literature, said, “Diets are only efficient when the person changes their whole lifestyle.” Additionally, student Leonel Dominguez majoring in biotechnology said, “Diets consist in making small modifications that give us different results — small modifications with exercise and especially the food we eat”. 

As part of this healthy lifestyle, exercise is also important. Exercising is recommended by many medical professionals to prevent and treat illnesses. According to the Spanish Journal of Cardiology, performing moderate intensity activity for a minimum of 30 minutes five days a week, or high intensity activity for a minimum of 20 minutes three days a week improves functional capacity and is associated with reduced incidences of  cardiovascular disease and mortality. 

Food is the basis of human existence. When consumed appropriately, it gives us everything our bodies need to function properly. Additionally, frequent exercise, when linked with proper nutrition, can keep you healthy for years to come.

If you would like to assess your current lifestyle to see where you can improve, try using the simulator linked here. Click on the play button; select the “Run CheerpJ Browser-Compatible Version” (it may take a moment to load); and input the required data. Finally, click the play button to begin the simulation and see your results. Although not completely accurate, the simulator can give you a visual summary of where your current habits may take you in the future.