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Welcome to the February edition of our WWL Blog

Steps 4 Wellness

Healthier Lifestyle = Healthier you!

With the New Year well under way and many health and fitness resolutions in progress, there isn’t a better time to talk about the benefits of many of your new healthy lifestyles. We all want to be as healthy as we can be so that we can live as long and as active a life as possible. One way to help to achieve this is to keep your body active and to fuel it with healthy, natural foods.

It’s a common message, eating healthy and exercising will help you lose weight and improve your appearance; but there are many more benefits than just what you see on the outside.  We like to encourage our staff at WWL to make the right choices for their well-being and to make sure they are healthy both inside and out. One of the ways to go about this is to eat better and move more. In this month’s blog in honour of our Lose Weight Feel Great staff weight loss challenge, we would like to go over the reasons that a healthy lifestyle is not only good for you on the outside but it is even better for you on the inside. 

Heart Health

As we are sure everyone has heard, fitness and a well-balanced diet can lead to a happy and healthy heart, but there’s more! Regular physical activity can not only help you control your weight which helps your heart but it can also reduce your risk of heart disease by strengthening your heart muscles. In addition, you are helping to reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well, both factors that contribute to heart disease.

Mental Health

We don’t always associate our mental health with fitness and nutrition but the two actually go hand-in-hand. Regular exercise has been known to help people who live with depression and is especially useful to help with mild-moderate depression. Physical activity helps increase your production of endorphins which are the chemicals in your brain that can create feelings of happiness and help you to feel calmer.  Exercise also helps with stress and anxiety by swiftly reducing the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) in your body.

But it’s not just your mood or stress levels that can be helped by exercise. By getting out and being active, joining groups or the gym you are making social connections which in turn will help to improve your mood and mental functioning. Loneliness is quickly becoming a huge factor in people’s well-being and health but by leading an active and social lifestyle you make yourself more available to form meaningful connections and stimulate your mind.

Long-Term Health

If you still aren’t yet convinced that giving up the junk food and getting your body moving is the best thing you can do for your health then what about the fact that a healthy lifestyle can significantly reduce your chances or even prevent certain health conditions and diseases. According to NHS Choices, people who lead a healthy and active lifestyle have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

Source: http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/fitness/Pages/whybeactive.aspx

Other Interesting Benefits:

There are some other interesting benefits of a healthy lifestyle that may not be as commonly advertised but are just as important. One such benefit is that it helps protect your eyesight. Regular cardio exercise can benefit the health of our eyes and slow down age related vision loss, not to mention it gets us away from our phone and computer screens! Another interesting benefit is that weight-bearing exercise can help increase our bone density. Studies have shown that adults that performed moderate-strenuous exercise on a regular basis had better bone density than those who exercised very little or not at all.

Unfortunately, we are all living more sedentary lifestyles with the advancements in technology and transportation and there are very few reasons for us to get up and move our bodies more than we need to. This is why it is so important to keep your body moving at every chance you get. It is also crucial to eat a healthy diet full of natural foods in order to keep your body weight low and put less strain on your heart and organs. Life is short, so let’s get the most out of it that we can!

For some excellent resources on how to get started on your healthy lifestyle see the NHS Choices website or the British Heart Foundation website here and here.

Finally, we just want to say a big congrats to all of our staff who are taking part in our Lose Weight Feel Great Challenge. Five weeks in and the participants have lost over 25 stone combined, well done to everyone!

 


 

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