Eat Your Way to Health? It’s Possible!

Well-being is a combination of five interrelated elements that, when balanced, lead to a fuller, healthier existence. This is the last of a five-part series on the Five Elements of Well-being, a healthy life initiative from Texas Health Resources.

Physical Health

How good is your health, really? Does your body have enough energy to live the life you want?

We are pretty good at putting gas in our cars to keep them going, and we know activities like tire pressure checks, oil changes and other regular maintenance go far in keeping them running at their potential. That much we know. But how many times do you stop to take care of your body, your own “vehicle” and its physical health? While it’s easy to place things like preventive checks or a regular workout routine at the bottom of your lengthy to-do list, it’s this very attention to our bodies that may not only allow them to run longer, but also stronger and with more vitality.

An active lifestyle takes commitment in our increasingly sedentary world; however, it is one of the most important steps you can make to improve your health. Feeling too tired to tackle some exercise today? It may seem counterintuitive, but, in truth, one of the best ways to fight fatigue is with exercise.

“Injuries aside, simply feeling tired is actually one of the worst reasons to forgo working out,” notes Tricia Nguyen, M.D., executive vice president of population health and president of Texas Health Population Health, Education & Innovation Center. “Science backs this up: a comprehensive study of more than 70 trials found that exercising is much more effective at eliminating fatigue than prescription drugs used for this same purpose.”

People who exercise at least twice a week are happier and have significantly less stress — benefits that increase with more frequent exercise. Those benefits can be had in just 20 minutes of exercise per day, and have the power to improve your mood for several hours after you’ve finished your activity. Another bonus: working out today means you are more than twice as likely to feel physically attractive tomorrow. Who doesn’t want to look good and feel good?

The fuel we put into our bodies should also be considered as closely as what kind of oil keeps our car engine running. Eating a heart-healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables and limiting the high-cholesterol, fatty, empty-calorie options will not only make you feel better today, but also help “turn off” the genes responsible for pre-disposition to many diseases, including some cancer and heart disease. Eat your way to health? It is possible.

Staying active, eating well and getting enough rest are important to being physically healthy, a key tenet in our overall well-being. Focus on our physical selves help us lead healthier, happier lives full of lots more “go” than “stop.”

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