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What Are the Benefits of Eating Healthy & Exercising Regularly?

by Alia Butler

About Alia Butler

Alia Butler holds a Master of Social Work from Washington University, St. Louis, concentrating in mental health, and a Master of Arts in social-organizational psychology from Columbia University. Currently, Butler is a freelance writer, penning articles focusing on mental health, healthy living and issues surrounding work-life balance. She is the principle/owner of ALIA Living, LLC, providing residential interior design services, professional organizing and life coaching.

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Overview

Engagement in 30 minutes of exercise for at least five days each week is all that the majority of people need to glean health benefits, according to Harvard School of Public Health. Adding healthy eating to an exercise routine will only increase the benefits. A diet based on healthy eating includes an abundance of fruits and vegetables, whole grains foods, proteins low in saturated fat and cholesterol and healthy sources of calcium.

Mental Well-Being

Eating healthy and exercising regularly can help a person maintain her overall mental well-being. Regular exercise increases the release of endorphins, a hormone that can improve a person’s mood. Exercising regularly can ward off depression, decrease stress levels, keep anxiety at bay and reduce the negative symptoms associated with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, notes the American Heart Association and Help Guide.org. Healthy eating will provide the body with energy to help a person appropriately deal with daily stressors and anxiety producers. Also, eating healthy throughout the day will help maintain a stable mood and avoid any drastic changes in blood sugar levels that could trigger feelings of depression or mania or worsen some symptoms of ADHD.

Prevent Chronic Disease

According to the Family Education website, engaging in a regular exercise routine can help reduce a person's chances of getting osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise increases bone strength, contributes to lower cholesterol levels and decreases high blood pressure. Healthy eating along with regular exercise will further prevent the development of any chronic diseases. Calcium and vitamin D found in many healthy foods help to increase bone health. Decreasing cholesterol, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium intake through healthy eating will reduce a person's chances of high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity and the diseases that can result.

Better Sleep

Engaging in regular exercise can make it easier to get quality sleep at night. Exercise allows the body to use up any excess energy and reduce the stress that can keep a person awake at night. Also, avoiding unhealthy foods that can lead to weight gain can reduce a person’s chances of developing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which can disrupt sleep. One of the common causes of sleep apnea is being overweight.

Self Esteem

Making healthy eating choices and engaging in regular exercise can positively impact a person’s self-esteem. Family Education reports that exercise increases self-esteem. The increase in self-esteem results from a sense of accomplishment that often comes with regular exercise and improvements to physical appearance that commonly occur with proper diet and exercise.

Photo Credits:

  • David Epperson/Photodisc/Getty Images

This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.