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Do you live a healthy lifestyle?

Health, health, health; it’s all we seem to hear about these days. Hours of television programming and advertisements are dedicated to the issue and pages upon pages of magazine and newspaper articles offer different, usually conflicting advice, on what it is to be well and live a healthy lifestyle.

Amongst all this confusing and varied advice, is a crucial and unarguable constant: health is such a hot topic, simply because it is so important. While the effort to keep healthy may seem daunting, in actual fact it is dwarfed by the benefits brought about by making such changes. Whether it's alterations to your diet or investing in some home exercise equipment, changing your life for the better is as easy as it is important.

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The first facet of life that springs to mind when people mention health is inevitably exercise and keeping fit. The benefits of regular activity are numerous and go beyond the immediately obvious. One of the most important improvements exercise will bring to your life is a significantly decreased risk of heart disease, while other cardiovascular risks such as high blood pressure are also reduced.

Age should place no restriction on a person's attempt to exercise. Numerous mobility aids are available to keep older generations active and help them retain their strength and independence. Keeping fit is simply a case of finding the right exercise for your needs and abilities. Even something as simple as a regular walk can greatly improve your quality of life; a swim is even more advantageous as it greatly reduces the stress placed on joints.

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The other major factor to consider when looking for a healthy lifestyle is diet. The 'five a day' drum has been banged often enough for everyone to be aware of it but sticking to these portions of fruit and vegetables is nigh on useless if the rest of your diet is a poor mix of the wrong sorts of food.

There is, however, no need for a draconian banning, omission or avoidance of any foods; as is so often the case in life, the key is balance and moderation. Fruit and vegetables should take up approximately one third of your daily diet; which can be easily achieved by making them part of every meal.

Another third should be occupied by bread, rice, potatoes and pasta. These starchy carbohydrates are the body's main source of energy. Unrefined carbohydrates are better as they will contain the whole of the grain and will therefore be rich in fibre and other healthy nutrients. Protein from meat, fish and eggs is important for both muscle growth and repair while dairy products, in moderation, play an important role in the provision of calcium. Food and drinks that are high in fat and sugar should take up the smallest amount of space on your daily healthy plate.

Regular and effective sleep can also have a great impact on your health. The ideal target for adults is a minimum of seven and a half hours shuteye a night. For some, this necessity can rise to nine. Of course, getting the right amount of sleep is sometimes something that isn't practically possible. Work, family and the stresses of modern life can often result in disturbed, shortened sleep patterns. A number of sleep aids are on hand to combat this and ensure that, when you do get your head down, you are rested and recharged properly.

Nearly all facets of life can pale into insignificance and be negatively affected if your health is poor. Start making a few simple changes today and enjoy all the benefits of a new lease of life.