A map to your health
The human body is a complex machine. As food is taken in, the body converts it to energy in order to power all of the processes that keep it alive and functioning. This energy is also used to create or repair tissues including muscle, bone and organs. That body you have is your body for life. You need to take care of it with a combination of healthy eating and exercise.
When someone engages in hard physical work every day for a living, exercising is rarely a concern. Farming, hunting and other manual labor will keep most people in good shape. But in today's world of information technology, a large percentage of the population works in sedentary office jobs where their bodies store calories and their joints and muscles become weak from lack of exercise.
This means that Western societies have seen a movement toward fitness centers, gyms and physical fitness programs, all to provide the human body with the physical challenges it was built to meet. In combination with exercise, it's important to eat a healthy and varied diet that meets your caloric, vitamin and mineral needs, without supplying unnecessary amounts of fat, salt or additives.
Maintaining a good level of health and fitness translates into a number of benefits. Not only does staying fit mean that the body is better equipped to handle the various challenges it faces every day, but also improves physical appearance, psychological state of mind, and can improve a number of health concerns including stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression and high blood pressure.
Health and fitness can be measured in a number of ways. Body fat percentage is the measurement of the amount of body mass that is composed of fat tissue. What is considered a healthy body fat percentage depends on the sex of the individual. Women have a higher recommended body fat percentage than men.
Another scale that defines an individual's ideal or healthy weight is the body mass index (BMI). Individuals are placed in weight categories on the index given their height and weight. For example, the average male (at a height of 5 feet, 9 inches) would be considered underweight at 124 pounds or less, normal weight from 125 to 168 points, overweight at 169 to 202 pounds and obese at 203 pounds or more. You can find body mass index charts and calculators online.
Some individuals have taken fitness and physique to the next level, making it a full time job or at least a significant part of their life. These body builders carefully manage their diet, exercise and body building supplement intake to maximize muscle growth and definition. Information on body building is available on a number of websites, and many famous body builders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, have also written books on the subject.
While some choose the body building route, that does not mean that the rest of us need to be ripped to be healthy. Practicing good food nutrition and engaging in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes a day is a great place to start. You may even want to consider finding a job that keeps you active. A healthy body is a happy body!