What Are Some of the Most Important Elements of Health and Wellness?

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According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the pillars of a healthy lifestyle are a balanced diet, physical activity, effective stress management and regular medical checkups. It's also important to avoid smoking and all tobacco products, maintain a healthy weight and limit alcohol consumption.

The basics of a healthy diet include eating plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains every day, says the CDC. It's important to limit the intake of high-calorie foods, sugar, salt and fat. Additionally, adults should engage in physically active for at least 150 minutes each week. Together with a healthy diet, this level of activity helps to decrease the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and certain kinds of cancer. Exercise also helps decrease the symptoms of depression and anxiety and improves overall mental health.

Staying well also involves protecting oneself and one's family from injury and illness, according to the CDC. This includes maintaining good hygiene, especially hand-washing, and taking precautions to prevent accidental injuries, such as wearing seat belts in the car, wearing helmets when riding a bike or motorcycle, and wearing sunscreen and insect repellent outdoors. Additionally, adults should get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Adequate rest, a balance between work, play and family, and maintaining a positive outlook are important factors in coping effectively with stress.

The CDC emphasizes the importance of regular health check-ups in maintaining good health. Getting the appropriate screenings for heart disease, diabetes and different types of cancer can help people live longer, healthier lives.