Getting enough exercise is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. Physical inactivity itself is a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. And increasing exercise helps improve other risk factors by lowering blood pressure and triglyceride levels, raising HDL, and improving glucose tolerance even if no weight is lost. Exercise helps in both achieving and maintaining weight loss, and improves cardiorespiratory fitness. By improving mood, self-esteem, and physical functioning, exercise helps to improve overall quality of life.
Make It a Family Affair
Whether or not they are at risk for heart disease, everyone benefits from a healthy lifestyle. And working together may make developing healthier habits easier by providing positive reinforcement and motivation and by not placing temptation in the way.
Overweight children may have an easier time losing weight if overweight parents do so too.
It's Never Too Early to Start
Although diet and lifestyle change originally focused on treating patients who already had heart disease or multiple risk factors, it has become increasingly apparent that the best time to initiate healthy habits is before bad habits have taken their toll. Bad habits often start early. Obesity, poor diet, and inadequate physical activity are increasingly common among children and adolescents, and they are highly likely to continue through adulthood. The key to making one's golden years truly golden may be to establish healthy habits early and stick with them for life.