0 cigarettes per day:
We all know that smoking is bad; even regular smokers know that smoking is bad. Cigarette smoking leads to lung cancer and emphysema, however those are not the leading causes of death among smokers, heart disease is. Heart disease is also the leading cause of death among all Americans, but smoking heightens the risk.
The main cause of heart disease aggravated by smoking is atherosclerosis. This explains how fatty substances, plaque, are deposited along the linings of artery walls. The plaque builds up over time–hindering blood flow to and from the heart.
Smoking tobacco aggravates other risk factors for atherosclerosis. For example, high cholesterol is a leading cause of heart disease, and tobacco smoke lowers a person’s good cholesterol while increasing bad cholesterol. Additionally, nicotine and carbon monoxide contribute to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. Another leading cause of atherosclerosis is high blood pressure. Smoking does not cause high blood pressure, but will exacerbate the risk for dangerous high blood pressure in those who already suffer.
There is a long list of ways smoking negatively affects the body which include, but are certainly not limited to addiction, de-sensitivity of senses, premature aging, stained hair and teeth, gum disease, breathing issues and a weakened immune system.
If you are currently a non-smoker, keep up the good work. If you are looking to kick the habit, here are some tips from UHS.
5 fruits and vegetables per day:
According to MyPlate guidelines, fruits and vegetables should make up half of each meal. In addition to being great components of your breakfast, lunch and dinner, fruits and veggies make for convenient snack options.
They are nutritious in any form—fresh, frozen, canned, dried and 100% juice—since they are full of vitamins and minerals, keeping you healthy and energized.
Another reason to eat fruits and vegetables is for their low-calorie, but high-fiber, content. Fiber helps fill you up and keeps your digestive system happy. Fruits and veggies may also reduce your risk for certain diseases including heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
Slice and prepare your fruits and vegetables ahead of time and store them in the front of your fridge, freezer or pantry. This way, when you are looking for a snack or something to make for dinner, they are the first things you see. For more information on the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/
8 glasses of water per day:
The recommended amount of water you should be drinking per day is 8, 8 ounce glasses. However, some of us need more and some of us might need less. If you are exercising, you should be drinking more than the recommended amount of water per day. Also note that if you are drinking caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea or soda, these drinks dehydrate your body. Make sure you are drinking water to make up for caffeinated beverages—try drinking two glasses of water for every glass of caffeinated beverage. To help you keep up with your water consumption, get a water bottle with measurement markings on the side. Here is an online calculator to determine your recommended daily dose of water: http://nutrition.about.com/library/blwatercalculator.htm
30-minutes of exercise per day:
It is important to do at least 30-minutes of cardiovascular activity a day. For some of us busy college students, this isn’t necessarily in the cards. We can’t find time to fit the gym in between class, work and studying. But remember, you don’t have to do all your exercising at the gym. What you can do is make sure you are walking to your destinations whenever it is possible. My rule of thumb here: if it is going to take 30 minutes or less to walk somewhere, then do it.
Get Moving UMass has calculated the distances and times it takes to walk to and from different places on campus. Use their guidelines to plan your day. If you only make it to the Rec Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays, see if you can somehow incorporate 30-minutes of activity into your MWF schedule. This could mean you are walking to campus from your apartment. Sounds miserable? If you are like me, and cramming on the bus with 50 other people at 9AM, to get to your 9:30 class, walking actually sounds quite nice.
Another option for exercise would be taking the stairs up to your 10th floor dorm room. Another option, for OHill residents, is to take the long way up.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to break a sweat, just get moving. Staying active throughout the day will get your blood flowing which will subsequently help you stay awake in class and even elevate your positive mood.
10,000 steps per day:
Unless you have worn a pedometer lately, you probably have no idea how many steps you take in a day. How far is 10,000 steps exactly? The average person’s stride length is about 2.5 feet, which means that 10,000 steps will take you approximately 4.75 miles. This seems like a lot, but at a big school like UMass Amherst 10,000 steps is extremely feasible. A sedentary person may only average 1,000-3,000 steps per day, but in the Pioneer Valley, there is no excuse to be sedentary. To get moving, take a walk with your spouse, child, pet or a friend; use the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the store and get up to change the television station. When you are doing homework, get up every so often to stretch your legs—maybe fill your glass of water, make coffee, run out to get the mail or clean something you have been meaning to clean. If you are normally sedentary at work, don’t bulk all of your errands into one. If you need to run to the supply closet, grab a snack or make a phone call, make several different trips throughout your shift.