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Health and the Body

Keeping fit and staying healthy have, not surprisingly, become a growth industry. Quite apart from the amount of money spent each year on doctors’ prescriptions and approved medical treatment, huge sums are now spent on health foods and drugs of various kinds, from vitamin pills to mineral water, not to mention clubs and keep-fit books and videos. We are more concerned than ever, it seems, about the water we drink and the air we breathe, and are smoking less, though not yet drinking less alcohol. This does not appear to mean that coughs and sneezes have been banished, or that we can all expect to live to a hundred. To give a personal example, one of my friends, who is a keep-fit fanatic, a non-smoker and teetotaler, and who is very detailed about what he eats, is at present languishing in bed with a wrist in plaster and a badly sprained ankle. Part of his healthy lifestyle is to play squash every day after work, and that accounts for the ankle. He also cycles everywhere, and if you have ever tried to cycle through the rush-hour traffic with a sprained ankle, you will understand how he acquired the broken wrist. For health, it seems, is not just a matter of a good diet and plenty of exercise. Too much exercise can be harmful, as many joggers have discovered. Eating the right food can easily become an obsession, as can overworking, which you might have to do so as to be able to afford your membership of the squash club, your mountain bike, your health food, and a few holidays in peaceful and healthy places.


7. Answer and discuss the following questions:

What two health problems may be caused by too much cholesterol?

Plague can also form on teeth. Do you try to encourage or prevent this?

What do eggs, shellfish and offal have in common?

What sorts of food contain fibre?

Why is fibre useful?

For what three conditions might doctors recommend running as a form of exercise?

How far an average does someone have to run to use up 500 calories?

In what way does this vary from person to person?

What mental health problem is also improved by running?

Why does running help with this problem?


8. Read two texts given below, explain the words in bold and see if your guesses were right:

Cholesterol and Health

Cholesterol only becomes a problem when you have too much of it and it starts to promote the production of a fatty plague that can clog the arteries. Interruption of blood flow to a main heart vessel can cause a heart attack; a blocked vessel on the way to the brain could cause a stroke.

Some say that cholesterol-rich foods such as eggs, shellfish and offal should be banished from the diet, but these foods don’t significantly raise cholesterol levels. The cholesterol in them is broken down quite efficiently and then excreted, so they are fine to eat in moderation.

Fibre produces substances that help to clear the blood of bad cholesterol and acts as a “buffer”, so less fat is brought into contact with blood vessels and less is absorbed. Fibre also keeps bad cholesterol within the gut from where it can be excreted.


Running and Calories

Running, or swift walking, uses the major muscle groups, making it the most efficient form of cardiovascular exercise. It has been shown to have a positive effect on blood fats by reducing cholesterol levels. It also lowers blood pressure and helps diabetics by improving glucose tolerance and reducing insulin resistance.

Running is a very efficient way to burn calories. Converting your weight into pounds and then multiplying the result by 75 per cent will give you the amount you burn per mile. The average is about 500 calories for every three miles. If you did this three times a week, you’d lose ½ lb a week, 2lb a month or 24lb a year.

This all-round form of exercise is used in the treatment of mental illness and depression, because it is thought to raise levels of the mood enhancer, serotonin.


  1. Suggest opposites for the underlined words:

can unblock the arteries, glucose intolerance, to lower serotonin levels, a mood depressant,gentle walking, gain 2 lbs a week.


  1. Read the following text and answer the questions:

What can we compare our body with? Why?

What is a human body?

What things are people getting more and more concerned nowadays?

Why is a professional sportsman a pleasure to look at?

Why is swimming an excellent exercise?

Why is yoga an ideal option?

Why is dancing the greatest way to combine pleasure and fitness?


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 7655

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