Most of us start a diet and fitness program as a way to look healthier. We want to lose weight, lose fat, build muscle, and generally improve our appearance. We tend to notice only after chasing a buff body the "side-effect" of not just looking better but feeling so much better as well. But what about our long-term health? Living healthy not only improves our quality of life in the present, it also decreases the odds of developing many ailments and diseases in the future. If you are looking for motivation for sticking with your healthy lifestyle, consider it a maintenance program for your long-term health.

1. Foods For Disease Prevention

Fibre helps with digestion and has the added benefit of helping clear out many of the processed foods that pile up in our digestive tract which can contribute to cancers in the digestive system. Fibre will also lower your blood cholesterol so try to have some fibre with every meal.

Many of us just don't drink enough water. Never mind the fitness benefits of helping you lean down faster, assisting with digestion, and boosting your physical performance it also helps flush toxins out of the body.

Anti-oxidants foods (foods high in...) help maintain cardiovascular and heart health as well as are a preventative method against cancer.

2. Heart Health

As mentioned above, eating well will greatly contribute to your overall cardiovascular and heart health. Exercise also plays a big role in maintaining a strong heart. Think of it as a case of use it or lose it. If you live a sedentary lifestyle you will slower wither away over the years. Or you can enjoy the body you were born with in every way possible. We all love the feeling after a good bout of physical exertion; we just sometimes need motivation to start our workout. Chase that good feeling much like a runner chasing the runner's high and your heart will thank you for it.

3. Skeletal Strength

In particular, strength training whether with your body weight or with actual weights will maintain bone density. Many of us,  run the risk of developing osteoporosis as we age. Strength training will greatly reduce this risk. Increased bone density, improved muscle strength, better balance -- these three things will dramatically improve your later years and increase your longevity. Only these health improvements can help prevent a bad fall, which is often a turning point in an elderly person's life

4. Mental Health

Moderate exercise for only a few days a week has been shown to have the same effect on patients with mild depression as low doses of anti-depressants. The fact is our hormonal and chemical balance is best achieved when we are exercising regularly and eating well. So if you're feeling a little low, try to get moving and see what it does for your mood.

At the end of the day, following a healthy diet and fitness plan has a myriad of rewards. The reasons to be healthy far outweigh a sedentary lifestyle.