Let’s talk today about the main factors of good health and what we can do to prolong our life and not just prolong it, but to be in our best health and shape and not sick with chronic diseases.
General health and overall wellbeing is maintained and strengthened by a combination of a few equally important factors, and the outcome is a result of our daily actions.. All of these factors are in our control, you and only you choose what you eat, how much you move, how long you sleep, etc.
I tell my clients that they have the power to take control of their health, they can choose to be healthy through the decisions they make on a daily basis. The lifestyle choices are simple. As I often say, your body is like a car. Take care of it and it will run for a long time. Don’t give the proper maintenance and it will break down.
So, let’s look at those factors more closely.
Diet is the single-most important factor that determines our health. The quality of the food we eat—and most importantly, the nutrients it contains—is what determines whether we simply survive, or thrive. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of the calories mot of the people consume come from flour, sugar and industrial seed refined oils, foods that have none of the nutrients our bodies need to function properly.
The ideal human diet consists of real, nutrient-filled, whole foods and eliminates or reduces the processed and refined “factory made foods” that have become the staple of modern diet. Food provides carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins antioxidants and minerals essential for our bodies. Drinking water is also essential as that is the single largest component of the human body. We should be eating foods that are full of the nutrients listed above and not the foods made of empty calories. A chocolate bar, for example, has calories but no vitamins or minerals, unless it is made of raw unprocessed cacao and raw cacao butter. I have a nice recipe of raw chocolate on my website, it’s very easy to make it yourself at home – http://bowlofgoodness.com/2016/03/08/raw-chocolate/
2. Movement and Exercise
We are designed to be physically active, yet unfortunately in the modern world many of us sit the entire day at work and most of the evening too, in front of computer or TV. I watch more and more children becoming obese because of unhealthy lifestyle they lead from early childhood. It is down to unhealthy food their parents often choose for them, and also their addiction to iPads, playstations and mobile phones, which eventually makes them less interested in movement games and outdoor activities.
The key to overcoming our sedentary lifestyles is integrating more physical activity throughout our days, by sitting less, standing and walking more, performing our own chores, housework, and gardening, and finding opportunities to move whenever possible. It’s always easy to hire a cleaner or a gardener, but you can always do a part of their job, just to keep you going.
There are 3 general categories of exercise: aerobic, strength training, and stretching. Aerobic exercises are things like walking, hiking, swimming and cycling. These exercises help your heart and lungs stay healthy and should be ideally performed on a daily basis, at least walking for 30 minutes. Strength training may involve using weights but also includes push-ups, sit-ups, etc. Strength training helps build and maintain muscle mass, and we need well developed muscles for performing daily tasks. When your muscles become weak then your bones and joints take the pressure and things can start going wrong. And stretching exercises keep us flexible an help to maintain mobility. Healthy spine is healthy you! Yoga is excellent for that.
Scientists told us many times that most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep to function properly. Yet many of us are now getting fewer than 6 hours of sleep each night. We keep staring at our phones even lying in bed, or simply cannot fall asleep because we had a very stressful day. This is a massive problem nowadays, because sleep deprivation affects literally every cell and organ system in the body. Not getting enough sleep is associated with everything from obesity to diabetes to autoimmune disease to Alzheimer’s. Those who sleep on average of 7-8 hours at night also slow down ageing process.
The keys to improving your sleep are making it a priority, reducing your exposure to artificial light at night, creating a sleep-friendly environment, and eating sleep-promoting foods for dinner in the evening. It can be a small bowl of oats, or sweet potato with some butter, or slice of turkey. All these foods will help you to fall asleep easier.
4. Stress management
Chronic stress is profoundly affects our health, but that many of us simply ignore. This is unfortunate, because no matter what diet you follow, how much you exercise and what supplements you take, if you’re not managing your stress you will still be at risk for modern degenerative conditions like heart disease, diabetes, thyroid problems, and autoimmune disease. I personally developed a serious thyroid condition called hyperthyroidism after a period of stress and it took me a year to restore a balance in my body.
Try to have a positive mental attitude as well as negative thoughts and emotions can actually change your body chemistry and in a sense poison your body. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but generally having a positive attitude towards your life is much healthier. Also, as I mentioned earlier, keep an eye on the health of your spine, which is easiest to do through daily yoga stretching. Chiropractors also check the spine for proper alignment and mobility because of the affects it has on the nervous system. The brain communicates with the body through the nervous system. If there is problem with this connection health problems can arise.
You can also try meditation to learn mindfulness. It is not for everyone, but everyone can give it a try. You never know, you may actually enjoy it and change the way you think and feel about your experiences, especially stressful experiences. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and body sensations to become directly aware of them, and be better able to manage them as it helps find peace in a modern fast world.
Neuroscientific studies find that meditation increases blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and protects people at risk of developing hypertension: it also reduces the risk and severity of cardiovascular disease, and the risk of dying from it.
People become less likely to get stuck in depression and exhaustion, and are better able to control their behaviour. In our modern fast lives we don’t always know how to pay proper attention to what we are doing, so we miss whole parts of our lives, experiences, and easily get caught in over-thinking – damaging our well-being and making us depressed and exhausted.
Here is my way to meditate – go outside and connect with the nature! For me it works best!
5. Having fun, happiness and purpose in life.
Last but not least, happiness is really important to have a healthy lifestyle. You can have a great diet, excellent sleep and exercise routine, but what is the point of it if you are not happy? Every morning when you wake up, you should smile and feel that you have a great day ahead of you. When you are happy, all aspects of your lifestyle will support you and everything will fall into place. Happiness also leads to a better function of immune and digestive system, better sleep, better appetite, and also prevents you from getting into depression. It is very important that you actually enjoy every day of your life, you do what you love, you are surrounded by people you like, and you feel your purpose in life. Nothing is worse than your mechanical performance at tedious work on a daily basis without getting any satisfaction from what you do. Never be scared to stop, observe the situation and start your life/job/relationship again, whatever it takes. And it often requires getting out of your comfort zone but don’t be afraid, it is always better to try and see where it brings you than never try at all!