By Liggy Webb crack
Your body is an amazing machine. Your heart beats, your blood goes around, your lungs breathe and your digestive system merrily gurgles away. Most of the time, especially when we are younger, we don’t even need to think about all those bodily functions and we take them for granted. However, as we grow older, we become increasingly aware of how important it is to look after our bodies, especially as we are now living longer and physical preservation is a key consideration.
A man too busy to take care of his health is like a mechanic too busy to take care of his tools
- Spanish Proverb
First of all, let’s get one thing straight – there is nobody on this planet who is exactly the same as you. There are many principles that apply to us all as members of the human race , for example, we all need to move and fuel ourselves to keep going; however, to what extent will vary from each individual. You are essentially the evolutionary dynamics that you have inherited from your parents and the genetically-inherited strengths and weaknesses. The complex interaction of these factors ensures that each individual is born unique although clearly similar to other people.
Understanding ourselves and what works best for us is the first step to better health and personal performance. There are however some key aspects of exercise and nutrition that are fundamental to all of us.
The lack of physical activity is probably the greatest reason why obesity figures are rising. You need to increase your physical activity if you want to lose weight; however, exercise is also good for your all-round health and wellbeing.
Remember too that exercise helps you to make a very positive investment for your future. While we worry about our pensions and make provision materially do we also consider whether we are going to be healthy and active enough in later life to enjoy our retirement. We are living longer these days – therefore our long term health is an increasingly concerning issue.
No matter who you are or where you live, the very fact that you are alive depends on you eating and keeping hydrated. Even the sight and smell of food can trigger the release of a pleasurable and rewarding chemical called dopamine in your brain.
However, while a delicious meal and a drink can be one of the most satisfying sensory experiences, it is also responsible for some of our greatest health problems.
You are essentially what you eat. Each human being is made up of roughly 63 per cent water, 22 per cent protein, 13 per cent fat and 2 per cent minerals and vitamins. Every single molecule comes from the food you eat and the water you drink. Eating the highest quality food in the right quantities helps you to achieve your highest potential for health, vitality and freedom from disease.
However, many people who believe that they have a healthy, well-balanced diet with all the necessary nutrients are misguided. Part of the problem is propaganda and consumerism. It is not easy in today’s society (in which food production is inextricably linked to profit). Refining foods makes them last longer, which makes them more profitable yet, at the same time, deficient in essential nutrients.
Nothing in Western society really teaches us to be healthy (apart from any wisdom that our parents may impart). The media has embarked upon many well-intentioned health campaigns; however, so many mixed messages are now sent out about what is good for you, and what is not, that many of us are left in a state of confusion about what constitutes a healthy, well-balanced diet.
The key really is to keep it simple and the fundamentals of weight management is not rocket science. It simply equates to calories in (food) versus calories out (exercise). We also know that drinking plenty of water has numerous health benefits and keeps us hydrated and energised. Whilst we cannot get it right all the time and we are surrounded by temptation, a good approach is to apply the 80/20 rule and if we can get it right 80% of the time then that is fantastic!
Healthy Living - Useful Tips
• Start each day with a hot water and lemon.
• Drink herbal and green teas instead of caffeinated drinks.
• Aim to drink 2 litres of water a day.
• Never skip breakfast.
• Avoid refined sugar.
• Avoid refined carbohydrates.
• Snack on fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
• Wear a pedometer and do 10,000 steps each day.
• Avoid drinking alcohol every day.
• Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.
The Happy Handbook
A Compendium of Modern Life Skills
by Liggy Webb is out now.
Or call: 01242 700027