Life, in its most basic form, is best lived when one is feeling well. The body is the vessel for the mind and soul and when its health is out of balance, it can affect one’s spirit in profound ways. The deepest motivations can come from ‘feeling great’ and similarly, the most crippling bouts of sadness or lethargy can come when one feels sick, tired, or defeated.
So what’s the best way to stay healthy? The answer has been the subject of discussion for millennia. Hundreds of lifestyle regimens exist, most claiming to be “the” way. Fortunately, modern science has helped guide us in the right direction, both providing new insights and giving credence to the traditional medicine that actually works. Most of all, it’s helped us understand that one’s health routine should be individualized, based on their specific needs, and employ healthy doses of preventative medicine. Steps to better health should be first based in one’s lifestyle, and the reasoning is simple: lifestyle diseases are now one of the most common killers in the world.
Best of all, these habits don’t need to be difficult to maintain. Just an ounce of effort can help better direct you to healthier, happier living:
1. Start Right, Eat Smart
No matter how hard you train or how much acupuncture you get, your body won’t be well without wholesome, nutritious food. What we eat serves as the building blocks of our body, and there’s no skirting around that face. Simply put: if your dietary choices are poor, health isn’t something that will easily be attainable, if at all.
So what is eating smart? While it can depend on your body (allergies, metabolic sensitivities), there’s a scientific consensus on what is required for good health: a proper balance of macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats, and proteins) and the satisfaction of essential nutrients, the nutrients that our bodies require, but cannot produce themselves (like Vitamin C in citrus fruits). Your diet should satisfy your hunger, and you should take care to properly manage portion control. By splitting up meals and snacking throughout the day, you enable your body to better absorb nutrients and remain full feeling.
It doesn’t stop there. You should also be focusing on eating clean – a term used to describe not necessarily the cleanliness of food, but the quality and integrity of the food. Highly-processed foods, even when enriched, can be less satisfying and less effective sources of nutrition, when compared to a well-rounded, whole food diet. In general, avoid overly processed foods with high amounts of added sugar and salt.
2. Make Time for Fitness
Unless your job requires you to be on your feet all day, it’s essential to make time for fitness. There are different suggestions for a “minimum” amount of time needed to be healthy, but the goal here shouldn’t to just scrape by into good health. Make it a point to spend 30 minutes to an hour of each day doing some form of exercise, whether that’s cardio or weightlifting, or something else. By turning fitness into a habit, you’ll be able to maintain a healthy body and keep yourself feeling physically great – not only does fitness lead to a better body, but it can help you relax and feel better, as it releases endorphins that kill pain and elevate mood.
So, next time you feel a bit down, get down and give it 20. You may just push yourself out of a bad mood or feeling!
3. Include Alternative, Preventative Methods
Beyond eating right and exercising often, incorporating more alternative, preventative methods into your daily life can also go a long way to curb disease and keep you feeling great. Yoga, for example, is an excellent complementary exercise regimen to your routine. It can help build muscle in new areas you may be missing, and it also has significant health benefits for peace of mind and the sensation of wellness.
Other methods include frequenting saunas, steam rooms, or salt water tubs, all of which can help relax muscles and improve mood. They each come with their own set of benefits, too. Saunas relieves tension and helps lower joint pain; steam rooms can open up airways and alleviate congestions (especially if paired with an essential oil); and salt water tubs can reduce swelling, soften skin, and relieve tension.
Keep it Consistent
Most of all, maintain consistency with your measures for good health. This doesn’t mean you can’t take a cheat day, or skip a workout once and while, but it does mean that you take a conscious effort to your health and wellness. Set up timers, make a schedule, and remember that good health starts with you!