In its most pragmatic terms, health is basically: living (or dying, depending on how you look at it) gracefully.
All of Nature, from little ferns to humans to ancient elephants, when born begin a journey through life toward death. It’s the biology of life. We all start fresh and pink, and if we’re lucky to die of old age, we end the journey wizened and, well… used up.
But things work so much better when they’re new! So the trick to a joyful (and long) life is to treat your body with respect and keep it as new as possible. Healthy living is knowing what the body needs to slow down the aging process, and then doing it so you can maintain your youth.
But how do you get healthy? What is health ? Wouldn’t it be nice if someone just gave you some healthy living guidelines so you get started finding what your body needs to function at your optimal levels? Well, here you are! The following 10 tips are guaranteed to improve your health:
- Nutrition . Your body is literally made up of what you eat , nutrients are the building blocks of your cells. Strive towards balanced meals (high quality protein, carbs and fats) made from whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts and seeds) throughout the day.
- Sleep. Everyone has their own optimal level of sleep, which fluctuates throughout a lifetime and from day to day. Whether you need 5 hours or 9, sleep is an essential part of healthy living as it is designated rest and repair time. This is where your body shuts down the systems that require tons of energy to run and redirects that energy into healing.
- Exercise. If you don’t use it, you lose it. Your body looks to efficiently use its resources so if you’re not using something, it cleverly reallocates it into what you are using. We need to continually strengthen our minds and bodies if we want them to work well for longer. But it’s a delicate balance: work them too hard and you suffer from wear and tear; don’t use them enough and atrophy results. Do cardio to work your heart, strength training for your muscles and meditation to strengthen the mind.
- Oxygen and Nitric Oxide . Take a deep breath, and you can calm your nervous system instantly or get the power and strength to do just…one… more… push up. Oxygen is indisputably important to our health and survival. Get your oxygen through activities like running, stretching or meditation. Nitric Oxide (NO) is what relaxes and dilates our blood vessels. Drs. Oz and Roizen in their 3rd book of the YOU series, “YOU: Staying Young” says the lack of NO explains the detrimental effects of stress and low sleep. Get your NO supply by breathing in through your nose.
- Water . Almost as important as air, water is essential to bodily functions and plays an important part in hygiene, including the regular detoxification .
- Reduce Intake & Increase Elimination of Toxins. It’s no secret that toxins are poisons and that poison harms the body, if not causes it to shut down altogether. There are different levels of toxicity, and each person has their own level of acceptable tolerance to different poisons. Whatever the story, the ending is the same: toxicity breaks down our bodies. If we reduce our exposure to and increase the elimination of toxins , then we partially control the rate at which we age.
- Eat More Fiber. Part of aging is the ever increasing inefficiency of our biological systems. As with any man-made machine, over time dirt accumulates and starts to bung up proper functioning. As we age, our different body systems do the same. Our digestive system ranks second in importance to only the central nervous system. By increasing our fiber intake as we age, we are combating the natural deterioration of this essential part of our excretory system.
- Balance Personal Hygiene. There is an ecosystem of beneficial bacteria to harmful bacteria. If we’re too hygienic, we risk getting rid of the good bacteria that naturally help us defend ourselves against the bad bacteria. There is much to learn in this area, let’s learn together in a future Live Lighter series. For now, think about replenishing your gut flora with naturally fermented foods like yogurt and kefir, and regularly wash your body and environment using natural cleaners , like vinegar and tree tea oil.
- Work towards Positive Mental Health. Without a positive outlook, life is a struggle. Things, I mean, living is SO much easier without destructive emotional dramas. Healthy living is a well-documented, all-natural method to mental stability. Everything on this list will help improve your mental health, making it easier to see the positive side of anything that comes flying your way. Being positive relieves stress, and being relaxed will allow you to tap into your creativity and be productive. This way, you can constructively use your energy to find solutions to challenges, rather than use it destructively to complain and lament.
- Learn Good Stress Management. As with all of these tips, we each have our own optimal level of stress. We need stress for motivation, to grow, to propel us forward into continual change – it’s a natural component of living! But too much will harm you so it’s helpful to learn positive ways to turn it off at will. Activities like exercise, meditation, hobbies, talking to your friends and spouse, or even petting your cat are all good stress management techniques. Watch you don’t use them to escape from reality, though. You can tell whether it’s a genuine de-stressor by analyzing how you feel afterward. You should be relaxed, but refreshed and inspired to take on the challenges of life.
Time (or age) is simply a measurement of change. Our bodies and minds are the physical manifestation of the concept of time, the evidence of living. You have the choice in how you live your life. If you want to age gracefully, pay a little more attention to balancing the above 10 areas and you’ll improve your life now and in the future.
The best part to all this is that it’s never too late to reap the benefits of health! Ask any health professional and they will tell you that healthy living actually reverses aging and adds years to your lifetime. Again, it’s up to you.
So, did I miss any important aspects to healthy living? Let us know in the comments below. And if you liked this post, please bookmark it, Digg it or rate it on Stumble Upon.