There’s been a post recently showing images of people who are deeply depressed, yet able to smile into the camera, thus hiding their struggle. It strikes a chord among so many young, otherwise vibrant people who look fit, stay resilient to seasonal illnesses and still carry a burden that hinders their health.
Crafting your own health-maintenance and improvement plan starts with several essential choices you can make every day in order to live better and stay healthy inside and out.
Enjoy the cold
As the crisp cold settles in your back yard, you prefer to sit indoors, thinking you’re safe and sound where you can think toasty thoughts. Unfortunately, the warmth and lack of physical activity can be detrimental to your wellbeing, not just your immune system, although it takes a battering too.
Hikes in nature, spending time in the fresh air, roaming in the cold (but well-dressed) help your body produce more of your immunity cells that fend off colds and viruses. It also lets you get your daily dose of vitamin D through sunlight, and your productivity will also benefit from the great outdoors.
Can you imagine a truly healthy life without nurturing your relationships? Or without an occasional good book, a walk with your pooch, or a sip of hot chocolate? You may even be safeguarding your immune system quite successfully without attending to your other needs, but these are equally relevant in making your life complete.
In order to minimize the effects of stress, finding the right strategies can contribute to your health as much as the next flu-shot. Consider meditation, a hot bath, whatever helps you enter your Zen mode. Handling stress will in turn lower your cortisol production, thus warding off the pesky flu and creating a mindset that supports self-care.
A nutrition boost
No truly healthy life can go without proper munchies. And those of you who appreciate the impact of a good exercise routine understand the value of a healthy meal plan that fuels your level of physical activity and your wellbeing. Maybe even your work requires extra care in your diet to handle the long hours, stress, or travelling to different time-zones and other excruciating conditions.
Sometimes your three square meals will be all you need to keep your body happy and healthy. But add to that your weekly training effort and the increased exposure to viruses, and you need a nutrient boost. Introduce quality protein supplements to your menu, along with immune-boosting vitamins and minerals, and you will give your body the ammo it needs to maintain a resilient body and protect your high spirits.
Fitness for health
All-around wellness starts with your mindset. So, if you are training for abs only, your health and confidence may suffer. The age-old adage that your body is a temple still stands true, and when you’re guided by your desire to live long and live well, your exercise regime will reflect that attitude, your immune system will reap the rewards, and this behavior alone will be the cornerstone of a healthy life.
According to David Nieman, DrPH, “people who exercise for 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week have a 46% reduction in the number of days of illness compared with those who didn’t exercise”. That means getting your heartrate up on a regular basis, whether it’s with a brisk walk, a jog, or a lifting session, as long as you keep it in reasonable amounts to avoid over-training or too little activity.
And while you’re doing your best to eat well and train, if you don’t give your body enough rest every night, the effects of other healthy choices will be minimized. You’ll be cranky, drowsy, negative and less productive than usual, pushing your body into a mode that doesn’t support self-care and makes you more prone to poor decisions and unhealthy choices.
Let your body and mind rest, heal and restore your energy levels, combine that with healthy foods and ample exercise, and you will be less likely to crave a ton of chocolate, a smoke, or a bottle of red too many. Building will-power starts with consistent Zzz’s, and the rest will follow suit.