So you want to be healthy? It seems like every day we’re inundated with a new diet, fitness routine, or supplement that will (supposedly) make us superhuman.
But is there really a single answer to the question of how to achieve optimal health?
Turns out, there are several foundational pillars that are essential for anyone looking to improve their wellbeing (hint, it’s not a supplement.)
So let’s lay down some basic definitions first and then, discuss the foundational pillars, and see how you can implement them in your life, for your wellbeing.
How Do We Define Health?
So, what is health, really? Is it merely the absence of disease? Or is there more to it than that?
Some people might say that health is a state of being free from physical and mental illness.
Others argue that it is a state of balance and harmony, both within ourselves and with the world around us.
Personally, I believe that health is about more than just the absence of disease. It is about feeling good mentally as well as physically, and about having a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives.
In short, it is about thriving, not just surviving.
With this in mind, let’s have a look at the fundamentals of health, which anyone can work on, to improve their overall wellbeing!
Most people associate nutritious foods with fitness, maintaining a healthy body weight, and recovering after a workout.
However, many people don't realize that nutrition is actually one of the most important pillars of human health.
In fact, without proper nutrition, our bodies would be unable to function properly.
Every cell in our body needs certain nutrients in order to function optimally. For example, our brain cells need omega-3 fatty acids in order to maintain their structure and function.
Our skeletal muscles need protein in order to grow and repair themselves, and so on and so forth.
Simply put, without adequate nutrition, our bodies would quickly break down.
Thankfully, by making smart food choices, we can ensure that our bodies always have the nutrients they need to function at their best.
In fact, one of the best ways to ensure your body is getting sufficient nutrition is to exclude highly-processed foods and focus on nutritious, whole foods, such as animal products, fruits, and vegetables.
Most people think that taking care of your health takes a lot of time, it’s almost as if you either take care of it and maintain it or ignore it and fall apart.
But the truth is, our bodies are complex mechanisms that evolved to keep us alive, no matter what.
One of the things the body does to recover and repair itself is… Sleep!
You may not have realized it, but some of the most important work your body does happens while you're asleep.
Sleep is involved in consolidating memories, repairing tissue, and regulating hormones.
It's also critical for maintaining a healthy immune system.
In fact, sleep deprivation can actually increase your risk of developing chronic health problems.
With that being said, if you had to pick two of the things on the list, in the context of improving health, shoot for a nutritious plate and a good night’s sleep!
Often when people hear the word "exercise" they immediately think of hardcore workouts at the gym or running a marathon.
However, exercise does not have to be strenuous in order to be beneficial for our health.
Even simply being active and not sedentary can be beneficial for you.
Nevertheless, there are many compelling reasons to make exercise a part of your daily routine (in fact, there are basically no downsides if you exercise within reason.)
For one, it can help to improve your mental health. Regular exercise has been shown to reduce stress levels, improve mood, and promote cognitive function.
So even if you don't think you need to exercise, it's worth considering the many benefits that come with a regular fitness routine.
Excluding Toxic Habits
Most of us have at least one bad habit we'd like to kick. Whether it's smoking, biting our nails or overeating, bad habits can have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing.
Not only can they harm our physical health, but they can also lead to feelings of stress and anxiety.
However, breaking a bad habit isn't always easy.
It takes time, effort, and determination. But it's worth it!
Avoiding toxic habits is one of the best ways to boost health and wellbeing. When we break a bad habit, we not only improve our physical health, but we also feel more confident and empowered.
We also open time for things that are better for us and therefore, become more productive, efficient, and creative.
So what are you waiting for? Start working on those bad habits today! You'll be glad you did.
As you can see, there are a number of different factors that go into creating and maintaining good health.
While it may seem like a lot to think about, these pillars provide a strong foundation for living a healthy life.
What do you think is the most important pillar? Have you made any changes in your life recently to support your health?
Let us know in the comments below!