Monday, 10 May 2021

A natural approach to achieving Optimal Health through well-being and nutrition


What is Optimal Health? This term means an holistic approach to obtaining the best possible version of ourselves. Optimal Health promotes healthier behaviours and not merely the absence of illness and disease. The message here is prevention and risk avoidance. We need to learn about ourselves and about self care. We should understand what is good for our well-being both physically and mentally, from the exercise we do to the food we put into our bodies. We aim to be in good physical health so that our bodily functions are working at their peak. Regular exercise, balanced nutrition, adequate rest and a calm mind all contribute to good health

We have miraculous body's that work harmoniously within all it's activities from digestion to hormone release. We allow our body to keep us healthy without actually acknowledging all that it does. We don't sit and ponder on the mechanics or biochemistry of our being but we rely on our body's to keep going and repair itself whilst we sleep. Our body is designed to express optimal health and well-being. A highly functional, energetic and happy physique. 

1. Nutrition

For us to attain optimal health we need to provide the body with good nutrition. We should nourish our body not fuel it with unhealthy, disease promoting junk foods. The most effective way to achieve this is to minimise the consumption of today's packaged foods and sugar laden treats. We need to eat 'natural' unprocessed foods and cook from scratch. The food we eat should be as 'clean' as feasibly possible with the time we have available to prepare and cook our meals. Basically, avoid food in packets where possible and if the listed ingredients on the packaging looks like a 'chemical storm'.......then definitely steer clear. Food prepping is a great way to practice clean eating. Cooking from fresh and freezing your meals means that you are prepared in advance and not tempted to buy 'ready made foods' for ease.

Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water keeps all bodily functions in full working order from your digestive system to cushioning your joints. Ideally you should be looking to drink 6 to 8 tall glasses of water per day. If you are exercising and losing water through sweat or it is an excessively hot day then you will need to up your water consumption to stay hydrated

Portion control and choosing the correct foods in the appropriate amounts will not only nourish your body, but will also maintain a healthy weight. Food and Optimal Health go 'hand in hand'. Eating more food than our bodies actually require will increase our weight and lead to illness and diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease. We need to understand our bodies, recognise when we are hungry and when our emotions cause us to comfort or habitually eat.  Understanding how to control overeating and our habitual destruction will lead us to well balanced portion control and eating the right foods to enhance our overall health.     


2. Exercise

Exercise is extremely important for optimal health and a healthy lifesyle. Our bodies are made to move, lift and exercise. Today we tend to lead a more sedentary way of life with modern technology and gadgets. We have to think about moving and any exercise we do. It's so much easier and quicker to take the car rather than walk, or sit in our chairs with remote controls, mobile phones or other appliances and push buttons rather than move. This is extremely negative for our well-being. 

Exercise is the best medicine we can prescribe for our wellness. We should mix up our workouts and regimes to accomplish the full benefits of exercise. There are basically 3 types of exercise that we need to implement into our daily lives:
  1. Cardio exercise
  2. Strength training
  3. Flexibility training
Any form of exercise or movement is beneficial to our health. The best thing we can do for ourselves is to just 'move' and stay active. By adding a 30 minute walk daily will improve our cardio health. There are so many apps we can download to help us achieve our 10,000 steps a day or monitor our daily movements. So start with small steps and progress until you reach your goals.

Strength training is a must for health and longevity. This type of training not only protects your bones from brittle bone diseases such as osteoporosis but will also burn calories, ramp up your metabolism and increases muscle mass. Strength training comes in many different formats and for some reason women feel this is not the type of training for them? The fear that muscles will grow and veins will become visible by lifting a few dumbbells is not the case here. You can achieve greater strength and muscle endurance using simple equipment such as resistance bands. I have trained woman as old as 87 with bands and they have been amazed and extremely delighted that they have become stronger with firmer arms and sculpted shoulders through resistance band training. You are never too old to start reaping the incredible health gains of strength training.

The benefits of flexibility training offers many positive advantages for our well-being. Flexibility promotes deeper movements and improved balance which in turn will help us to avoid injury and develop a healthy body. A good stretch routine will reduce pain and increase mobility. By loosening and lengthening the muscles you will feel less tense and experience a better posture. Your muscles will begin to work more effectively and improve performance for most daily tasks as well as an increase in exercise movements. Stretching is also good for your mind and mental health. Stretching routines such as yoga brings calm and peace providing the ability to concentrate on the present moment.

Exercise will increase your 'happy hormones' and reduce the risk of depression, stress and even dementia. Our bodies need to feel energetic, functional and happy to accomplish optimal health. Being physically active will promote a healthy and fulfilling life as we age.

3. Relaxation and Rest

Quality sleep, rest and relaxation are essential for optimal health. The correct amount of restful sleep is essential for the body to repair itself and restore it's energy. Brain function relies on a good nights sleep to aid our ability to learn and process our memory. A sure sign of a restless night is a groggy or fuzzy head and the inability to focus and concentrate. If you are suffering with insomnia or poor sleeping patterns, it's always a good idea to set a routine both time-wise and the activities you choose prior to sleep. Caffeine should be avoided at least 4 hours before sleeping and the same with alcohol. Create a peaceful sleeping area away from mobile phones, laptops and T.V. Meditation and deep breathing are good techniques to relax the body enabling sleep. 

Without relaxation, rest and self care we are susceptible to stress and pressure. We do need a little stress in our lives to help us accomplish tasks more efficiently. Stress also triggers our warning systems or our 'fight or flight' response when danger occurs. Stress itself is not the illness but the effects of severe stress can cause serious illnesses so relaxation and self caring methods will help to manage and cope with stressful periods. There are some natural remedies to calm us during these times such as mindfulness and deep breathing exercises. Patience and practice will bring a calmness to your mind and relaxation to your body.

If you are finding stress to be a major problem disrupting your sleep and rest time then another technique to help you cope is writing a daily journal. This practice completed daily will help you track the areas that trigger your stress levels. Journaling and reflection will help you face your problems and fears and refocus on the issues that cause the route of your problems. Journaling will also pick up 'negative chatter' and 'thoughts' to help you 'turn around' the bad feelings and concentrate on the more positive side to your daily life.

Optimal Health - Finding your Balance

Optimal Health promotes healthy behaviours. We should think about balancing our body, mind and nutrition into the lifestyle we lead. Taking small steps to reach our goals by changing bad habits to achieve optimal health. There is no need for extreme workouts or restrictive diets to accomplish good health and a happy mind. Balancing your life, your commitments with the time available to you and not adding any extra stress to your already hectic lifestyle, will be far more productive than a complete overhaul. One step at a time.

My website is all about achieving optimal health. Most of my articles are based on health, nutrition and exercise to help my readers become the best versions of themselves. I truly believe that we can accomplish a healthy lifestyle if we nourish, move and listen to our bodies. There are so many holistic approaches to behavioural change and how we can implement new habits and positive mindset into our daily lives. This article includes several links to various other pieces of content to help you understand the different applications you can use to change your lifestyle.


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