The need for whole body health
We currently live in a society where the BBC recently stated "the overwhelming majority of adults in England are so unhealthy they put their lives at risk". You've just got to look around and see that as a nation we are becoming heavier, more sedentary, unhappier and getting less sleep. The NHS is spending increasing amounts of money curing our ailments caused by our daily choices, but surely prevention is better than cure?
The food we eat is primarily how we fuel our bodies. If we were a car, and filled up on low quality, watered down fuel we would be naive to think it would work at optimum capacity. The same is true for our bodies. Our body and mind will not work as efficiently if we feed it processed, tampered, low-nutrient food, as if we feed it diverse, fresh, nutrient-rich food. It is key to eat a variety of fresh foods, which if possible is locally sourced and in-season. This will reduce the likelihood of it being contaminated with herbicides, pesticides and preservatives, which our bodies aren't too keen on. To cook from scratch gives you the guarantee you know what ingredients you are eating, instead of giving this responsibility to food manufactures that are more interested in making money than keeping you healthy.
Mother nature designed us to sleep one third of our lives. Sleep is so restorative, there is not one area of our bodies that doesn't benefit from a good nights sleep. Whilst asleep our minds are sifting through which information we have processed that day and is deemed important to keep, and which information to get rid of. For example, you may have been to a conference where statistics you heard will later help you write a paper, and thus will get moved to the long term memory store. However, tomorrow you won't need to remember where you parked your car at the supermarket to pick up some milk on your way home and thus gets discarded. Sleep has been directly linked to IQ; regardless of your age, the more you sleep, the higher your IQ. Sleep can stabilise your emotions by up to 60%, making you more level headed, and capable of sound decision making. Physically, sleep boosts your immune system, reducing the chances of getting ill in the first place, and reducing the time you are ill if you are unlucky to catch a bug. It keeps you physically fitter and stronger, allowing you to carry out everyday tasks with ease. Therefore, by sleeping 7-9 hours per night is imperative for your well-being, not just a 'nice to have'.
Mental health has been a taboo subject for many years, but thankfully recent ambassadors are publicising it. One in four adults in the UK suffer from mental health every year, meaning that most people will be affected by it either directly or indirectly throughout their lives. As previously mentioned, prevention is better than cure, and is therefore essential to surround yourself with positive people and experiences and try to add variety into your daily life. As mental health is not a visible condition, it is essential to speak to people face to face and show genuine interest. It is very easy to get swept along with the rat-race of modern day life, but by taking time for yourself and to give to others, you will benefit in the long run.
It has been well documented for many years the positive effect of exercise on both your body and mind. Many scientific studies have documented people that exercise (particularly outdoors) gives you more energy, reduces illness, makes you fitter and stronger and improves your sleep. Mentally it aids your self-confidence, mental resilience, purpose and intelligence. There are many forms of exercise that will be beneficial, but it needs to be accessible and enjoyable. By building movement into your every day life is an insurance policy that you will continue to be able to move into old age- if you stop moving, you will lose the capability to do so.
The body is one truly interconnected system. By making small changes to your every day life, you will impact more areas of your body than you thought possible. For example, if you start running, you will sleep better that night. As a result, the next day you will make healthier food choices, which will have a positive impact on your mindset. I've been fascinated by the research I have recently carried out, if you would like further explanation please do get in touch:
Linked in: Claire Willsher