Enjoying Life

Lifestyle

Lifestyle factors play an important role in achieving and maintaining health and wellbeing. Exercise, sleep, stress and an individual's emotional and mental attitude have all been proven to have a role in disease prevention.

An important factor in optimizing your health is to achieve a balanced lifestyle. For example, if you exercise regularly and consider yourself fit and healthy but have a poor diet and stressful work then your health is likely to suffer. Consider the following aspects in your life and see what can be improved.


Exercise

The prevention and treatment of all diseases seems to be enhanced by regular moderate exercise. Exercise has a significant impact on your health and wellbeing. If your lifestyle does not include any or very little exercise then this can lead to a number of problems. If you do not get adequate exercise then you may be susceptible to sleep problems, lowered metabolic rate (effects your weight), weakened cardiovascular health and strength, digestive problems, depression and/or anxiety.

It is important to include exercise that you enjoy and can maintain long term throughout different seasons and in varying conditions. Exercise should be brisk enough to produce a light sweat and gently raise heart rate and breathing for at least half an hour per day or at least 1 hour every second day, in total at least 3 hours per week.

Swimming, walking, pilates and yoga are ideal activities for daily exercise. Brisk walking is one of the easiest and most effective. The following guidelines may help to optimize your exercise regime:

  • Exercise frequency: minimum half hour per day or 1 hour every second day

  • Types of exercise: include aerobic exercise (exercise which mildly raises the heart rate and produces a light sweat), strengthening exercise (muscle strengthening) and flexibility exercise (stretching)


Sleep

Sleep has a direct effect on the individual's mental, emotional and physical health. Lack of sleep or poor sleep can affect the individual's ability to fight and endure sickness, cause irritability, poor concentration, impaired memory and decreases hand-eye co-ordination.

In humans, cells produce and release proteins essential for growth (especially in children) and tissue repair during sleep. Sleep helps humans maintain optimal emotional and social functioning while awake by giving a rest during sleep to the parts of the brain that control emotions and social interactions.

The following may help to improve sleep:

  • Sleep time: make sure you are getting enough sleep (9 hours for teenagers, 7 to 8 hours for adults)

  • Circadian rhythms/Biological clock: regulate your bedtime and rising time. Sleep when it is dark remembering that it is better to go to sleep earlier than to sleep late

  • Quiet time: prepare by doing a quiet activity for the hour prior to sleep

  • Food: no food for the 2 hours leading up to sleep time

  • Exercise: regular exercise promotes good sleep. Do not do intense exercise 2 hours before bed


Stress

How an individual handles stress plays a major role in determining their level of health. Also, if stress is extreme, unusual or long-lasting, the stress response can be overwhelming and quite harmful to virtually any body system and will exacerbate any disease. It is usually the individual's weaker systems that manifest most of the symptoms of stress.

  • Techniques to calm the mind, relax the body and promote a positive mental attitude: activities such as meditation, yoga, walking

  • Lifestyle factors: including time management to reduce stress, the removal of as many unnecessary stressors as possible and improve the handling of the stressors you cannot remove from your life. This includes establishing a good work-life balance

  • Exercise: developing an exercise regime that is enjoyable and maintainable long term

  • A healthful diet: to nourish the body and support physiological processes while restricting substances which increase the stress response

  • Dietary and botanical supplements: to support the body as a whole but especially the adrenal glands and nervous system


Emotional and mental attitude

A negative attitude and/or low self esteem can be quite harmful to your health physically and mentally. All diseases are affected by your emotional and mental state.

To improve your overall health and wellbeing it is best to have the attitude of appreciating all aspects of life, are accountable for your own actions and you think in terms of taking care of your whole person.

The following areas may help to improve your emotional and mental attitude:

  • Counselling: for helping you to work through difficulties when you are having trouble dealing with something mentally or emotionally

  • Meditation: with guidance from an experienced teacher

  • Exercise: feeling good physically helps you feel good emotionally and mentally

  • Personal relations and social interactions: interacting with people you enjoy has a positive impact on your health and wellbeing

  • Good sleep: directly effects how your brain functions

  • Enjoying yourself: activities that fulfill you lead to increased vitality and wellbeing

  • A healthful diet: directly effects how your brain functions


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