Our life is like a garden, we are the forever flower. We need to maintain our garden by taking out weeds and making sure every cell in our body is nourished.
I never planned to be involved in health care as a professional and grew up with a very dedicated grandmother who was a herbalist – being part of nature and eating as close to nature as possible has enabled me to slow down ageing.
Staying healthy is about starting to understand that it really is up to us how we live inside our body and mind. We are the navigators of this. The 4 pillars of health are the foundation of all that we feel and do throughout our day. They are all intertwined and are 4 pieces of the wellness jigsaw puzzle. Have you noticed when you don’t sleep well, your daily focus is not as sharp as it needs to be and there is no motivation for any movement? Add to this that poor sleep increases sugar cravings as we search for the boost in mood to give us the energy to be motivated to enjoy some exercise.
There are 4 pillars that I find contribute to ageing well and optimum health
- Nutrition – Your food choices either age you or keep you healthy
- Exercise is linked to the way we move – This is the closest thing we have to the fountain of youth – working out reduces inflammation and oxidative stress – 2 factors that age cells and shorten telomeres – Movement – staying mobile through the day keeps you mobile – sitting prevents circulation from supporting every organ
- Sleep – How we sleep impacts how we digest, how we stay motivated
- Mental Wellbeing – Focusing on all that is working in your life will provide the mental stamina that excites the body to move in a direction of healthy ageing.
Staying well is an attitude, a way of life, a way of sitting within your own body. I ask my clients how do you want to look and feel in 12 months time, in 2-3-5-10 years is totally up to you and will determine how your mind and body moves through the years.
What is a disease? A particular abnormal condition that negatively affects the structure or function of all or part of an organism. Diseases are associated with signs and symptoms and they create a discomfort within your whole mind and body connection. They don’t simply affect one part.
Pain ages us, sleepless nights age us, carrying too much weight ages us, low mood ages us, being irritable ages us.
Optimal nutrition is all about eating real food, not processed food. The problem is that most people have been misinformed about nutrition and now there is a surge to eat organic, to be more aware of what we are eating as it is being linked to health imbalances. We are becoming more aware that we are what we eat. Eating well also means sugar cravings are diminished. Making sure you eat a protein source with all your meals is a sure way of knowing every part of you is nourished.
Healthy foods that should be eaten:
- Meat, fish and eggs. Grass fed/wild caught is better.
- Vegetables should be eaten every day.
- Tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes are fine for healthy people.
- Fruits, in moderation.
- Some grains like oats and white rice may be okay for healthy people.
- Nuts can be eaten, in moderation. Unroasted nuts are preferred.
- High-fat dairy like cheese and cream. Grass-fed/pastured is best.
- Fats and oils such as butter, coconut oil and olive oil.
- All sorts of spices, Himalayan salt is fine and best in moderation.
Find an exercise that uplifts your soul. No exercise is better than the other if you are not going to participate. So finding a form of exercise that you enjoy means you will stick to it. Try and do at least 30 minutes every day and there is a movement to try to reach 10,000 steps each day. There are so many more ways you can exercise from your own home so there aren’t any excuses – step into it I say.
Optimal exercise would involve a combination of strength training, low and high intensity cardio, and stretching, but the key focus should really be on doing something that you enjoy. If you enjoy doing something, it is much more likely that you will stick to it.
Healthy tips for a great night’s sleep
- Go to sleep and wake up at a similar time each day.
- Don’t eat or drink in the last 3 hours before bed.
- Sleep in a room that is completely dark.
- Reserve your bedroom for sleeping.
- Dampen your lights about 1–2 hours before bed.
- Have bright lights in the morning, from the sun if possible.
- Don’t ingest any caffeine after 2 p.m.
- Find a sleep formula that works for you and stick to it. Exercise regularly.
4. Stress Control / Mental Wellbeing
Stress control is also crucial for physical and mental health, and it is often overlooked. When it comes to stress, avoiding unnecessary obligations is important. In other words, simplifying your life as much as possible can work wonders.
If you feel obligated to do certain things, ask yourself if they are something you really need to be doing, or if you can delegate to someone else. Meditation is very effective too. Finding a way to support your mental well being is just as important as eating well as they go hand in hand.