When we think about devising a healthy living plan, the first things that come to our mind are diet and exercise. While these are undoubtedly key factors in health, it would be naïve to think that just these two factors are the answer. There are many factors that comprise our day-to-day lives but here are the five key areas to address when looking to optimise your healthy living plan:
What we eat is obviously of huge importance to prevent many communicable diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. We now understand that these conditions well as others such as autoimmune diseases are reversible using nutritional interventions. It is not just what we eat though, it is also when and how we eat. When we eat determines the consistency of our energy levels while how we eat can really affect how well we digest our food.
What movement we do probably is not as important how often. In contrast to our hunter-gatherer ancestors and even the labourers who came a couple of generations before us, we barely move at all while consuming just as much if not more. As well as the focused, intense movement we call exercise, it is very much about incorporating movement throughout your day.
Notice how I didn’t use the words diet or exercise here? Diets and exercise regimes are temporary, eating and movement are for life. Not only that but diets can lead to horrible relationships with food and even eating disorders while obsession with exercise and insta models can leave people with body dysmorphia. To focus on eating and movement makes it much easier to set positive intentions and make purposeful decisions which you will stick to in the long term.
Our ability to think underpins literally everything we do. If I do not actively build and maintain my mental strength, it is likely I will succumb to stress and probably not stick to my diet and exercise regimes anyway. There are so many approaches to this nowadays: mindfulness, meditation, breathing exercises, journalling etc. Find what works for you and do it consistently.
Eat, sleep, rave, repeat. Probably not the best routine but without sleep we all know how little we are able to function. Have you ever raved so hard you got ill? It was probably largely because you were not sleeping enough . The role of good quality sleep cannot be underestimated. Any gym buff knows a good night’s rest is key to full recovery and the same principle applies whatever your healthy living plan and goals are.
Social isolation is a huge killer. It puts some people’s quality of life right through the floor. Yes we all need alone time to recuperate but get social with any of your hobbies or activities wherever you can. Cook with your family, run with a work mate, play chess with an old friend - it doesn’t matter what you do just as long as you don’t always do it alone.
These 5 areas of our lives are inexorably interlinked. If in one area you are struggling, the rest will be affected too. I could spell this out for you, but it’s more fun and more useful for you to figure it out. Think of 1 easy way you can improve each of these areas of your life, write them down and commit to them for 30 days. You’ll be surprised how much the small things can add up to a comprehensive healthy living plan.