Keeping our bodies healthy

Global researchers and academic studies all concur that leading a healthy and sustainable lifestyle includes a nutritional and balanced diet, sleep to regenerate, exercise in moderation, continued learning, and activities to keep our brain active.

 

Being part of social groups and enjoying close friendships are a key component of this. In essence love what you do.  Engage with the things that make you smile and bring joy.

Focus on exercise, food and sleep.

Crossing a River

Exercise

Exercise boosts our cardio vascular system to get heart, lungs pumping to circulate oxygen and blood to our essential organs and brain. It activates our muscles which may have little use, helps repair and reduces wear and tear of our total body system by waking up our metabolism. It helps to boost our immunity and reduce stress chemicals.

 

The type and amount of exercise we do is dependent on our individual motivation, our age and body. The most important factor is to nudge ourselves into moving.

 

Chores around the house, gardening or walking is the simplest form and can be done anywhere, anytime with or without putting on running outfits! We are advised to do 10,000 steps a day.  Our Smartphone apps can measure this.

 

Equally a brisk walk outside for 30 minutes will get our metabolism going and energise our minds and body.

Eat healthy food

Food has nutritional impact and to consume natural foods allows billions of cells and tissue to repair themselves.  Various micronutrients exist within a complex food matrix, impacting how they are absorbed by the body, how the foods interact with each other, and how much of then can be consumed at one time.  

 

Often when food nutrients are manufactured as supplements in a pill or added as fortified foods, they can be poorly absorbed, and interactions with other nutrients can be lost.  

 

Research by nutrition scientists conclude that to gain the full benefits we need to combine many different foods from our overall dietary pattern. What combinations of foods do we choose? Which combinations are particularly healthy? Which ones are unhealthy?

 

This is also dependent on which part of the world you live in.  There are many traditional vegetables and fruits, some grown wild and foraged that have nutritional and medicinal values.

Fresh Produce
Image by Reynardo Etenia Wongso

Sleep well

Sleep is essential for the body's repair.  Experts suggest 8 to 10 hours give our cells time to to regenerate. But people are now sleeping less hours and the quality of sleep has declined.

 

  • Poor sleep affects hormones that regulate appetite, with those sleeping well eating fewer calories. Shorter duration of sleep can lead to weight gain in adults and children.

 

  • Adequate sleep helps our brain functions including maximizing problem solving skills, improving memory, productivity and performance, and improves our immune functions.  

 

  • Longer sleeping patterns improve atheletic and physical performance and mental well being.

 

  • Sleeping less than 7-8 hours per night is linked to an increase risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression or sleeping disorders like insomnia

 

  • Sleep deprivation affects emotions and social interactions.