What Is Healthy?
Healthy is an outfit that looks different on everybody.
— Unknown Author
I talk a lot about becoming healthy or maintaining health but what is “healthy?”
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “complete physical, mental, and social well-being - and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” This is a good place to start but how do we get there? And just as importantly…how do we stay healthy?
My best advice is to start slowly. If you like to swim…try adding a few extra laps. If walking is your thing – add another 100 meters every few days. This may seem like nothing but within a very short time it will add a significant amount of exercise to your daily routine. And, because you did it slowly, you are more likely to stick with it and less likely to slide backwards.
Take your daily cycle into consideration when planning your healthcare routine. If you are a morning person, then get up and move before you do anything else. But if you are a night owl…you might be better served by afternoon or early evening workouts. There is no one answer for everyone. By allowing yourself to work around you…you are more likely to keep working out.
Remember that being healthy is more than just exercise. You need to adopt good eating habits. Again…go slowly. No one is going to go from eating Maccas every day to quinoa and tofu overnight. And that’s okay. Switch out those fried chips for veggies or skip the ice cream and have fruit instead. Water rather than soda. Or baked instead of fried. One small change gets the ball rolling and can put you on a healthier path for life. And if you fail once in a while? Forgive yourself and move on.
Sleep. We all need it and we all take it for granted. Until it alludes us. Then we crave it like we sometimes crave sugar or coffee. Set a nighttime routine and stick to it. Start a wind down or meditation ritual at least 30 minutes before bedtime. And as hard as it is to do…put down the phone, tablet or computer. These devices wreck havoc with your brains ability to relax and can create sleep issues that will plague you indefinitely. Create a sleep friendly environment and treat bedtime with the respect it deserves. Sleep is literally our body’s way of healing itself.
And never forget the importance of your mental health. Our mind influences our body in profound ways and ignoring it is tantamount to jumping off a cliff. We would never wilfully endanger our bodies so why would we risk our minds? If you need help…reach out to a friend, a doctor or a helpline. Someone is always available and ready to help. Accepting that we all need a helping hand from time to time is the first step to a lifetime of mental stability and physical well-being.
Health shouldn’t be negotiable. We shouldn’t take it for granted. A little effort and some slow and steady changes will set you on your path to being the ultimate you.