As anyone who has lost his or her health will tell you – there is no amount of money that can replace good health. We have a friend that worked really, really hard for 20 plus years to take his business from start-up to success. He sold it for $400 million. Two weeks after the sale closed, he had a massive stroke that should have killed him. But, with excellent health care he survived. Now that he has all the money he ever dreamed of, he is confined to a wheel chair, unable to speak or feed himself. I expect, if he could answer me, that he would trade all his money to be able to enjoy a meal with his family, dance with his wife, play with his grandchildren, walk outside and relish the world. His bank account is rich, he is a pauper.
Health is a dynamic process. It keeps on changing as we change our lifestyle, our eating habits, our sleeping routine, our thoughts, etc. Each day we should work towards maximizing our level of health and wellness to lead long, full, and healthy lives. Our defined aim should be planning our day in a manner that maintains balance of our physical and mental usage. We can make a huge difference in our lives by staying fit and healthy.
Good health not only means a state of absence of diseases in the body but a complete physical, mental, social as well as spiritual wellbeing of an individual.
Being healthy means having a healthy brain, flexible movements of body, more energetic, happy moods, peace and patience, etc. Fitness does not only mean your physical wellbeing, it is a combination of physical and mental health of a person.
There are four pillars to maintaining a healthy life
What you eat and drink
How you move
This week we will talk about the first two of these.
Why Is Eating Healthy Important?
A nutritious, well-balanced diet – along with physical activity and refraining from smoking – is the foundation of good health. Healthy eating includes consuming high-quality proteins, carbohydrates, heart-healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and water in the foods you take in while minimizing processed foods, saturated fats and alcohol. Eating in this manner helps you maintain your body’s everyday functions, promotes optimal body weight and can assist in disease prevention.
The nutrients in the foods you eat support the activities of day-to-day living, protect your cells from environmental damage and repair any cellular damage that might occur. Protein rebuilds injured tissue and promotes a healthy immune system. Both carbohydrates and fats fuel your body, while vitamins and minerals function throughout your body in support of your body’s processes. Vitamins A, C and E, for example, act as antioxidants to protect your cells against toxins, and B vitamins help you extract energy from the foods you eat. Calcium and phosphorus keep your bones strong, while sodium and potassium help to transmit nerve signals. Without a healthy diet, you might compromise any of these essential functions.
In addition to the quality of the foods you consume, the quantity matters when considering good eating habits. Taking in the same number of calories as you burn ensures your weight remains steady over time. Consuming more than you burn, on the other hand, results in weight gain as your body converts extra calories to fat tissue. When you accumulate fat tissue, you increase your risk of developing one or more health problems, including heart disease, hypertension, respiratory issues, diabetes and cancer. A healthy meal plan without excess calories helps you not only feel better but can prolong your life.
Obesity is not the only nutrition-related cause of disease onset and progression. Too much or too little of certain nutrients can also contribute to health issues. For instance, a lack of calcium in your diet can predispose you to developing osteoporosis, or weakening of your bones, while too much saturated fat can cause cardiovascular disease, and too few fruits and vegetables in your nutrition plan is associated with an increased incidence of cancer. Consuming foods from a wide variety of sources helps ensure your body has the nutrients it needs to avoid these health problems.
If you are not used to eating a healthy diet that promotes your well-being, making gradual changes can help you improve the way you eat in the long run. You can substitute water for high-calorie, sugary drinks, for example, and switch from full-fat to low-fat dairy products. Selecting lean meats instead of fatty cuts and whole-wheat grains instead of refined grains can lower your intake of unhealthy fats and increase your dietary fiber intake. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain less sodium than canned, and snacking on fresh, crunchy produce like carrots, apples and cucumber slices is healthier than the fats and salt in chips.
Speaking salt intake – let’s talk about hydration. A healthy person needs 30 to 50 ounces of fluid per day. Drinking fluids is crucial to staying healthy and maintaining the function of every system in your body, including your heart, brain, and muscles. Fluids carry nutrients to your cells, flush bacteria from your bladder, and prevent constipation.
Older adults often don't get enough fluids and risk becoming dehydrated, especially during summer when it's hotter and people perspire more. Older people don't sense thirst as much as they did when they were younger. And that could be a problem if they're on a medication that may cause fluid loss, such as a diuretic. Warning signs of dehydration include weakness, low blood pressure, dizziness, confusion, or urine that's dark in color.
To ward off dehydration, healthy people should get 30 to 50 ounces of water per day (about 1 to 1.5 liters), but not all at once. The kidneys lose some ability to eliminate water as we age. It's important to stay hydrated gradually, throughout the day. You can drink water or other low calorie sugar and caffeine free liquids and eating water-rich foods such as salads, fruit, and applesauce. An easy way to stay hydrated gradually is by getting fluids at meals, with medicine, and socially.
It's possible to take in too much water if you have certain health conditions, such as thyroid disease or kidney, liver, or heart problems, or if you're taking medications that make you retain water, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opiate pain medications, and some antidepressants.
Now for movement
Exercise is defined as any movement that makes your muscles work and requires your body to burn calories. There are many types of physical activity, including swimming, running, jogging, walking and dancing, to name a few. Being active has been shown to have many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It may even help you live longer.
Here are some ways regular exercise benefits your body and brain.
It Can Make You Feel Happier
Exercise has been shown to improve your mood and decrease feelings of depression, anxiety and stress. It produces changes in the parts of the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. It can also increase brain sensitivity for the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression. Additionally, exercise can increase the production of endorphins, which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.
Furthermore, exercise has been shown to reduce symptoms in people suffering from anxiety. It can also help them be more aware of their mental state and practice distraction from their fears. Interestingly, it doesn't matter how intense your workout is. It seems that your mood can benefit from exercise no matter the intensity of the physical activity. So this means there are no excuses! From an easy stroll around the block to running a marathon you can move. If you can’t get out you can use canned food to lift “weights”. You can do something.
It Can Help With Weight Loss
Some studies have shown that inactivity is a major factor in weight gain and obesity. To understand the effect of exercise on weight reduction, it is important to understand the relationship between exercise and energy expenditure.
Your body spends energy in three ways: digesting food, exercising and maintaining body functions like your heartbeat and breathing. While dieting, a reduced calorie intake will lower your metabolic rate, which will delay weight loss. On the contrary, regular exercise has been shown to increase your metabolic rate, which will burn more calories and help
you lose weight. Additionally, studies have shown that combining aerobic exercise with resistance training can maximize fat loss and muscle mass maintenance, which is essential for keeping the weight off.
It Is Good for Your Muscles and Bones
Exercise plays a vital role in building and maintaining strong muscles and bones. Physical activity like weight lifting can stimulate muscle building when paired with adequate protein intake. This is because exercise helps release hormones that promote the ability of your muscles to absorb amino acids. This helps them grow and reduces their breakdown.
As people age, they tend to lose muscle mass and function, which can lead to injuries and disabilities. Practicing regular physical activity is essential to reducing muscle loss and maintaining strength as you age. Also, exercise helps build bone density when you're younger, in addition to helping prevent osteoporosis later in life. Interestingly, high-impact exercise, such as gymnastics or running, or odd- impact sports, such as soccer and basketball, have been shown to promote a higher bone density than non-impact sports like swimming and cycling.
It Can Increase Your Energy Levels
Exercise can be a real energy booster for healthy people, as well as those suffering from various medical conditions. One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue for 36 healthy people who had reported persistent fatigue.
Furthermore, exercise can significantly increase energy levels for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other serious illnesses. In fact, exercise seems to be more effective at combating CFS than other treatments, including passive therapies like relaxation and stretching, or no treatment at all.
Additionally, exercise has been shown to increase energy levels in people suffering from progressive illnesses, such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.
It Can Reduce Your Risk of Chronic Disease
Lack of regular physical activity is a primary cause of chronic disease. Regular exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and body composition, yet decrease blood pressure and blood fat levels.
In contrast, a lack of regular exercise — even in the short term — can lead to significant increases in belly fat, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and early death. Therefore, daily physical activity is recommended to reduce belly fat and decrease the risk of developing these diseases.
It Can Help Skin Health
Your skin can be affected by the amount of oxidative stress in your body. Oxidative stress occurs when the body's antioxidant defenses cannot completely repair the damage that free radicals cause to cells. This can damage their internal structures and deteriorate your skin.
Even though intense and exhaustive physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, regular moderate exercise can increase your body's production of natural antioxidants, which help protect cells. In the same way, exercise can stimulate blood flow and induce skin cell adaptations that can help delay the appearance of skin aging.
It Can Help Your Brain Health and Memory
Exercise can improve brain function and protect memory and thinking skills. To begin with, it increases your heart rate, which promotes the flow of blood and oxygen to your brain. It can also stimulate the production of hormones that can enhance the growth of brain cells.
Moreover, the ability of exercise to prevent chronic disease can translate into benefits for your brain, since its function can be affected by these diseases. Regular physical activity is especially important in older adults since aging — combined with oxidative stress and inflammation — promotes changes in brain structure and function.
Exercise has been shown to cause the hippocampus, a part of the brain that's vital for memory and learning, to grow in size. This serves to increase mental function in older adults. Lastly, exercise has been shown to reduce changes in the brain that can cause Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia.
It Can Help With Relaxation and Sleep Quality
Regular exercise can help you relax and sleep better. In regards to sleep quality, the energy depletion that occurs during exercise stimulates recuperative processes during sleep. Moreover, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is thought to improve sleep quality by helping it drop during sleep.
Many studies on the effects of exercise on sleep have reached similar conclusions. One study found that 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week can provide up to a 65% improvement in sleep quality. Another showed that 16 weeks of physical activity increased sleep quality and helped 17 people with insomnia sleep longer and more deeply than the control group. It also helped them feel more energized during the day. What's more, engaging in regular exercise seems to be beneficial for the elderly, who tend to be affected by sleep disorders. You can be flexible with the kind of exercise you choose. It appears that either aerobic exercise alone or aerobic exercise combined with resistance training can equally help sleep quality.
It Can Reduce Pain
Chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can actually help reduce it. In fact, for many years, the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. However, recent studies show that exercise helps relieve chronic pain.
A review of several studies indicates that exercise helps participants with chronic pain reduce their pain and improve their quality of life. Several studies show that exercise can help control pain that's associated with various health conditions, including chronic low back pain, fibromyalgia and chronic soft tissue shoulder disorder, to name a few. Additionally, physical activity can also raise pain tolerance and decrease pain perception.
It Can Promote a Better Sex Life
Exercise has been proven to boost sex drive. Engaging in regular exercise can strengthen the cardiovascular system, improve blood circulation, tone muscles and enhance flexibility, all of which can improve your sex life. Physical activity can improve sexual performance and sexual pleasure, as well as increase the frequency of sexual activity.
A group of women in their 40s observed that they experienced orgasms more frequently when they incorporated more strenuous exercise, such as sprints, boot camps and weight training, into their lifestyles. Also, among a group of 178 healthy men, the men that reported more exercise hours per week had higher sexual function scores.
The Bottom Line
Exercise offers incredible benefits that can improve nearly every aspect of your health from the inside out. Regular physical activity can increase the production of hormones that make you feel happier and help you sleep better. It can also improve your skin's appearance, help you lose weight and keep it off, lessen the risk of chronic disease and improve your sex life. Whether you practice a specific sport or follow the guideline of 150 minutes of activity per week, you will inevitably improve your health in many ways.
Next week we are going to talk about sleep and stress.
Join me every Wednesday on my podcast “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”. If you have questions or comments you can contact me at my email email@example.com or find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @cindybbrown777
Who is Cindy B. Brown? Cindy is a CPA, MBA, CFO, mastermind facilitator and board member of public and private companies, business consultant, entrepreneur coach and a foremost expert in the field of business mastery. Cindy’s purpose is to motivate, educate and inspire people to live their richest life. She is the host of “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”.