I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people who strive to be fit & healthy think that this means what they see in the mirror and what others see. They think it’s all about the aesthetics and how the body is presented. Yes whilst of course we all strive for this and we all want to look good, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are fit and healthy overall. There are many factors to consider to overall health and we should put as much effort into these areas as we do to lifting weights and cardio sessions. In no particular order these are some of the things you may not have considered.
Good digestion is essential to our overall health. Before you do anything else you should pay your gut some attention and rectify any issues. Gas, bloating, cramps, spasms, poor bowel habits, these are all signs of poor gut health.
Your digestive system is the epicentre of your health. It is where your body extracts nutrition and it is part of your body’s immune defence system. It processes what you eat and extracts the nutrients so that they can be distributed throughout the body. The healthier the digestive system, the better it can process food, breaks down the nutrients, and absorb the nutrition.
In order to achieve good gut health there are several things we can do. First of all, listen to your body. What is it telling you? Are you experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned earlier? It may simply be that you eat foods that do not agree with you, dairy for instance. Try keeping a food diary, noting everything you put in your mouth, and how you feel after every meal. After a week, note any patterns. If you suspect that your diet is an issue, go and see a qualified nutritionist.
Next, are you drinking enough water? Most of us don’t if we are honest. If we don’t drink enough fluid we easily become constipated! And we all know that this causes that horrid uncomfortable feeling. So get that water bottle filled up and sip from it throughout the day. Small regular sips throughout the day are better that chugging back a litre of water in one go and doing no more.
Eat foods that are good for digestion. Chia seeds (good fibre), live yoghurt (probiotics), fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchee (probitics), and fruits like kiwi and pineapple (digestive enzymes). These are just a few examples.
Are you getting enough fibre? Fibre helps the body to eliminate waste matter and work more efficiently. Make sure your diet has enough of fibre rich foods.
We all brush our teeth twice a day, but how many of us take our overall dental health seriously. Poor dental hygiene can have a knock on effect on the rest of the body. As well as brushing teeth twice daily, you should also think about flossing. We should visit the dentist on a regular basis for a full check up and see the hygienist for a professional clean. If you haven’t been for a while, get yourself an appointment and give your mouth an M.O.T
HAIR, SKIN & NAILS
Having good hair skin and nails makes us feel good about how we look, but again these areas can also tell us something about what’s going on in our body’s. There are literally hundreds of reasons why we might have some issues in these areas. After you have read this, give yourself a little assessment. Do you suffer from any of the following, eczema, acne, pimples, brittle nails, ridged nails, weak hair, foot conditions such as athlete’s foot, fungal nail infection? Do you live with it or just ignore it? It’s a good idea to address any issues you may have since it may be having an effect elsewhere that you haven’t yet made the connection with.
Generally if you are eating a nutritious well balanced diet you shouldn’t need to take a heap of daily supplements. However there are some things that it may be worth considering in addition to your diet. It’s important to seek individual qualified advice first. Things like probiotics, fish oils and some vitamins are a good start. However, make sure that you get good quality products as you want them to enhance your health not add any more issues.
This is one of the most important things however the one that many of us neglect the most. In today’s society talking about how we are feeling is not always well received. Our mental state can affect our whole existence so it IS important and you should NEVER feel bad about speaking out. The term mental health is very broad and covers everything from stress, anxiety and depression through to depression, eating disorders and Bi-polar. One of the problems with mental health is that generally it can’t be seen, therefore people don’t often realise that a person is suffering. In fact in many cases the individual themselves doesn’t even realise there may be a problem.
If you think you may have a problem, and that you are suffering from some sort of condition, it’s important to speak out and seek help. There are many professional resources out there to help you. Your doctor is a good place to start and can help guide you in the right direction.
There are also self help tactics that you can do yourself. Yoga, meditation, sleep, good nutrition and exercise can all help.
So in summary, keep on lifting those weights and swimming those laps, but also take a little time to think about your overall health and any issues that you can deal with to enhance your general wellbeing.