My Wellbeing's A-Z of Being Well

What does Being Well mean to you? Is it just the absence of disease or is it more complex than that? We see Being Well as an optimal state of wellbeing, encompassing a healthy physical body that moves well, feels well and fights illness effectively. It also includes a positive mindset, well maintained emotional health, and so much more.

Avoid chronic training, especially endurance training. People believe, erroneously, that the more time, and more kilometres they do the better. Running is good and we as humans have a great capacity to do this. However grinding yourself into the dirt day after day, week after week and year after year has consequences for the body. Run long distances if you enjoy, compete if you enjoy competition, but be aware of the long-term consequences.

Barefoot really is best. We jam our feet into shoes, which are often too small for us and our feet become lazy.  We should be able to move our big toe independently of the rest of our toes and we should be able to spread our toes. Kids who are allowed to go barefoot or wear non-constrictive shoes grow up with excellent foot health because their feet grow naturally. Ultimately being barefoot allows us to better utilize our bodies, all around.

Chronic distress needs to be ameliorated…some how. We have, and place demands on ourselves that create distress. Stress leads to physiological complications that aren’t good and we can’t handle a steady load of stress without suffering. Chronic distress correlates with heart disease, hypertension, over-eating, obesity, insulin resistance, compromised immunity and poor health.

Ditch refined and processed foods, and sugar. There is only poor nutrition, toxins, dehydrogenated and trans-fats in refined and processed foods. Sugar cane in it’s natural state is rich in minerals and vitamins but loses all of its’ goodness when it is turned into those little white or brown crystals. We all know that research has identified refined grains, sugar, and oils as being harmful to our health.

Expose yourself to stress. Chronic distress impairs our immune system and our mental and physical health but stress can also be good as it can help make us more resilient. Exercise is a stressor and too much exercise without adequate rest becomes chronic stress. However an appropriate amount of exercise increases our strength, builds muscle, and improves our fitness. All of these physiological adaptations, when in balance, improve our health.

Fat is good for you. Embrace healthy and nutritious fats found in organic grassfeed meats and poultry, butter and olive oil, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, avocados and wild caught oily fishes.

Get some Sun. Without the Sun we would not be alive and we are meant to spend time outdoors. Full spectrum sun exposure promotes the production of Vitamin D, Nitric Oxide (for endothelial function and blood flow), and it makes us feel happy. Sunlight also helps us establish a healthy circadian rhythm. Be sensible though, with moderate amounts of sun exposure, especially in the summer months.

Hunger is normal. Unfortunately in the modern world people tend to stay in a post-prandial state for much of the day. Instead of eating separate meals we often consume food throughout the entire day. This keeps blood triglyceride levels high for too long and has potentially atherogenic consequences. If you allow yourself to go hungry between meals your food actually tastes much better. Often too we feel hungry when in fact we are probably thirsty, as our thirst response is not great.

Intensify your workouts. For most of us a 30-minute intense workout has far more benefit than longer and lower intensity. It’s better to do a little often rather than being sporadic with your training.

Just eat real food. Healthy eating is eating plants and animals, preferably from organic and sustainable sources.

Keep up with your social networks and relationships. The importance of having people you can really rely on should not be underestimated.

Lift heavy things. Strength training is essential for everyone. The aged and women are most at risk of osteoporosis and the most likely to avoid strength training. The more lean muscle mass you possess the less likely you are to have health issues.

Move. Mobility is essential for longevity and quality of life. The loss of it is really due to the fact that we move less as we get older and/or reduce the range(s) that we move in.
Nature is awesome for our health. Get out into nature, breathe the fresh air and find peace and tranquility. Getting into the outdoors can be a fantastic way to distress and relax.

Old age isn’t the end. We should continue to move, lift heavy things and generally stay physically and mentally active. More and more people will live beyond 100 and as such we need tobullet proof our bodies. Lifting heavy things regularly will help you maintain lean muscle mass, keeping you vibrant and strong. Remaining active and mobile will stave off the effects of that sedentary lifestyle most aged people regress into. Keep a positive outlook and challenge yourself cognitively as your brain controls everything in body.

Play more. As adults we tend to lose the ability play and have fun. Playing keeps us young and vibrant both physically and mentally.

Question everything. I can’t over-state the importance of this and we need to examine our prejudices and question our assumptions. Accept nothing less.

Run really fast once per week. Sprinting boosts power, builds strength and improves your all around fitness. It takes a small amount of time and has huge effects. It can be done on the flat,up-hill and downhill and in as little space as 15-20 metres. If you don’t believe me check out the lean and muscular physiques of sprinters.

Stand more, sit less and move often. It’s not enough to just exercise 3-5 times a week and walk at every the opportunity, or actively commute to work. Most of us are guilty of sitting too much, and as little as 3 hours sitting a day can have vascular, metabolic and other long-term consequences. Research has and is showing the correlation between time spent sitting and all-cause mortality, even if you do exercise regularly.

Take it easy too. It’s also essential that you make sure you get plenty of leisure time. Refer to N and P.

Use your brain. The human brain is a complex and the mostunder utilized part of our body. It has an infinite capacity to change itself and us along with it. Think deeply, read, write, draw and engage in robust debates. Study things, learn new things and create something.

Visit the moment and be in the moment. In positive psychology flow is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in the task at hand. They have focus, full involvement and enjoyment in the process of the activity. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi coined the term flow, and achieving flow is often referred to as being in the zone.

Walk as much as you can. Moving is a great to vibrancy and health and we are great walkers. Walking is a great walk to ameliorate the effects of the hours of sitting down that you do as part of your everyday job. Try and find a balance between sitting and walking and refer to S.

Xylitol. If you must have sweet in your life then try Xylitol as a sugar replacement. Xylitol looks and tastes just like sugar and it is made from plants. It can be used in cooking and baking as it is heat stable.

You’re in charge of your own body and mind. It’s your life and so it’s your choice. You decide what happens to you and how to respond to what happens. Refer to Q.

Zzzz’s are a priority. Pretty much without sleep we are nothing, we can’t recover, we can’t rejuvenate, we can’t destress and our insulin sensitivity increases. .  Ultimately our health suffers if we don’t get enough sleep and no matter how good you think your exercise and nutrition is it will have little effect if you don’t get adequate amounts of sleep. Sleep well to be well.