Being healthy is something worth striving for, but what does it actually mean?
First of all, being healthy is NOT a one-size-fits-all prescription. Throughout different stages of your life, the healthy habits that work best for you will change as your lifestyle changes — and this is perfectly normal!
Health should be approached in a holistic way that takes into account your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Finding balance in these areas is one way to feel healthy, and become empowered to live your life to the fullest.
What does being healthy mean?
Being healthy looks different for different people. When you are healthy, you will feel well: physically, mentally and socially. Being healthy means feeling your best, it’s not about how you look.
Following a strict diet or exercise regimen won’t make you healthy — to be healthy you must care for your body and mind, as a whole.
The steps that you take to care for your health will change throughout the different stages of your life — but there are some fundamental areas of your health that you can prioritise to ensure that you feel your best.
Here are some ways that you can take personal accountability for your own health and wellness:
Caring for your body through good nutrition
Good nutrition can have a lasting impact on our health and wellness, from preventing lifestyle diseases to reducing inflammation and supporting muscle growth and repair during your fitness journey.
If you’re not sure about what healthy eating means for you, take the time to educate yourself on the variety of foods that you should eat to meet your macronutrient and micronutrient targets each day, to ensure you have enough energy for your day-to-day tasks and your training. As your lifestyle and training goals change over time, you’ll need to adjust your portions to ensure that your body has the right fuel to meet your health goals.
Eating healthy food is something that should fit into your lifestyle. Once you understand the principles of healthy eating, you can take a mindful approach to your nutrition that helps you to maintain a healthy daily food intake, while staying healthy socially, physically and mentally.
Make time for regular exercise
There are so many benefits to exercising regularly — exercise can help you to beat the effects of stress, improve sleep and boost your mood. Exercise doesn’t always have to mean going to the gym or doing the same thing.
Trying different forms of exercise that suit your lifestyle will help you to stay motivated to keep moving your body.
Incidental exercise, like taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking an extra stop to catch the bus, can help you to meet your movement goals even when you don’t have workouts scheduled in.
Sometimes a high-intensity workout will be exactly what you need to get a boost of energy, but if you’ve been under a lot of stress, low-impact cardio may be the most beneficial style of exercise. Always listen to your body and adjust your training according to how you feel.
When you have a specific fitness goal, following a structured personal training program can help you to achieve that goal sooner.
Get enough rest
When you set up a new fitness or wellness routine, it’s easy to schedule in all your workouts and daily activities — but have you left enough time for rest and relaxation?
Whether you are aiming to live a balanced, healthy lifestyle or training for a specific event or performance target, rest days are essential for your recovery and mental wellbeing.
Rest doesn’t mean losing progress or doing nothing at all — active recovery can help you to stay focused between higher intensity training days.
Prioritising sleep is another essential aspect of being healthy. When you sleep, the cells of your body regenerate and your body has time to adapt to your training. Making small changes to improve your sleep over time can have a dramatic impact on your overall health.
Prioritise your mental and emotional wellbeing
Being healthy means more than just looking after your physical body — positive thoughts and a healthy mindset are also key to your wellbeing. Whether you’re recovering from a fitness setback, or there are other areas of your life causing you stress, taking steps to cultivate a positive attitude can help to improve how you feel.
Some ways that you can do this include expressing gratitude daily or making time for regular mindfulness practice. You can incorporate these principles into your everyday activities — taking care of your mental wellbeing doesn’t have to be a huge time commitment.
A 2013 study by Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand, and published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that a four-day mindfulness meditation programme reduced cortisol levels, a stress hormone in your blood, however further research is needed in this area.
Being healthy means prioritising your physical and mental wellbeing
Choosing to be healthy doesn’t have to be complicated. When you find balance in your life, you are on the right track to feeling your best!
It can be as simple as setting aside 15 minutes for a quick workout, preparing a healthy snack to take with you, or trying a new training style.
Start with small, sustainable changes that fit into your lifestyle, and remember, you can find the support and motivation you need from the Sweat Community. Being healthy isn’t a short-term goal or something to do for a few weeks — it’s a lifelong journey!