They say ‘the greatest wealth is health’ and nothing could be truer. However, it's not always easy in modern life to understand and follow a sure-fire approach to health and wellbeing. There’s always a fad diet, a new health and fitness guru, a revised list of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods etc. It all gets a bit loud and confusing, to say the least!
So, it could be time to ‘cut the flack’ and ‘get back to basics’ with these 5 simple ways to improve your general health...
- Get a health check
It seems like a ‘no brainer’, but getting a regular health checkup (you can access bulk billing options such as this GP in South Melbourne) can give you some much-needed clarity about just where you might stand to improve your constitution and physical condition. Most importantly, it allows you to be proactive about early warning signs - before they have a chance to develop into more chronic problems.
A regular health check will produce results related to your blood pressure, blood glucose level, cholesterol levels, cardiovascular function, Body Mass Index (BMI) etc. Then, of course, there are specific screenings (which may be gender/age specific) that help to shed light on risk factors and provide early detection. For example, tests related to bone density, glaucoma, skin cancer/melanoma, breast/cervical/prostate cancer, STIs (sexually transmitted illnesses) etc.
- Address your vices
Improving your general health it doesn’t have to be all green juices, ketogenic diets, and hot yoga. Whilst these ancillary efforts may have their merit, it is much more important to ensure that you don’t gloss over those more common-sense components that make up your general health status.
This means both ‘squaring up to’ and ‘going the hard yards’ in eliminating addictive and harmful substances from your entire lifestyle. After all, if you are a chain smoker - eating your weight in kale isn’t exactly going to properly counteract the ill-effects of your toxic habit! This goes beyond tobacco and drugs to addictions to caffeine, sugar, sodium and even fast food.
- Consume a nutritious diet
When it comes to healthy eating, a practical approach is key. The cornerstone of this method is to replace processed food with nutrient-rich natural sources of energy, ie. whole foods that haven’t had their ‘goodness stripped away’.
The food pyramid is a simple yet effective guide to healthy eating, explaining which foods should be eaten, and in what quantity. Therefore, It’s not about denying yourself anything in particular (unlike some diets). It’s all about portion size and moderation as a guide for everyday eating, in everyday life.
- Exercise regularly
Adding light to moderate exercise into your daily routine will work wonders. It’s all about consistency, so getting in a routine is usually much more beneficial than a few intense hours slogged out at the gym only once or twice per week.
Fairly standard exercise like walking, bike riding and even a spot of swimming will help to keep joints and muscles in good working repair, will maintain good cardiovascular health and improve morale (due to a biologically derived release of dopamine after exercising essentially hitting ‘the pleasure centres’ of your brain) and will, of course, keep you fitter and healthier on the whole.
- Socialise and connect
The above points would not be complete without an acknowledgment of the need for connection as a part of health and wellbeing. Our emotions have a crucial link to our health, so it’s important to remember that doing things that makes up feel happier, more social and create more of a sense of belonging help us to live more vital, longer lives.
Whether it’s joining a group gym class, hitting the beach with friends, or having the family over for regular catch ups - these things are important. Humans are social animals, so mental health is always an integral part of our overall sense of resilience, robustiousness, and vigor. Did you know that a study conducted by The University of Miami School of Medicine has found that power of touch is linked to reduced pain, decreased autoimmune disease and other positive health-related factors?
Take care of your body it’s the only place you have to live in…
The body is an amazing thing. Some say it is akin to a temple. We often have an innate and deep understanding of what nurtures us best - existing somewhere underneath all the unnecessary stimuli. Rather than adding complicated measures, it can be much more about ‘stripping things back’ in order to best address our health and wellbeing over the long-term.