To flourish with youth and vigour, to thrive, to shine, to glow. To be in the prime of life, a time of greatest vigour and freshness.
A condition of optimal well-being, soundness of body and mind, freedom from illness and disease.
I suppose health means different things to different people and it changes as we get older. As I was trying to think of a name for my company, I began to think long and hard about my own ideas on health. I remembered back to that feeling of freshness and youth, a time full of possibilities and freedom. I want to feel that way every day for the rest of my life. Who doesn’t? Back then I didn’t even have to think about it…”health” just happened. Now, I have to work hard at it. I have to be mindful. I have to think about it. I have to schedule “health” into my life.
At times, it has been a challenge but to be honest, the rewards have been wonderful. I feel healthier than ever before and I do things I would have never thought of doing when I was younger. And that’s what got me thinking about real health. Healthy isn’t running a 10k or lifting weights in the gym or pounding treadmill twice a week. That’s all fine; it’s exercise to push your boundaries, change the shape of your body or maybe it’s for fun or stress relief but it’s not needed for health or disease prevention.
Being healthy is to live life to the full and to be able to make choices without being limited by the size of our bodies or our inability to move well or our lack of self-confidence. But how do we get to that state? Easy: move more throughout the day and eat well. Actually it is not so easy. Everything around us makes it difficult. From temptingly delicious looking yet highly-processed junk food, subliminal marketing techniques, gadgets and gizmos to make “life easier”, PCs, TVs, consoles, we are set up to fail. Everything is designed to make us move less and eat badly!!
So, it’s going to be a bit of a learning curve. A re-education. To be able to bring activity back into our daily lives, we are going to have to “fight the system”! Sounds radical? Well, it is.it’s not cool to be healthy… you will be the nerd, the weirdo the health freak! The car will call to you…the sofa will seduce you…a caramel macchiato beckons.All around you well meaning friends will try and tempt you out of your new healthy regime…
“You can’t eat sugar?! That’s unnatural. How will you survive? Here have a doughnut”
But if you have chosen to look after yourself and your future, you will fight it. And you will feel better and stronger for doing it. In fact, there is something quite liberating about being a little different. You feel a little burst of pride in yourself.
If there were two things that I would recommend you incorporate into your life to improve not just long term health outcomes but to optimise your experience of living in the present, it would be to:
- Walk at pace for 30-40minutes daily, every day! And u can build up to it slowly, just 10mins twice a week perhaps at first then three times a week , step by step until without even realising , you are walking 30minutes every single day that you are physically able! Movement is Medicine.And the side effects are all positive if you exercise sensibly and avoid overdoing it or getting extreme.
- Eat with awareness:Reduce your portions. Eat vegetables as much as possible. Stop eating junk food/processed foods/packet food/ready meals (OK, maybe once or twice a year for a treat!). Food is Medicine. Do not trust large commercial companies to look after your health. Believe it or not they really dont care too much for you. Take responsibilty for what you put into your body.
I know, Its all easier said than done. But its your choice, your decision. If you want to make changes to your life and health be prepared for some hard (but totally fulfilling) work.First find a motivator to start you off(why do you need to do this/what do you want) , focus on that as you then do the tough job of making your changes into a HABIT. Work in little steps but often. The key is OFTEN, regularly, consistently.
Take a look at the chart below. Maybe it will help you make those small changes in activity levels you need to improve your health and the outlook for your future.
And that’s only one disease. The benefits extend to so many other conditions…
So, small steps. What are you going to do differently from today?
• Take the stairs, not the lift?
• Park as far from the supermarket/office entrance as you can?
• Do your own housework or gardening?
• Walk around while you are on the phone?
• Stand and stretch a little every 30-40mins?
It’s a small challenge…but as they say “from small beginnings come great things”
I’d love to hear your stories . What is health to you? Have you had to re-evalute or change your lifestyle for the sake of your health?
Afsha Malik – Founder Bloomin Health