“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity,” says the World Health Organization. While fitness is certainly important, you need to start paying attention to your mind and body as a whole. It includes taking a variety of actions that start with your diet but include intellectual endeavors and relationships.
Eat in Variety
Take a close look at what’s on your plate from meal to meal. Do you see the same things over and over again? If so, you’re probably not getting the vitamins, minerals, and proteins you need to feel strong and full of energy. Mix it up with different fruits, vegetables, and lean meats while controlling portion size by using the marvels that modern technology has given us, namely digital scales and measuring cups that keep the calorie count at optimum levels.
That’s much easier to do if you look forward to exercising rather than dread it. If you do find yourself dragging your feet on the way to the gym, change your routine and make it fun. That could be as simple as listening to music while you’re on the treadmill or inviting your friends along for the next yoga session. Don’t forget team sports, either. Football and basketball can be as good as jogging, if not better when it comes to burning off fat. One way to make exercising more convenient is to create a home gym. This doesn’t have to be an expensive venture. Some simple exercise equipment like resistance bands, dumbbells, kettlebells, and a yoga mat will work just fine.
Spend Time With Friends
Hanging out with friends almost always makes you feel better, otherwise, you wouldn’t be friends at all. What’s coming to light, according to The Muse, is they also help break bad habits. If you smoke, for example, that may not bother you, but it annoys them, and they’ll let you know with a word or two. That gives you a reason to quit and be a better person in the long run.
Flex your brain. It needs a workout just as badly as your muscles, and yet so many people neglect it in favor of television or video games. That’s a big mistake because they’re missing out on a wide variety of improvements in cognitive functioning they could get from cracking open a book. According to Inc., reading improves your thinking skills and concentration while widening your vocabulary to make you a more engaging speaker and writer.
Go for a Hike
More than just exercise, a hike provides you with time to enjoy all of the benefits of nature therapy. Scenery lifts your mood, alleviates stress and even helps you get to sleep on time, which can be a struggle for many. Moreover, your skin’s exposure to sunlight is necessary for the production of vitamin D, which promotes strong muscles and bones.
You don’t have to master the guitar or painting to reap the benefits of an artistic endeavor. Just the process itself has been shown to relieve stress in a manner similar to meditation as your mind gets in sync with the actions of your hands. This also works to increase cognitive functioning by encouraging the creation of new neurons and helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
Put Aside Your Gadgets
The constant alerts from your laptop and smartphone set off your “fight or flight” response and increase your heart rate, ultimately leading to more stress and potentially even depression. Turning these devices off or just ignoring them for a few hours a day reverses this process and gives you some quality time to do things like reading or chatting with friends. Your beleaguered brain will thank you.
You’ll feel the difference once you think of your body as a whole rather than just focusing on your waistline. That’s the real path to well-being.
Image via Unsplash.
Written by: Jennifer McGregor