Maintaining a Heathy Life Style
Maintaining a Healthy Life Style
By Jonny (Amenities Technician)
We have all seen books on shelves, adverts on tv, pop ups on the internet and articles in the magazines we flick through…..
….do this… eat this… take this… this diet will change your life… health hacks… 6 minute abs…. get beach ready… feel ten years younger in 4 easy steps.
And every time they are plugging (advertising) a brand, whether it be through a subscription, diet or state of the art piece of equipment that you must have, the list goes on.
The end goal of all of this, is to part you from your money, and not just short term or a one off payment. I don’t want to get bogged down in condemning the health and fitness industry as a whole, but want to try and give you a different perspective on what you can do for yourself, that could make positive changes to your ‘habits’, that could then have a positive effect on your lifestyle.
I myself am a former Royal Marines Commando, having been through the longest and arguably the most arduous military entry training in the world, the Royal Marines pride themselves on their physical fitness and mental fortitude. I still try to maintain my physical capabilities, and over the years have become more interested in the theory side, reading the evidence based studies and papers that are out there. By no means do I profess to be one of the above authors or Gurus. I only wish to give you my opinion on how to sift through the masses of information that’s out there, to find what could benefit you.
What is a ‘healthy’ lifestyle?
We have all heard it, and to almost everyone it will mean something slightly different. ‘Healthy’ to a younger person could mean being slim, having muscles and eating salad. To someone middle aged, it could mean staying active, limiting alcohol consumption and getting their recommended sleep at night. To a person of the older generation it could mean taking walks in the countryside, eating three proper meals a day and being up early in the morning ready for the day ahead.
The truth is that it is very much open to interpretation, whether this is right or wrong I am not qualified to say, but instead I will try and give you facts and factors to bare in mind, as well as my thoughts and what has worked for me over the years.
Health, activity and age.
One of the most important things to highlight is that none of us are getting any younger and this is hugely important when it comes to maintaining the strength we need in day to day life, which coincides with the prevention of injuries, which in turn, enables us to continue with our lives.
Age-related muscle loss, called sarcopenia, is a natural part of aging. After age 30, you begin to lose as much as 5% to 8% per decade. Most men will lose over 30% of their muscle mass during their lifetimes.
Less muscle means greater weakness and less mobility, both of which may increase your risk of falls and fractures.
We can effectively be ‘pausing time’ by maintaining our bodies musculoskeletal strength. For example; someone in their 50’s who does not exercise or stay active, get the correct amounts of nutrition and sleep will have lost much more of their physical capabilities, 10 or 20 years down the line, than, had that person been doing as little as 30 minutes of exercise a day, eating correctly, and had been getting the correct amounts of quality sleep. In the later, they have ‘maintained’ their bodies and in terms, ‘paused’ their aged related deterioration. (The Maintenance Time Machine)
The Chartered Society of Physiotherapists has more information on this, as well as a booklet on preventing trips and falls;
For those of us in our 40’s and below we have little excuse, not just maintaining but furthering ourselves physically, the benefits to exercise are countless.
- Clearer mind through increased blood flow to the brain.
- Increased calorie consumption, even after you finish exercising.
- Endorphins and dopamine release, giving you a natural high and feeling of positivity post exercise.
- Reduced risk of heart disease.
- Improves mental health.
- Helps your body manage sugar and insulin levels.
- Strengthens muscles and bones.
- Improves sexual health.
- Improves sleep quality.
- Reduces the risk of some cancers.
The list goes on!
There will be many grumbles from people, saying I have no time, I do manual labour, I have kids, I’m too tired. But these are all factors in my life also, using time management and ingrained habits I get my exercise done nearly everyday. Many of us will scroll through social media for more than 30minutes a day! And in most cases this could be time better managed………
“A bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness.”
When starting out a lot people don’t know where to start when it comes to exercise, because they over think it, or over do it and end up with the delayed onset of muscle soreness (stiffness and soreness last up to two days after exercise). They see crazy exercises being performed by men and women with Greek god like bodies and can be put off before they start, to many of us these are unobtainable goals, as they are full time athletes or gym models.
My advice is, firstly, forget about what you see on the internet from these clips and what you see on the tv. More exercises have been made up and overcomplicated in the last few years than in the last hundred years!
It can be as easy as riding your bike to work and home again, performing body weight exercises in you front room, playing a sport like five a side football, investing in some running shoes and jogging our lovely local summertime lanes.
Personally, I like to do an activity that I enjoy and have my fitness improve as a fortunate byproduct, like surfing, climbing, doing martial arts, riding bikes on and off-road and running just to name a few. I can not stress enough the importance of finding something you enjoy doing, because when you enjoy it, you ‘want’ to do it again and again, then before you know it, you have fallen into a habit of exercise and activity, becoming physically fitter in this chosen activity, in turn improving your skill, ability and knowledge, leaving you feeling fulfilled and giving you positive personal growth. And don’t limit yourself to one activity, my unquenchable thirst for new experiences and skills have led me to create meaningful and fond memories, sure I may be a jack of all trades, master of none, but I consider myself a positive influence on my children, and have given myself a baseline knowledge in a many activities that I can pass on to them.
Keep it simple, you don’t need an expensive gym membership, and in this current climate you don’t need an expensive online Personal trainer, there is a huge amount of free and accessible exercise programs available on the internet, that need little or no equipment. Walking the coastal paths is a great way to get your pulse up and take in some amazing views too. No matter what your goals or levels of fitness are, there is something for you.
This is the murkiest of all the subjects and nutrition is one of the biggest contributing factors to improving fitness, energy levels, weight management, recovery and a whole host of factors encompassing wellness. There are so many diets out there that will deceive your body to lose weight quickly and then put the weight back on and begin the cycle again, warning bells should sound when you see ‘eat as much as you want of this’, or just drink this instead of a meal…..
Again, I am not qualified to tell you the facts of what nutrition you need, everyone is different. I eat fruit and vegetables, fish, chicken, red meat, pasta, cheese, drink milk, all because they each have valuable nutritional value. At the weekend I like to have a pizza or something I know isn’t so great for me, because by no means am I holier than thou and enjoy the culinarily delights that we all do.
Steer clear of obviously high sugar foods, sweets, fizzy drinks, beer in the evenings through the week. If you can, cook your meals from scratch, have your primary drink as water and eat sensible portions.
Protein produces a chemical that tricks your brain into thinking you are full, so I include this in my meals or snacks in the form of meat, nuts or beans. As a guideline we should be consuming around 50g of protein a day, to much protein can be hard for the liver to process, and this goes hand in hand with hydration. Staying well hydrated is important to how we process the foods we eat, and will improve our physical output by up to 20%, it aids digestion and weight loss, keeps our skin clear, and helps kidney function to name just some of its pro’s. The guidelines are that we try and drink around 2 litres of water a day, trying to limit drinks with caffeine, which is a diuretic (forces water out of your body).
Sleep and rest.
Sleep is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies and the emphasis is on good quality sleep.
During our sleep our body uses our glycogen stored in our livers as energy to do all kinds of things to repair our bodies, the body releases hormones that slow, breathing, the heart, reduce blood pressure and relax muscles, this reduces inflammation and allows the body to repair its self. With regards to the immune system, your body will make more white blood cells that can attack viruses and bacteria that can hinder the healing process. Your immune system relies on sleep to be able to fight harmful substances. Quality sleep is a must for all of us to stay healthy, if you don't get enough sleep, your immune system is not able to properly protect the body from infection, and in this current climate it has never been more important to keep your immune system in its peak condition.
We all have a responsibility to our selves and our loved ones to try and stay on top of our health and wellbeing, if we all took better care of our bodies, we as a population, would spend less time being ill and hospitals would be able to focus more on unavoidable illnesses. We are capable as individuals of mitigating the chances of getting life threatening illnesses like, cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes, through diet and exercise/activity. We should see ourselves as role models for the future generation and pass on the information we know, so that one day they will be able to make informed decisions on their own health, fitness and wellbeing in the future.