“Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.”
– Albert Schweitzer, French theologian, writer and physician
Like it or lump it, you only get one body in this life.
So why wouldn’t you want to care for it, to keep in good working order, and get it checked over once in a while to ensure it’s ok and up to the job?
Many, many reasons, that’s for sure and that’s the simple truth. You may just be too busy with your work or your family commitments to spare enough time, you may lack the motivation to exercise on a regular basis, or, if you’re like I was for most of my younger years, something else is there in your life that puts everything else way down your list of priorities. And for me, that was drug and alcohol addiction.
If you really want everything else to take a backseat, be an addict. That’ll do it. Furthermore, if you really aren’t keen on maintaining your physical health, and are happy to just take it for granted, do hard drugs. For me, that was meth.
Fortunately for me, however, my parents never lost their love for me, and one day, it culminated in them driving me to the next state over, and into the care of a drug and alcohol rehab facility, whose wonderful staff that made it their job to first save, and then change my life.
It’s the education I received there that has stood me in such good stead, allowing me to enjoy over 9 years of being completely clean and sober. Furthermore, by following their physical health advice, I’ve never been fitter and stronger. Here’s what I learned: 5 Ways to Take Care of Your Essential Physical Health.
Studies into the health benefits of physical activity clearly shows that regular exercise is a win-win situation. By engaging in such activity, you reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis.
The other win is this – if you live a pretty sedentary existence, by introducing regular physical activity into your day, you will see clear improvements in your overall health too. In addition, there is a clear correlation between aerobic-type exercise and mental health improvements, including better mood and less anxiety.
The secret to remaining motivated, if that is an issue for you, is to find activities that you enjoy. Even I find going to the gym somewhat boring, which is why, more often than not, you’ll find me out on a basketball court instead.
Taking the time to ensure you eat a balanced diet is nearly as important as the exercise itself. Yes, if you’re pushed for time, driving home via a drive-thru or grabbing a sandwich at the local convenience store can be tempting, but you really aren’t doing yourself any favors when it comes to healthy nutrition.
Remember, eating processed foods high in sugars, sodium and fats can contribute to obesity and high blood pressure. Making sure you are eating healthily can reduce the risk of heart disease, several types of cancer and obesity.
So what do we mean by a balanced diet? Firstly, the advice doesn’t get much sounder than making sure you get your 5 portions of fruits and vegetables per day. It really makes a difference. Additionally, you should choose whole grain or higher fibre versions of your carbohydrates, choose dairy products that are low in fats and sugars, and get your protein from beans, pulses and fish rather than from red meats.
We all know what we’re like if we have a bad night’s sleep. We wake up like some ravenous, hibernating bear, and a very grizzly one at that! Poor sleep means we’re unable to focus, irritable and stressed throughout the whole day. Not only that, sleep deprivation can result in an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and mood disorders.
When I first became clean and sober, sleep was one of the biggest issues, and I was advised by the rehab staff to do the following to improve the situation:
- Regulate your biological clock: go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday
- Do not drink coffee in the evenings, and
- Exercise several hours before you go to bed
Yes, of course we were going to cover this one, and, I’m sure, what follows won’t surprise you one iota! According to data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug abusers are at far greater risk of lung and cardiovascular disease, as well as various cancers, stroke, and mental disorders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 3.3 million worldwide deaths every year as a result of alcohol consumption – that’s 5.9% of all deaths. Alcohol abuse can severely damage vital organs, eg. your heart, liver, pancreas, as well as damage your immune system and, again, increase your risk of various cancers.
If you are feeling sick or generally unwell, go see your doctor as it may well be an indication of something more serious. However, in the meantime, make sure you get yourself medically checked over on a regular basis, both at your doctor’s and at your dentist.
Yes, like it or lump it, you only get one body in this life, and you need to care for it, to keep in good working order, and get it checked over regularly. You don’t have to make any massive alterations to your lifestyle to take care of your health – just a few adjustments that can go a long way in preventing future disease and maintaining your overall physical and mental health.
What ways do you use to stay healthy? What advice can you offer those in need of motivation? Please let us know in the comments below. Take care.
To read more on topics like this, check out the health category.