It can sometimes feel that staying healthy and ageing well can be an uphill struggle. There seem to be so many conflicting ideas about what we should and shouldn't eat, which is the best diet to follow, how much or little exercise we should get and what type of exercise is best. There's plenty of advice on what supplements and special healthy products we should be including in our diet and which health and fitness guru to follow - because different ones seem to pop up all the time, with new ideas and products.
Of course, much of this is designed to relieve us of our hard earned cash, so what is the best way to stay healthy or even improve your health? I've developed a list of easy actions to take which cumulatively with benefit your health and well-being. Most cost nothing and there's a fairly heavy emphasis on reducing stress ...
Belly breathing - Take a long slow breath in through your nose. Push the air down into your tummy, almost down to your waist. Let it out again slowly. This deep breathing oxygenates your blood, feeding the body cells; it reduces muscle tension and blood pressure; it clears out stale air from the lungs and opens the airways. If you are under severe pressure, you can't do anything more effective to calm yourself down than taking a series of long slow breaths.
Exercise - Stress produces chemicals which, if they are not naturally neutralized are stored in the body to create a toxic effect. Exercise is a great way to release these chemicals. The key thing is not to overdo it. Work at 70% of your capacity in order that you don't tire yourself out. Give yourself a day off to rest your body. Do something you enjoy, it doesn't have to be difficult: a brisk walk in the country surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature will both tone the body and calm the mind.
Take more water - Often our fluid intake can affect our energy levels. Water helps rehydrate the body and it feeds the brain (water helps to conduct all those electrical connections). If you are dehydrated your system functions less efficiently. Water helps the kidneys to function more efficiently and that helps with the removal of waste within the body.
Touch therapies - You don't have to do it all yourself: give yourself a break and let someone else take the strain. Try Reflexology, Indian Head Massage, or any other touch therapy that takes your fancy. It's amazing how relaxing and re-balancing it can be.
Eat well- Our bodies are very intelligent and if you listen, your body will tell you what it needs. Basically if you aim to reduce: sugar, salt, fat, additives, caffeine and alcohol; eat a wide variety of foods, eat lots of fruit and veg and some fibre, you'll probably be eating well. You can help digestion and absorption of food if you eat slowly, savouring your food as you eat and eating regular meals will help keep blood sugar levels balanced. A few small moves towards less processed food and you will find that your food gives you energy rather than robbing you of energy.
Relax - Relaxation is nature's antidote to stress. Fifteen minutes every day should be enough to keep you in balance. Relaxation is about being rather than doing and we all need time just to be - ourselves. Relaxation allows the mind and body a bit of quiet time to connect with each other.
Posture - Good posture supports good breathing and reduces muscle tension. For a good seated posture: have your feet flat on the floot (legs and ankles uncrossed), thighs parallel to the floor, kneed away from the edge of the seat. Your back should be well supported, shoulders relaxed and down, head resting comfortably on the neck. Don't sit in any position for too long at one time or the muscles will tense up.
Let go - At the end of each day, take time out to let go all the tensions, feelings and emotions collected during the day. Today is challenge enough without carrying some of yesterday's baggage too! Often it's the negative things which we carry with us - how often do you wake up with a warm glow because of what happened yesterday? Probably not as often as you waken feeling fed-up and low because of what happened yesterday. And letting go is much easier than you'd expect, all you have to do is stop thinking about what it was that was making you feel bad.
U-time - Make time for yourself. It's not selfish, rather it's a matter of self-preservation and it will help those around you: if you are happy in yourself, and with yourself and your life, you will have much more to offer friends, family and colleagues.
Sleep well - This is a matter of quality as much as quantity. Everyone needs a different amount of sleep, what's important is that you wake up feeling refreshed and with enough energy to get you though the day. If you have difficulty sleeping, avoid alcohol, coffee and food last thing at night and make a point of letting go any worries, problems or niggles before you go to bed. If you have sleep problems, it helps to establish a bedtime routine.
If you'd like help with relaxing or sleep problems, why not try some Reflexology or Indian Head Massage. To find out more contact Doris on 07724 197627.