The mind and the body–separate, but one and the same. Although some of us identify more with the physical and others more with the mental, the health of one is inextricably tied to the health of the other. Daily upkeep of our brains and bodies needs to be our priority. It is the key to a long, healthy, and happy life.
“Diet and exercise! Diet and exercise!” we hear again and again, primarily in regard to weight loss, but they’re also the key to healthy living. Humans shouldn’t actually eat meat more than once a day. Diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are considered ideal. If you feel that you aren’t getting enough of a certain nutrient, consult with your doctor and perhaps start taking certain supplements. Vegetarians may need vitamin B6, and women at risk for osteoporosis should take calcium. Remember, supplements are just that–supplemental. They are no replacement for a nutritious diet!
Experts recommend adults do 30 minutes of exercise a day. Twenty minutes of cardiovascular exercise will start the fat-burning process. Strength training is also essential, because it creates strong bones and joints, thereby protecting us from injury. Additionally, muscle burns calories–and fat doesn’t. So the greater your muscle mass, the more calories you will burn just resting! Diet has been proven to actually increase our lifespans, and exercise has been proven to ensure five to ten more years of quality life, so we don’t spend our last decades in a hospital bed.
Pay close attention to medical issues that may come up. You know what your body is like when it’s at its peak. If you notice anything out of the ordinary that lasts more than a few days, see your doctor. If you’re having trouble sleeping and can’t figure out why ask your doctor if you have a sleep disorder such a sleep apnea.There’s no excuse for keeping oxygen from your body and brain during sleep by not getting a CPAP machine if you really need one. If your joints start to swell, see someone right away! If it’s arthritis, the earlier you catch it, the less of a problem it will be.
Studies show that the brain needs exercise just as much as the body. Continual curiosity is the key to staying young and lively! There are tons of apps out there with daily brain games. Challenge yourself to new books, learning a new language, or even taking a continuing education course at the local university in a subject you’ve always been curious about.
Training and calming the mind is also essential. People who engage in daily meditation have been shown to be more productive, healthier, and happier. A busy mind is better than a lazy mind, but a busy mind that can be still when it wants to is even better. There are tons of meditation classes out there as well as apps and online videos that can teach you how to meditate and help develop good mindfulness habits.
Of course, as we mentioned before, the mind and the body are, ultimately, inseparable. Practices that incorporate both body and brain have incredible benefits. Yoga is one such practice. Yoga serves as a movement-based meditation that develops lots of strength and flexibility. Taking a dance class will challenge your brain as you learn new steps and techniques–and it will definitely get you a good cardio workout!
And studies show that good dietary and exercise habits will also improve the mind. We think more clearly, sleep better, and have a better outlook on life when our bodies are healthy. They are one and the same. Upkeep them well.