As I wrote in my earlier article, I believe there are 4 pillars to optimal health. Your physical health is one of the foundational pillars.
“Let your food be thy medicine and your medicine be thy food.” This is a quote often attributed to Hippocrates. His actual quote translates to “Your nutrition is your medicine.” Hippocrates would likely be appalled at what constitutes “nutrition” in the 21stcentury.
Your body is a temple. People in earlier times honored their bodies and nourished them with whole, pure, simple foods. Yes, life was much more difficult before the advent of some modern conveniences such as safe dwellings, central heating and air conditioning, and many of the medical and scientific advances we enjoy today.
Causes of Death
Modern medicine has basically eradicated many of the diseases that used to kill us. In 1900 the leading causes of death were pneumonia, influenza and tuberculosis. In 2010 the leading causes of death were cancer and heart disease. Our life expectancy has increased, but the quality of our physical health has decreased because we often suffer with chronic diseases for years. I believe we can change that!
We abuse our physical bodies in a multitude of ways. Think about American football players and the long-term effects on their bodies, including concussions.
Many females, and even some males, suffer from eating disorders. There are addictions of every type imaginable. We tend to work ourselves to the bone in a drive to “get ahead” or prove our worth. We ignore the warning signs.
I remember as a child growing up in the 1960s, it was a special treat when my parents went out on Saturday nights and my grandmother babysat – and we ate Swanson’s TV dinners! Frozen dinners were rare in those days, and fast food restaurants were few and far between. Women were entering the workforce in large numbers, so it wasn’t as convenient for them to prepare fresh, home cooked meals every night. Today, fast food and prepackaged foods are the norm.
Sitting Is the New Smoking
We sit too much and suffer from a severe lack of moving our bodies. If we’re spending 6-8 or more hours a day sitting (at a desk, in traffic, in front of a computer or television), it’s certainly beneficial to go to a gym and work out, or run in marathons, or practice yoga – but none of that is enough to counter the effects of all the sitting we do. Sitting is now considered to be the new smoking. Not that long ago we didn’t know the negative effects of smoking. We do now, and the rates of smoking have decreased significantly. What will it take before we realize the dangers of sitting, and then do something to change it?
Packaged food, processed food, fast food, convenience food, sedentary lifestyles. It’s all there to make life “easier.” But at what cost?
Here are 5 simple tips to begin to see significant improvements in your physical health. Warning: Simple does not necessarily mean they are easy!
1. Choose Organic, Whole Foods. So much of what we consider “food” today is devoid of nutrients. Choose foods that are fresh, organic, and nutrient dense for optimal health. Before consuming something, ask yourself if it will nourish your body or not. Choose wisely.
2. Drink Plenty Of Water. Ditch the soft drinks and alcohol. As a society, we are dehydrated. We often think we’re hungry when in reality we’re dehydrated. Spring water is your best choice.
3. Move Your Body. It happens to all of us. We get caught up in a project we’re working on and before you know it, hours have gone by and we haven’t left our chair. Every 20 minutes, get up and move your body for two minutes. Set a reminder on your phone or calendar if necessary.
4. Get Quiet. Spend 15 minutes in silence or stillness every day. We are overstimulated by technology and just the busy-ness of daily life. Tuning it all out for 15 minutes a day will help you reconnect to yourself. Yoga is a wonderful way to do this.
5. Sacred Sleep. Get 8-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Create a ritual. Go to bed at the same time each night and within a matter of days, your body will automatically begin to wind down when it knows that time is approaching.
These are all very simple things you can do, but it takes making new choices. I believe you’re worth it! I’ll be sharing more on all of these (and more!) in the near future.
What are some of your favorite ways to honor your physical body? Share them with me in the comments section.