Ok so if you are reading this it is highly likely you need some assistance with getting that bit healthier ... and that is great. The following health tips are some of the easiest to follow regardless of your commitments in life, work, family etc.
Drinking water -
Your muscles are around 80% water (give or take) and the body as a whole is 60%+ water, for us to operate to our full potential water is a key component for our overall health. A 1% drop in hydration has shown to decrease physical performance by up to 10% !! So how much should you be drinking? ...
This is all very dependent on the lifestyle you lead, the climate, physical exertion, fluid from foods and drinks etc. Drinking half a litre of water per hour has shown to increase metabolism by 24-30% meaning your body is far more efficient at utilising food for energy and maintaining a healthy digestive system. A study conducted shows that a male aged between 31-50 using 2000kcal per day should have an intake of 2700mls over a 24 hour period ... obviously this will fluctuate on the reasons mentioned above, but 5-6 pints is a good ball park figure for most of us.
One of the easiest ways to tell is by analysing the colour of your urine ... if its clear its good, if its yellow more water is needed (just check you haven't consumed a large amount of B vitamins or it is likely to be fluorescent regardless of water intake). Also consider buying a reverse osmosis filter or any other filter that helps to remove potentially harmful chemicals from the water.
SUMMARY - try to drink around 6 pints / around 3 litres of filtered water per day
Ok this has to be one of the most contentious subjects around as to what diet is the best for overall health ... I am going to keep it brief ...
I would say it is hard to dispute that we need a good balance of food, a lot of studies point toward finding a neutral PH (slightly alkali) which means consuming foods that help to balance the bodies acid/alkali levels. As with everything if we consume too much then we tip the balance so Alkali food like greens are essential to help balance the predominantly acidic diet thats consumed in 'the west' (very generalised).
Avoid sugar and opt for complex foods ... root vegetable are a great source of carbohydrate and will provide far more energy for a lot longer.
Whether you consume meat or not I would say that all food is best when consumed as close to source as possible and free of chemicals, additives and processing. Go Organic, consume less and avoid cooking in plastics (they undoubtedly are absorbed by the food its cooked in and is one of the worst things for the planets aquatic life). Look for a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals within your food and supplement this as required, supplements assist food consumption but must not replace food (or they no longer become a supplement).
SUMMARY - Look for alkali foods, lots of colour, reduce sugars and trans fats and eat as close to source as possible whilst avoiding chemicals and additives. This is a very personal journey, but the above points will help to select foods that provide great health benefits.
Walking has been imprinted in our genetic make-up and has formed the upright posture with the 'lazy S' curvature of the spine we adopt today. As far as recent research has shown, hunter gatherers would walk for miles daily in search of food / shelter etc. Dr. Loren Cordain and a few of his colleagues wrote a paper called “Organic Fitness: Physical Activity Consistent with Our Hunter-Gatherer Heritage.” Which backed up the concept of moving around often at low intensity and its huge benefits for our overall health with a recommendation of between 3-5 hours per week.
New research has also shown that walking is great for the brain as well as the rest of the body.Researchers have found that the foot's impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain. The results of this study measured using ultrasound have shown a significant effect which is believed to be related to the unique stride rate and its relationship with brain blood flow - "There is an optimizing rhythm between brain blood flow and ambulating. Stride rates and their foot impacts are within the range of our normal heart rates (about 120/minute) when we are briskly moving along."
Walking's benefits on the body include the stimulation of the lymphatic system (removal of waste products from the body), improved cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events by up to 31%.
Walking as close to barefoot as possible is continuing to show more and more benefits through up and coming studies. The obvious ones include increasing movement, proprioception and strength of the lower limbs, but to add to this, walking barefoot has also shown a positive effect on decreasing blood pressure by reducing the viscosity of the blood via a change in charge to the surface of the red blood cells.
SUMMARY - aim to walk to around 30 - 60 minutes per day with minimalistic footwear.
Sleep is essential for recovery and all bodily functions benefit from adequate sleep, if you fail to sleep due to an abundance of external stimulus, stress or poor sleeping conditions it is likely to effect you in a large number of ways. Sleep deprivation effects your nervous system so in turn will cause decreased physical and mental performance, hormonal imbalances, memory loss, reduced sex drive etc.
So how much sleep is recommended for adults - 7-9 hours seems to be the sweet spot, I know we can all survive on less and can continue to do so for years, but just as the body can survive on poor nutrition and a lack of exercise, it doesn't mean it is the best thing to do for your health, A huge increase in mobile phone and laptop use has meant that the brain stays stimulated for hours after closing the eyes.
How to improve sleep? -
Reduce stimulus intake (coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, sugar) late at night leaving at least 6-8 hours from the last cup till the head hits the pillow. Aim to consume these drinks earlier in the day, stopping around 2pm.
Avoid the use of TV, mobile phones and laptops up until the last minute will help hit your deep wave sleep so you wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy!!
Keep sleep regular if possible, setting a regular sleep pattern will allow the body to find a rhythm that it can adapt to. Look to sleep around the same time each night and wake at roughly the same time each morning.
SUMMARY - 7-9 hours per night sleep, reduce caffeine, electronic exposure, adopt regular sleep patterns.
Check out some of the links contained within this blog for some in depth studies and more information on improving health - and one of the best health tips of all ... smile!
Thank you as always for taking the time to read this please share online ...