Health – what is it? What constitutes healthy living? Is it a healthy diet and a healthy mind?
Well, we all have our opinions. Some feel that everything in moderation is the way to health while others would never let a drop of alcohol pass their lips. Nobody has the right to tell others how to live their life. However, some facts are beyond opinion. There are things that we can do that we know will help all of us live longer, healthier lives. Three spring to mind immediately.
Number one is water. Water is the elixir of life. If you were stranded on a desert island there are a few essentials that you would need in order to survive. Shelter is one, food is another, but water would have to be the priority. You could survive without shelter and you could survive for quite a time without food but you would have to have water.
The more water you can drink the healthier you will feel. Most people do not drink anything like enough water. If you can drink two and a half litres every day then you will really benefit. Two and a half litres? You may wonder how on earth anybody could drink that much in a day. But as you become accustomed to taking on that much water it becomes easier. Very often when we think we feel hungry, the real reason is that we are actually thirsty. Try drinking some water the next time you feel peckish and start working your way toward those two and a half litres per day. Start as you mean to carry on – drink a half litre (500 ml) of water when you wake up in the morning. You can squeeze some fresh lemon into it if you want to make it more interesting. Keep a bottle of water with you. The most common concern is, ‘Will I be constantly visiting the toilet?’ You may have to ‘spend a penny’ a little more often initially but it will quickly settle down and it is very good to flush out the toxins in our bodies.
Then we have number two – eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. We all have different diets but recently even fast food restaurants have been offering more fruit and vegetables. They are a must if we want to be fit and healthy.
How ironic that when they were rationed during the 1930s-40s everybody craved fresh fruit and vegetables, yet now that they are plentiful most of us do not eat enough of them. But what is enough? Well it is difficult to eat too much of this goodness, but if you have at least two types of vegetable with each meal and some fresh fruit during the day you should be fine – just as long as you are consistent, by which we mean every day. It is interesting that nature helps to enjoy variety by making our fruit and vegetables in a wide range of colours. Variety is important to our healthy diet so try to have a range of colour in your diet.
So, what is number three? I’m sorry but it’s that one most of us try to avoid. Yes, you’ve guessed it – number three is exercise. But actually, in order to be healthy it is not necessary to be addicted to the gym. If you just make sure that you take a good walk every day that will make a big difference. Then if you want to take things further then you can – there is plenty of help and advice out there if you want it. But how far should we walk each day?
Well here is a good idea. Go out and get yourself a pedometer – a small gadget that fits in your pocket and counts your steps. How many steps should we take per day? Ten thousand! That’s right, but it is not as far as you might think. The average stride is approximately 18 inches – 2 feet (sixty centimetres). That makes ten thousand steps measure about Two and a half miles, maybe a little more – but it’s really not very far! If you struggle at first, then start with as few as you can comfortably manage and work up to ten thousand gradually. Start with a thousand steps and gradually build up to ten thousand day by day. Never push yourself too far; there is plenty of time to build up your distance. This kind of exercise has the added benefit of increasing our production of endorphins which make us feel much better in body, mind and spirit.
Following these simple guidelines will certainly add years to your life and life to your years.
Good luck and happy walking.