Last time we spoke about the 6 foundations or pillars of living a healthier lifestyle – but how do we go about achieving this balance in our lives, stay healthy and also remain motivated to do so?
Simply we must do our utmost not to compromise or ignore the importance of any of the pillars. They work in tandem and harmony and if we don’t live life with this in mind then we may end up with a weakness in the foundation of our health. In addition it isn’t just about ignoring or leaving out one of the elements, it is also about recognising how an excess in one area can be just as detrimental as too little. For example it is tempting to focus purely on exercise or calorie reduction when we are trying to achieve weight loss or to change or maintain our body composition. The problem with this approach is that in the medium or long term it is not sustainable and actually our overall health will be negatively compromised.
Calorie restriction can make us focus too much on counting calories and not enough on the quality of the foods we are eating. Our bodies will not repair themselves or adapt efficiently if we do not eat enough and a balance of all of the nutrients that they require. Just as importantly over training without adequate rest and sleep will slow progress or worse still lead to illness and injury. Once we become ill or injured then our ability to stay active is reduced and therefore exercise as the predominant strategy is possibly no longer an option until we have recovered. Once this happens our mental well-being can be effected and our levels of motivation diminish.
Using a holistic approach helps support our health and well-being by recognising the impact that each component has on the others. Regular activity that is varied and interesting will help us to stay motivated and at a level that provides enough of a training effect to make us fitter but not so much that we over train and negatively impact our health.
Our levels of activity should be supported by a good quality, nutritious and varied diet that doesn’t excessively cut calorific intake. Variety in a diet ensures we are getting all the required nutrients and makes eating exciting and therefore we are more likely to continue this way.
Our liquid intake should be in line with the amount of activity that we do and take into consideration other factors such as heat and humidity.
Increased activity will require us to take adequate rest and good quality sleep for the training to be most effective. Not only will it promote recovery, giving your body and mind time to recover it also aids in boosting happiness, contentment and ultimately our mental well-being.
Sometimes it is difficult to change our environment, but whenever possible we should get outside and be active or simply rest in a sensory and physically rejuvenating place such as at the beach or in the countryside. Just the fact that we are out in nature or a beautiful environment will mean we are more likely to be motivated to be active or to relax without distractions. A run on the beach is far more exciting and invigorating than trying to slog it out on a treadmill in the gym which becomes boring, repetitive and does little to make us want to repeat the experience on a regular basis.
The final part of the equation is our mental well-being. This typically gets overlooked but is far too important to do so. Happiness, contentment and overall mental well-being allows us to live life to the fullest and keeps us motivated to repeat positive and healthy behaviour patterns. By reducing the negative stressors in our lives means that we are less likely to over eat or drink too much alcohol as a mental crutch or have disrupted sleep patterns.
Living a holistic lifestyle which is balanced in all areas will ultimately lead to a happier, fitter and healthier you.
Find Holistic Lifestyle Fitness Part 1 here.