While we may know a lot about optimal health in theory, in reality, does our lifestyle measure up? A truly healthy life consists of many different aspects, including diet, supplements and exercise.
Health and fitness go hand-in-hand, but it’s important to choose regular exercise activities that you actually enjoy as part of your simple healthy lifestyle, to avoid it becoming a dreaded chore.
Optimal Health and Fitness
Exercise should not be all about burning calories or how much time you spend at the gym. In order for fitness to be a part of your life naturally, exercise in a way that is intuitive and natural.
As humans, our bodies were never intended for life as a couch potato or sat at a desk all day; they were designed for daily activity. It helps to understand by thinking about the exercise our ancestors did: walking, sprinting, climbing, swimming, crawling and lifting heavy things. By replicating those activities on a daily basis, we will be giving our body a natural all-round workout as nature intended.
Related: Exercise Your Right to Brain Health
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) published an excellent Complete Guide to Fitness and Health which gives plenty of tips, instructions and illustrations on how to achieve optimal health through nutrition and exercise.
Health and Diet
Exercise is just one part of optimal health and it has to be done in conjunction with a healthy diet.
Once again, it pays to think simply and eat like our ancestors did. Their diet as hunter-gatherers would have included meat, fish, fowl, fruit, nuts, raw vegetables and plants. They would have drunk plenty of water rather than sugary, soda and drinks heavy in caffeine and artificial sweeteners.
Genetically engineered foods such as soy, corn, canola oil and varieties of vegetables and fruits would not have been part of our diet historically, and neither would pesticides and fertilizers. It’s a good reason to go organic and try to get back to the optimally healthy lifestyle nature intended.
Sleep and Stress
In the days before electricity brought TV entertainment, our ancestors would have risen and slept according to the hours of daylight and nightfall. They would have enjoyed plenty of sleep. Stress would have been limited to key moments during a hunt, when the “fight or flight” hormones of adrenalin and cortisol would have kicked in momentarily, not all the time as in our modern-day lives.
Although we may pride ourselves on our civilized and developed society, when it comes to optimal health and fitness, it can be good to look back and try to emulate the simple, natural lifestyle that our bodies are designed for.