Many people are in search for health and fitness, but what are really the essentials for health and fitness and how do you achieve good health and overall well being?
When you have a closer look at the concept, it all boils down to the following four components, which are crucial for healthy living.
* 1 Good Nutrition
* 2 Regular Exercise
* 3 A Good Night Sleep
* 4 High Quality Nutritional Supplementation
If we choose to make good nutrition – including supplementation – and an active lifestyle a daily habit, we could add 5 to 15 healthy years to our lives.
Healthy living means: keeping a balanced, healthy diet, avoiding smoking, excessive use of alcohol and toxic chemicals, taking regular exercise, a good night sleep and supplementing our diet with high quality nutritional supplements.
I will describe in more detail the above mentioned four components for healthy living.
First of all: Good Nutrition.
You probably heard it before: "You are what you eat." Although I like a more accurate definition.it is better to say: "You are what you can get out of your food."
Good nutrition is fundamental for good health.
The human body is a complex system that requires a full spectrum of nutrients for optimal health.
What do we mean by "good nutrition"?
Good nutrition means: eating the right food that contains all the right carbohydrates, protein, fat, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and trace elements, based on your body type.
A second factor that determines good nutrition is our body's ability to absorb the nutrients from the food that we eat. The nutrients have to be in a form that the cells can accept them, and the cells have to be in optimum condition to be able to absorb the nutrients. This is called bio-availability.
These are the keys to successful nutrition and two often overlooked facts. That is one of the reasons most nutritional supplements miss the mark, they don't address the cellular condition of the body.
You may think that regular exercise, a positive mental attitude, while applying the golden rule: 'everything in moderation' the key is to good health. However, if you understand the damage caused by processed foods, it will motivate you to change your diet, if you are aiming for a high level of health and freedom of degenerative diseases.
Acid-alkaline balance. We should consume acid- and alkaline-forming foods in the right ratio's. This is not hard to realize, when we know that, generally speaking, fruits and vegetables are alkaline-forming and the rest is mostly acid-forming, with a few exceptions. You can read more about acid- and alkaline-forming foods in my article.
The Australian diet contains nearly one-and-a-half times more acid-forming food as it does alkaline-forming food. This ratio should be the other way around. The problem with eating too much acid-forming food is that it builds up toxic waste products, and is the cause of most of our health problems. A diet that contains insufficient fruit and vegetables is missing vital antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins and minerals. They are most important to prevent oxidation, caused by free radicals, which are the main cause of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.
We also need a sufficient amount of antioxidants, to counteract the formation of free radicals, caused by our stressful lifestyle, pollution in air and water and malnutrition. Oxidative stress has shown to be the root cause of over 70 chronic degenerative diseases.
Every day, the DNA in each cell in your body faces about 10,000 attacks from cell-damaging forces known as free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that have lost an electron. Free radicals are naturally produced as your body turns fuel to energy, but you also get them from pollution in air and water, stress, smoking and radiation from the sun.
These volatile molecules cruise around your body trying to stabilize themselves by stealing electrons from other molecules. When they succeed, they create still more free radicals, causing a sort of snowballing procession of damage.
Free radicals don't just sometimes pop up here and there. Up to 5% of the oxygen that each cell uses is converted into free radicals.
Free radical damage is thought to play a role in the accumulation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and the lining of your artery walls. This can lead to a narrowing of the arteries called atherosclerosis, which contributes to heart disease. And when free radicals damage DNA inside the cells, the results can be cell mutations that lead to cancer.
It is not all about nutrition, neither is it all about exercise. A balanced lifestyle is the key. Exercise at least three times per week. Aerobics, jogging, swimming, cycling and also include weight lifting in your exercise routine, which is important for maintaining a healthy bone-structure.
The key is to do the right exercise. Aerobics are usually recommended in the weight loss industry, the more intense the better, which is all wrong !! The problem is that aerobics exercises that raise your heart rate above 120 beats per minute, which include running, rowing, swimming, cycling and many of those fancy aerobics classes in health clubs, all strip off muscle almost as much as they strip off fat.
And as you know, muscle loss reduces your ability to burn fat and sets you up to become even fatter. Remember, muscle is the engine in which body fat is burned. You should do everything you can to maintain it for the rest of your life.
Walking is good for many health reasons, it also burn some fat and will not burn muscle. But the best exercise for fat control is wide-variety high repetition resistance training, using weights or machines.
By exercising all the muscles of your body, you burn a lot of fat. Another advantage of resistance exercises is that it increase muscle and as a result provide more muscle cells to be able to burn fat. It's a real health bargain.
Another important factor is proper pace. Don't overdo it. You can't force things to happen at once. The secret to good health is consistency and steadiness. The right amount of food and regular exercise.
The simple technique of 'deep breathing' can make a powerful contribution to feeling good and being fit and well. Our bodies need an abundance of physical and mental energy to be able to function at their best.
The energy source is food, but food is useless without oxygen, which is the key to our power. The more oxygen we deliver to our cells, the more energy we will have.
Breathing is the way we obtain oxygen and the benefits of periodic deep- breathing are enormous. However, if our breathing is shallow, we cripple the functioning of our systems. When the oxygen supply to our lungs is not sufficient, it can contribute to illnesses, both physical and mental. Posture is important for proper breathing.
The third factor of health and fitness is a good night sleep. There is nothing more beneficial than a good nights sleep and there is a great physiological need for it if the individual likes to feel refreshed and alert during the following day. Sleep is also important for your memory and learning capacity and possibly for maintaining a good immune system. But there are still many unanswered questions regarding the function of sleep.
This is possibly best explained with the fact that people suffering from insomnia also suffer from reduced concentration, reduced memory and decreased ability to accomplish daily tasks. They are also at greater risk for work related accidents and road accidents, many sick days, increased use of healthcare services and a lower perceived quality of life.
Insomnia is usually perceived as related to not getting enough sleep, which means that the person either has trouble falling or staying asleep. However, poor quality of sleep, whereby the sufferer wakes up not feeling refreshed, even after sufficient hours spent sleep, is a common complaint, especially by elderly people.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the brain, manufactured by the pineal gland and secreted at night. It is quickly degraded, but by being continuously secreted all through the night, it acts like a sleep regulator and 'signal of darkness' in humans. However the natural production of melatonin tends to decrease with age. specially in elderly suffering from insomnia, the production of melatonin is decreased compared to elderly with no sleep problems.
Research has proven that melatonin, when taken in small doses of 0.1 milligram, can decrease the effects of jetlag, like sleeping difficulties and tiredness.
The fourth component is: a high quality nutritional supplements. As I mentioned earlier, most supplements do not address the cellular condition of your body. Even worse, many are in a form that is unacceptable for the cells themselves and don't contain biological available substances that are useful for the cells in your body.
People who are suffering from a chronic degenerative disease are under greater oxidative stress than normal. In this case, optimizers are important to use in order to support any existing nutritional program.
It's been scientifically proven that there are substantial health benefits in taking nutritional supplements. The benefits of nutritional supplements are scientifically verified over the past two years. Hundreds of scientific studies have proved that nutritional supplements can significantly reduce the risk of degenerative diseases.
Apart from the future benefits, eating well and exercising regularly to achieve health and fitness, also enable us to enjoy life so much more right now!