Your Body needs Balance to Thrive

You need balance, and why it’s so crucial to your health.

Family and Friends

Human beings do not thrive alone. We need our family and friends as pillars of support, especially in difficult times. Having a strong network of supportive family and friends helps enhance our mental well-being.

As the saying goes, ‘No man is an island’ everyone needs companionship and a shoulder to lean on. It is important to surround ourselves with family and friends for support and comfort in both times of joy and distress. Studies have shown that having supportive relationships is a strong protective factor against mental illnesses and helps to increase our mental well-being.

What does it mean to have a supportive network of family and friends?

Having a supportive network of family and friends does not mean that one should seek to make as many friends as possible for the sake of doing so. Instead, one should strive to focus on the several important relationships with a handful of people in their social circle and strengthen these relationships.

It is about building and maintaining a network of people that you can trust and fall back on in times of difficulty.

Why is it important to have a supportive network of family and friends?

After our basic physiological (air, water, etc.) and safety needs (safe neighborhood, job security, etc.) are met, the next stage is to fulfill our social needs. We need to feel a sense of belonging to a larger social group and feel socially connected to our family and friends.

Furthermore, we need people to turn to for advice and encouragement whenever we face difficult times.

It is not enough to just have one person in your support network as you may over-rely and exhaust that person. It can also be devastating if the only one person that you have been relying on is unable to be with you. Therefore, it is advisable to have a number of strong relationships in your social circle.

Furthermore, different people bring out different aspects of our personalities and fulfill different roles in our lives. For example, an extroverted friend may bring out the party animal in you whenever you are in the mood to have fun and celebrate, whereas, another friend who is quiet and loyal can be a good listener when you need to talk about your problems. Different people can also help us to see the same problem in different ways. This gives us a more complete picture of the situation.

Build this network!

Keep in touch with friends and loved ones on a regular basis. Make an effort to catch up over a cup of coffee or even a simple phone call to ask them about how they are getting on. They will be able to feel your concern and sincerity from the time you spend with them. Read more about how you can zest up your family life and to make new friends and maintain good relationships.

Show appreciation for your loved ones from time to time to remind them of how important they are to you. Very often, a simple ‘How are you?’ or ‘I’m glad that you are in my life’ note shows that you care and value them.

By putting in the time and effort to maintain your relationships, you will enjoy the positive returns from the strong connections you have with the people in your life.

Pick up a new hobby and get to know like-minded people who enjoy doing the same activities. Join an interest club or participate in community activities. Share your experiences with people you meet- this may be the start of new and fulfilling friendships.

Having a supportive network of family and friends can also help us to be positive when we go about our daily life.

Healthy Eating

Food provides the body with nutrients needed to keep you going throughout your day. You literally eat to live, yet too much desire to eat can make you feel as though you are living to eat and lead to unwanted pounds and health problems. Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.

A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety, and moderation.

Controls Weight

You know that healthy habits make sense, but did you ever stop to think about why you practice them? Research shows that the impact of good health on your quality of life is far-reaching, regardless of your age, sex, or physical ability. Check out these qualities that good health promotes.

Eating right and exercising regularly can help you avoid excess weight gain and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, you can obtain benefits of exercise by being active in simple ways throughout the day. For example, walk instead of driving or take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Eating a balanced, calorie-managed diet can also help control weight. When you start the day with a healthy breakfast, you may avoid becoming overly hungry later, which could send you running to get fast food before lunch, says the American Dietetic Association (ADA). The ADA also recommends incorporating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day which are low in calories and high in nutrients into your diet to help with weight control.

Improves Mood

Doing right by your body pays off for your mind as well. Physical activity stimulates brain chemicals that often leave you feeling both happier and more relaxed. Eating a healthy diet as well as exercising can lead to a better physique, so you may also feel better about your appearance, which can boost your confidence and self-esteem. The American Council on Exercise reports that the short-term benefits of exercise include decreased stress and the ability to think better.

It’s not just diet and exercise that lead to improved mood. According to a study published in the American Journal of Health Behavior, another healthy habit that leads to better mental health is making social connections. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a club, or attending a movie, communal activities help improve mood and mental functioning by keeping the mind active and serotonin levels balanced, says the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Scientists found that a higher intake of fruits and veggies resulted in more energy, calm, and greater feelings of overall happiness. They also noted that the effects were seen not only on the days more produce was consumed but also throughout the following day.

Combats Diseases

Healthy habits can help prevent certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure by helping to keep certain biomarkers, such as cholesterol and blood pressure, within their targets. This combination keeps your blood flowing smoothly, decreasing your risk of cardiovascular diseases. The Mayo Clinic says that regular physical activity and a proper diet can help you prevent or manage a wide range of other health problems, including metabolic syndrome, diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, and arthritis.

Boosts Energy

We’ve all experienced that lethargic feeling we get after eating too much unhealthy food. When you eat a balanced diet including whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and fruits and vegetables, your body has the fuel that it needs to manage your energy level.

Regular physical exercise also improves muscle strength and boosts endurance, giving you more energy, says the Mayo Clinic. Exercise helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and gets your cardiovascular system working more efficiently so that you have more energy to go about your daily activities. It also helps boost energy by promoting better sleep–helping you fall asleep faster and deepening your sleep.

Improves Longevity

When you practice healthy habits, you boost your chances of a longer life. The American Council on Exercise reported on an eight-year study of 13,000 people. The study showed that those who walked just 30 minutes each day significantly reduced their chances of dying prematurely, compared with those who exercised infrequently. Looking forward to more time with loved ones is reason enough to keep walking.

Weight control is a common reason that you might consider eating healthily. Although following a balanced diet can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, this is only one benefit. Those who follow a healthy, well-balanced diet reduce their risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Aim to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and unsaturated fats.

Sounder Sleep

Numerous studies have tied better sleep to improvements in overall wellness, and more and more research indicates that eating the right foods can help

Better Workouts

In recent years several healthy foods have been shown to build muscle, boost recovery, or improve endurance.

Glowing Skin

Healthy eating really does give you a natural glow. At least that’s what University of Nottingham scientists found when their study concluded that photographs of people who ate more produce were rated as more attractive than those with suntans. Another from the University of St. Andrews found that people who upped their intake of fruits and veggies by roughly three more daily portions for six weeks were rated as more attractive than those with lower produce intakes. The lesson: you really are what you eat both inside and out!

Improved Brain Function

For some time the Mediterranean diet has been considered the gold standard for optimal health. Cornerstones of this eating plan include eating lots of veggies and fruits, along with fish, beans, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds, a moderate amount of wine and a low intake of fatty meats, dairy products, refined grains, and sugar. A recent study from the National Institutes found that people who consistently adhere to a Mediterranean-like diet were less likely to have brain infarcts, small areas of dead tissue in the brain linked to cognitive problems.

Aim for balance. Most days, eat from each food group-grains, protein foods, vegetables and fruits, and dairy. Listen to your body. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you feel satisfied.

Look for variety. Be adventurous. Choose different foods in each food group. For example, don’t reach for an apple every time you choose a fruit. Being physically active can also help you stay strong and fit enough to keep doing the things you like to do as you get older. Making exercise and physical activity a regular part of your life can improve your health and help you maintain your independence as you age. Variety of foods each day will help you get all the nutrients you need.

Practice moderation.

Don’t have too much or too little of one thing. All foods, if eaten in moderation, can be part of healthy eating. Even sweets can be okay.

Healthy eating will help you get the right balance of vitaminsminerals, and other nutrients. It will help you feel your best and have plenty of energy. It can help you handle stress better.

Healthy eating is one of the best things you can do to prevent and control many health problems, such as heart disease, high blood pressuretype 2 diabetes and some types of cancer.

Is healthy eating the same as going on a diet?

Healthy eating is not a diet. It means making changes you can live with and enjoy for the rest of your life.

Diets are temporary. Because you give up so much when you diet, you may be hungry and think about food all the time. And after you stop dieting, you also may overeat to make up for what you missed.

Eating a healthy, balanced variety of foods is far more satisfying. And if you match that with more physical activity, you are more likely to get to a healthy weight and stay there-than if you diet.

Water

Your body uses water in all its cells, organs, and tissues to help regulate its temperature and maintain other bodily functions. Because your body loses water through breathing, sweating, and digestion, it’s important to rehydrate by drinking fluids and eating foods that contain water.

Without water, your body would stop working properly. Water makes up more than half of your body weight, and a person can’t survive for more than a few days without it. Why? Your body has lots of important jobs and it needs water to do many of them. For instance, your blood, which contains a lot of water, carries oxygen to all the cells of your body. Without oxygen, those tiny cells would die and your body would stop working.

Water is also in lymph, a fluid that is part of your immune system, which helps you fight off illness. You need water to digest your food and get rid of waste, too. Water is needed for digestive juices, urine (pee), and poop. And you can bet that water is the main ingredient in perspiration, also called sweat.

Besides being an important part of the fluids in your body, water is needed by each cell to function normally.

The Health Benefits of Water

Did you know that your body weight is approximately 60 percent water? The amount of water you need depends on a variety of factors, including the climate you live in, how physically active you are, and whether you’re experiencing an illness or have any other health problems.

Water Protects Your Tissues, Spinal Cord, and Joints

Water does more than just quench your thirst and regulate your body’s temperature; it also keeps the tissues in your body moist. Do you know how it feels when your eyes, nose, or mouth gets dry? Keeping your body hydrated helps it retain optimum levels of moisture in these sensitive areas, as well as in the blood, bones, and the brain. In addition, water helps protect the spinal cord, and it acts as a lubricant and cushion for your joints.

Water Helps Your Body Remove Waste

Adequate water intake enables your body to excrete waste through perspiration, urination, and defecation. The kidneys and liver use it to help flush out waste, as do your intestines. Water can also keep you from getting constipated by softening your stools and helping move the food you’ve eaten through your intestinal tract. However, it should be noted that there is no evidence to prove that increasing your fluid intake will cure constipation.

Water Prevents You from Becoming Dehydrated

How Much Water Do You Need?

In fact, most people who are in good physical health get enough fluids by drinking water and other beverages when they’re thirsty, and also by drinking a beverage with each of their meals, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you’re not sure about your hydration level, look at your urine. If it’s clear, you’re in good shape. If it’s dark, you’re probably dehydrated.

Physical Activity/Exercise

Like most people, you’ve probably heard that physical activity and exercise are good for you. In fact, being physically active on a regular basis is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Studies have shown that exercise provides many health benefits and that older adults can gain a lot by staying physically active. Even moderate exercise and physical activity can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging.

 7 benefits of regular physical activity

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.

Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. And the benefits of exercise are yours for the taking, regardless of your age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing to exercise? Check out these seven ways exercise can improve your life.

No. 1: Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. You don’t need to set aside large chunks of time for exercise to reap weight-loss benefits. If you can’t do an actual workout, get more active throughout the day in simple ways by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or revving up your household chores.

No. 2: Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or “good,” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases. In fact, regular physical activity can help you prevent or manage a wide range of health problems and concerns, including stroke, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, arthritis and falls.

No. 3: Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

No. 4: Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.

No. 5: Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to fall asleep or to stay asleep? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to fall asleep.

No. 6: Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there’s more to it than that. Regular physical activity can lead to enhanced arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don’t exercise.

No. 7: Exercise can be fun

Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting. So, take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. If you get bored, try something new.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are a great way to feel better, gain health benefits and have fun. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns.

Sleep

Most adults need 7 to 8 hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night. Make changes to your routine if you can’t find enough time to sleep.

Sleep makes you feel better, but its importance goes way beyond just boosting your mood or banishing under-eye circles.

Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more.

Sleep Improves memory

Your mind is surprisingly busy while you snooze. During sleep, you can strengthen memories or “practice” skills learned while you were awake (it’s a process called consolidation).

Everyone needs to get enough sleep. Sleep helps keep your mind and body healthy.

Sleep promotes better health. Getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease. But study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart diseaseheart attacksdiabetes, and obesity.

Sunlight

The sun is the source of all energy, heat, and light. The amount of sunlight in an area determines what living thing can survive there.

Sunlight is the major source of vitamin D in our bodies (about 90 percent) and studies show falling levels of Vitamin D in our bodies because of the time we spend indoors. Low vitamin D levels can cause osteoporosis, a condition in which our bones lose calcium, become brittle and are susceptible to fracture. And it’s also been linked with multiple sclerosis, diabetes, bowel cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and lymphoma.

Most people enjoy sunlight, even sunlight shining on the snow. There are many known benefits of sunlight on mood and health, but regular sunlight exposure also can have long-lasting, positive effects on bone health, heart health, immunity and disease prevention. Sunlight often serves to encourage exercise, physical activity, travel, and social interactions.

The most understood benefit of sunlight is the production of vitamin D. When skin is exposed to sunlight, a series of chemical reactions begin that converts precursors of vitamin D to the active form of vitamin D. Vitamin D is needed for the intestinal absorption of calcium and the maintenance of calcium and phosphate levels necessary for healthy bone formation. It is also important for proper immune function, cell growth, and nerve and muscle function. Some foods naturally supply vitamin D, such as fish and liver. Other foods, such as milk and cereal, are typically fortified with vitamin D.

Those who follow a healthy, well-balanced diet reduce their risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Aim to consume a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, water, and unsaturated fats.

Your Body Needs Balance To Thrive!

Happy health journey,

Michelle