When people use the term healthy body, they are often talking about the glossy Instagram type, not about a body that is running like a well-oiled machine, working to the best of its capabilities. This means having healthy organs, clean blood, minimal inflammation, a relaxed mind, a strong and happy heart and last but not least, flexible muscles and joints. Not simply about looking good on the outside.
To achieve this state there are three important elements to consider:
With nutrition now emulating fashion with a new trend every season, it's difficult to keep up with what is hot and what is not. But this is exactly the point; we are not supposed to follow the latest fad. This may work for some – we are not here to judge – but it's important to remember, we are unique and intricately ourselves, thus, we need to first and foremost understand our own body.
Once we begin to understand our own individual make up, it is only then that we can start to eat more intuitively. Begin by taking it back to the basics, eat less rather than more, eat real food rather than packaged or processed, eat less acidic and sugary foods, drink plenty of water and ensure you are eating to fuel the body and not just to indulge yourself (most of the time anyway).
There are many other things to consider, but if we start with these basic habits you can give your body a great platform for health and also help clean it of unwanted toxins.
Once you have stripped things back you will begin to understand what works for you, simply by using your instinct. What makes you sluggish? What don’t you digest well? What really fuels you and gives you energy? This is the start of intuitive eating.
Your body is the vessel you are born with and will die with; it is with you for your entire journey so it is critical that you give it what it needs to do the job properly.
Moving the body on a daily basis is vital – especially with the increasing sedentary behaviour of today’s society. How much movement you require is dependent on what you are trying to achieve. For example, if you are an elite athlete, your level of activity is going to be far greater than an office worker who requires just enough movement each day to keep the body flowing efficiently.
Types of movement also vary for each individual. It is always beneficial if you choose one that is enjoyable as this will likely result in doing it more often. If you are to follow the natural flow of life where we are at our physical peak in our younger years, it‘s only natural to taper off your intensity as you age to coincide with your maturing body – putting less pressure on joints and organs, as well as the immune and nervous systems.
This is where the power of qigong, yoga and other slower activities are of such importance. Through the practice of qigong, your joints and muscles stay flexible, your entire system stays strong and your mind stress-free. While this practice is especially ideal for an older body, it really is the perfect tool for any age.
Meditation comes in many different forms, but the simplicity of breathing with purpose is the purest. It’s incredible how many people ignore the practice of breathing deeply into the belly rather than a shallow chest breath. This daily habit is perhaps our greatest asset in fighting off an overstimulated nervous system.
Speaking scientifically, this simple breathing exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers your stress levels, in direct opposition to the sympathetic nervous system, which triggers the fight or flight response. The parasympathetic nervous system is also directly related to the body’s digestive system and many other life-enhancing processes, so breathing deeply is also vital to maintaining healthy organs.
By bringing awareness to your breath rather than focusing on the constant stream of thoughts passing through your mind each day, you help release it from attachment, allowing you to regain presence in the very moment you are experiencing. This is the foundation of a productive, well-balanced day which assists in a deeper sleep once we hit the pillow. Ten minutes a day can make a huge difference over time.
So by learning to value the role of real food in your diet, learning how to move your body in the way that works best for you, and slowing your mind through the breath, you are giving your body the best chance to operate at its maximum potential.
When given the right fuel and care, the body becomes a natural self-cleansing and healing machine, helping fight off the onset of disease or illness, maximising your potential and giving you the opportunity to be mobile and free right up until your final breath.
Eat, move and breathe,