5 Step to enhance good mind-body health
Updated: Nov 24, 2021
A healthy lifestyle isn’t just about what you make in the kitchen, there are so many more factors that have been shown to influence our overall health.
The release of endorphins during exercise promotes a sense of wellbeing, which has the added benefit of boosting your immune system.
During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do.
A recent study from a North Carolina university showed that people who exercised for five or more days weekly experienced 43% fewer days of upper respiratory infections. (1)
Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels, which in turn puts less pressure on your immune system.
2. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
According to the National Health Service (NHS) 1 in 3 people suffer from poor sleep (2), with a combination of stress, digital screens and taking work home as common culprits to blame.
Aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, avoid caffeine after midday, avoid working late, allowing your body time to wind down and disconnect. Reduce the screen time you are using, especially before bed, blue light blocking glasses are another tool you can use. Also try to turn in at the same time each evening, our bodies’ do a lot of repair work whilst we sleep!
3. FOCUS ON SELF-CARE
Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness.
Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents. If you battle with guilt when you take an hour remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Self- care doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant such as going for a massage or getting your nails done (it can be, if that’s what makes you feel good), the point is, self- care is different for everybody, self-care is simply taking care of yourself! Take a walk, enjoy a hot coffee, watch your favourite movie in peace, cuddle your partner, kids, cat or dog. Take some time for you. Simple, but effective.
A type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations. A study of 68 patients on an 8 week mindfulness programme consisting of 30 minute sessions a day, saw more than a 70% reduction in gastrointestinal symptoms IBS and anxiety associated with IBS. (3)
5 IT TAKES A VILLAGE…
Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.
Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice, which alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation.
Ongoing stress is also a contributing factor to many chronic diseases, and is seriously not helpful if you are trying to lose weight.
“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer.
If there is anything that has come up for you as a result of this blog that you feel could benefit you, I warmly invite you to book in for a free 15 minute to see if a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan might help. You can book yourself directly into my diary by clicking right here