From my experience as a friend, a woman, a colleague, and a health professional, I constantly hear people say that they are changing their ways, they are turning over a new leaf, they are going to be healthy. For some people, this means they are going to lose those stubborn 10 pounds, they are going to run a marathon, they are going to start taking PIYOLET classes, or they are going to get a gym membership. Being healthy looks different for everyone because we are all individual people, but my advice is for everyone.
Exercise is not enough.
Being healthy does not mean that you work out. Being healthy does not mean that you lost that baby weight. Being healthy does not mean that you go to fitness classes each week. Being healthy is a lifestyle. It means that every avenue of your life is healthy, from your workouts to your diet to your sleep pattern. To be healthy, think of these 4 essential pieces:
Exercise. Even though this is not the defining quality of being healthy, having an exercise routine is a big part of being healthy. This does not have to mean that you compete in ironmans or that you can bench 300 pounds. It means that you are active everyday: walking, biking, running, rowing, swimming, strength training, fitness classes, you get the idea.
Food. This component of a healthy lifestyle is even more important than exercising. Eating balanced meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner helps your body stay tuned up and running properly. Negotiating sweets into your diet is crucial if you like them as much as I do. It is far better to treat your sweet tooth with control than to overindulge because you’ve been deprived. Having a nutritionally balanced diet is part of being healthy.
Beverages. Water. Soda. Juice. Milk. Alcohol. Chocolate milkshakes. We consume a lot of beverages each day, but not all of them are healthy. Some are full of sugars. Some may lead to tooth decay. Some may have more fat than they’re worth. Some are perfect for anytime of the day. Consuming the right beverages in the right amounts is also part of being healthy.
Sleep. A mind and body lacking in sleep is far from healthy. A sleepy mind cannot function at its best. A sleepy body is not running as efficiently as it should. Raise your hand if you’ve been there, a sleepy mind and body often leads to poor decisions regarding exercise, food, and beverages.