ALIVE & FIT MAGAZINE Vol.15 Issue 60 Spring 2022: Chose a Health Path

Covid has been the main topic of conversation for over two years, paving the way for many heart to heart health-based discussions. It’s challenging to navigate the ever-changing landscape of exercise, supplements and diets plus the added pressure of whether or not to choose cure-all over the counter medications. With the onslaught of information and countless choices available, it’s less stress to stay stuck in a rut, following the same monotonous regime. 

Women are mothers, sisters, friends, partners, wives, and care takers tending to put their own needs on the backburner. Self-care should be priority number one followed by caring for loved ones. In order to support others our wellbeing is paramount. Waking up pain-free, glowing from endless energy fuels work, a happy home and the ebb and flow of life. 

Looking back, at what age do you remember taking notice of your health? For the majority of women, self-realization began with the onset of menses and self-care soon followed. Did you use a hot water bottle to relieve cramps, an over the counter pain remedy or crawl under the covers for a week? Whether you chose natural or allopathic medicine, personal health was a main stage attraction every month until you chose differently. Overall wellness is about creating a balance between the mind, body and spirit. Living in a state of homeostasis or balance is a work in progress throughout our lifetime, but building a first-class foundation of solid habits is holistically helpful. Sometimes adjustments are absolutely necessary but taking a different course of action can be overwhelming. A few positive baby steps engage the butterfly effect, helping breed confidence to kick it up a notch. Small modifications in a daily routine can certainly add pep to your step, launching your food and fitness to the next level. 

It goes without saying; health practitioners differ in opinions on the top 5 simple but effective ways to boost a woman’s health. Every woman should be open to change, implementing new ideas, varying their lifestyle and paving the wellness way to longevity. Holistic health begins with choosing one step in the right direction that speaks to you. Consistency is the cardinal rule.

SLEEP

Sleep is a powerful pillar of health. Lack of shuteye is associated with numerous negative health effects. Though individuals are unique, most experts will agree the goal should be to count sheep for between seven and nine hours per night. Life is a battlefield and being a busy-bee is great but running on fumes long term leads to an empty tank. Prioritizing sleep is essential. For starters, sleep supports weight-loss goals. Sleep deprivation coincides with two hormones; ghrelin linked to feeling hungry and leptin, the hormone tied to being satiated. Night owls tend to overeat out of boredom and necessity to burn the candle at both ends. The cycle continues upon waking. Most night owls reach for a cup of caffeine, reviving the body temporarily. Sugar adds an extra boost, creating a double whammy. The downfall to skipping on slumber is clear. Sleep deprivation increases the odds for dieting disasters plus ups the likelihood of neglecting exercise. A full night of beauty sleep on the other hand can mean walking further, using heavier weights, adding more repetitions and smiling while working out. Avoiding injures and less recovery time post-workout is a super side effect of sleep. Caffeine, sugar and highly processed carbohydrates are temporary resolves. Lack of sleep begins a cascade of questionable choices in other areas impeding our best self. Sleeping helps improves concentration, focus, productivity, and memory. Long term sleep deprivation or insomnia can lead to developing depression, anxiety or even panic disorders. Sleep is nature’s mood booster. Resting is body rewarding and repairing inside and out. Nature designed sleep to help lower blood pressure, blood sugar and the stress hormone known as cortisol.  A healthy sleep regime helps ward off sickness, keeping our immune system strong and guarding against evil invaders, namely germs and bacteria. Sleep savvy is simply following a great plan tailor-made for you. Start prepping for lights out with chamomile or lavender tea, eliminating electronics, a hot Epsom salt bath, lighting candles, journaling or penning a gratitude list and adjusting the heat to between 65 and 68 degrees Celsius. Last but not least, ear plugs and a sleep mask help deliver dreamy sleep.

MACROS

Macros refer to macronutrients. Eating a nutrient-dense diet focused on fresh plants is first-class food fare. This includes carbohydrates, protein and fabulous fats but what about water? Water is the wow factor behind supporting the four basic functions in the body. It’s a medium for chemical reactions, a super shock and lubricant absorber, a temperature regulator and a top-notch transporter. Water is a universal solvent, vital nutrient and absolutely essential to life. Water is often described as boring and passed over in lieu of high sugar and caffeinated drinks. Water is one of the best beauty boosters by far and economical. Tiredness is linked to dehydration. Most times we are thirsty not hungry.  Drinking water consistently aids in fullness and improves digestion. Water alleviates bloating, puffiness and waste. When the body lacks water it does the opposite of what we desire. The body holds onto water out of fear. Stunning supple skin is linked to wondrous water. Drink up and prevent premature aging. Water plumps up fine lines and fights wrinkles. Dehydration equals dry desert skin. Adequate water intake continues to support aging by helping lubricate joints and addressing dry eyes and mouth. Water transports toxins for elimination through urine, feces and sweat. Hydration is a holistic headache helper. Water is workout support, too. Dehydration affects strength, fatigue level and can lead to an imbalance of electrolytes. We all need a minimum of 30 ml of water daily per kilogram of body weight. (140 lb woman or 63.5 kg x 30 ml= 1905ml or 1.9 litres) Medications, exercise, sauna and even spending excess electronic time increases the daily requirement. Your urine tells the tale. Hydration equals straw coloured urine and no unpleasant scent. Carrying a water bottle on-the-go is the best bet and adding collagen, vitamin C, chlorophyll or any holistic helper is a tasty health enhancer. 

TOXINS

We face an onslaught of toxins every day and hormones are directly affected. Environmental toxins are hard to eliminate but we can clean up our daily routine. Water is life, and investing in a water-filter is a fabulous first step. Eliminating farmed animals whether on land or sea helps cuts down on glycophosate and a multitude of offenders from mercury to arsenic to lead and the GMO food fed to the animals. Choosing organic whenever possible is another way to cut down our toxic load. According to a study in 2004 by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), women apply an average of 12 products a day and close to 200 chemicals a day. Applying a plethora of products puts you at risk for parabens, formaldehyde, tar, lead, toluene, and phthalates to name a few culprits. Overtime toxins accumulate, impairing sleep, causing brain fog and impacting organs. Many women ride the hormone rollercoaster as chemicals mimic human hormones, disrupting the endocrine system. Chronic conditions such as infertility, weight-gain and hypo or hyper-thyroid are impacted by hormones. Aim for fewer products and ones free of offenders. The EWG is a great resource for researching the do’s and don’ts and avoiding the hidden dangers lurking in everyday life. Toxins are eliminated via the body’s pathways. Drinking lots of water flushes the system. Herbal tea favourite’s horsetail, dandelion, nettle and birch, as well as eating cucumber, radishes, fennel, and celery helps increase urine output. All of these are natural kidney care beyond compare. Exercise, saunas and infrared bags support skin and lungs for sweating out impurities and breathing better. Diets rich in fibre speed up transit, supporting the colon. Chia and flax are fabulous add-ins to overnight oats, smoothies and yogurt. Holistic helpers show liver love, the true housekeeper of the body. Including marvellous milk thistle to the mix is one more tool in your natural toolbox. Sunflower seeds are stocked with selenium, supporting detoxification of estrogens in the liver. Cycling a slew of various seeds to sync your monthly cycle is a tip not tricky trend. 

EXERCISE

Turn back Father Time with exercise. Physical activity is non-negotiable. Moving your body 30 minutes a day, five days a week is the minimum to a body-building base. Walking is free, simple and starting today is totally do-able. Physical activity strengthens big muscle groups in the legs, back and the four layers of the abdominals. Walking increases your heart rate short term but helps the heart beat stronger and slower long term. Moving the body increases blood circulation, transporting more oxygen, nutrients and blood. The key to reaping the benefits of exercise is consistency, change and challenge. Walk further, faster and find hills. Women require weight- bearing exercises to build bone strength. Climbing stairs, skipping and jumping on a rebounder all add muscle, bone density and show love to the lymphatic system. Exercise increases muscle mass. Lean muscle raises metabolism and in-turn burns calories more at rest, aiding in weight-loss and long term maintenance. Reap the running shoe benefits with glowing skin, soaring energy levels, improved posture, magical moods, improved numbers on medical reports and longevity. Walking in nature is a breath of fresh air, offering unique sights sounds and sights, free vitamin D from the sun and heaps of happiness.

ALONE TIME

Loneliness is not the same as being alone. Embrace solitude and see it as the perfect time to take positive steps to set new goals and discover your self-worth. Take a deep delve and look inward with honesty. Reflect on your life and briefly look back. The key word is briefly; forward is the direction of the road ahead. Spending time alone helps you recharge your spirit. Learn to enjoy your own company and fall in love with your fabulous self. Be your own best friend. Be brave and check something off your bucket list. Skydive, take a pole dancing class, ride a horse, learn to crochet, anything you promised your busy self you would do if you had time. Go solo. Smile, laugh, sing out loud, and ask a complete stranger to snap a photo! Solitude is self-awareness and self love. Self-love time is a date with just you to be selfish. Solo adventures boosts confidence, creating self-less acts of kindness. Personal peace paves the road to personal growth. 

Health is a journey evolving over time.  As we age, different aspects of wellness pave the path. The onset of menses, childbirth, menopause and aging can all be addressed with a wholistic approach not just holistic. To live in homeostasis or in balance, the goal is mastering stillness between the mind, body and spirit. Wake up and be grateful for all that you have. Focus on making the best choices in every situation you encounter. Living an on-the-road lifestyle requires prep and packing snacks. No time to work out equals purposefully picking a parking spot far from the door and taking the stairs. Working remotely requires taking scheduled breaks to refresh the spirit. Failing to unplug leads to unwell. Stress is overwhelming and there is a silent option on the phone. Protecting your peace with a quick walk alone or time out from social media is priceless. There are numerous options to add value and vitality to life. Brew tea, snuggle into your special space and reread the five things above. Live your best life inside and out will help you appreciate growing old gracefully.

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