Exercise is credited with being perhaps the most important thing you can do for yourself in order to live a healthier, happier life. Most health specialists agree that each person needs at least half an hour of physical exercise, even something as lightweight as a walk, to stay healthy. And many people are contempt with that, along with a fitcation or two taken throughout the year. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the corner store instead of driving, shooting a few hoops instead of downing a couple of beers with your friends, and taking your significant other for a walk on the beach instead of watching a movie is good for your health – but they are not enough. There’s more to a healthy life than just moving.
First and foremost, you need to adopt a healthy diet, however hard it may seem. It’s even harder because there is no consensus on what a “healthy diet” actually means. There are many contradictory theories on what you should consume to stay healthy – some say a truly healthy diet has to be based on fruit and vegetables alone, others demonize fat, then there are those who claim that sugar, chemicals, and such, are the things that you should eliminate from your diet completely. The truth is probably somewhere in between. There is no “one-size-fits-all” solution that applies to everyone – people are simply too different for that. There are, in turn, a few concepts that can help in creating the best possible diet for you: choosing the least processed food varieties, cooking at home instead of eating out, eliminating fast food and snacks or replacing them with homemade varieties, and the list could go on and on. It takes a bit of time and effort to find the right diet but it’s worth it.
A healthy body is not enough for a healthy life, though. There is one aspect that many people choose to ignore, focusing on their physique alone: the mind. We live in a world where stress is constant – we are stressed at our jobs and at home, we worry about our health, our workplace performance, our personal relationships, about money, politics, society, and many other things. And the media also has its part of the blame – it keeps bombarding us with negative news stories (because those are the ones that attract the most audience) while ignoring the good news that could give us relief. And turning to social media also doesn’t do us any good – studies have shown that long-term social media use will likely contribute to our feelings of anxiety and stress by causing us to constantly compare our lives with those of others instead of being grateful for what we have.
Peace of mind is as important for living a healthy life as keeping your body healthy is. “Mens sana in corpore sano”, as the old saying goes (it’s Latin for “a healthy mind in a healthy body”), meaning that a healthy mind and a healthy body are both necessary for living a wholesome life. Or, in short, there’s more to health than just movement. Keep that in mind.