Everyone wants to be healthy and everyone knows the basic components to focus on are diet, exercise and stress reduction. So why isn’t everyone on a path to vibrant health? One issue is the misconception that there is one clear path to greater health and many feel that if they can’t follow that path, they may as well not try. Fortunately, that could not be further from the truth.
If you have the desire to embrace a healthy lifestyle, the magic key is personalization. Start where you are, respect your limitations and embrace your preferences. Here are a few things to consider as you discover the right path for you.
The importance of what you put in your body cannot be overstated. If you find yourself confused by all the seemingly contrary advice about what you should eat, it’s not really that hard. All healthy diets that are recognized by doctors and nutritionists have these common components:
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Embrace good fats like virgin olive oil, avocados, and coconut milk.
- Include healthy, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
- Limit processed foods.
- Keep your animal-based protein lean and include plant-based proteins in your diet.
- Drink at least 64 ounces of water daily.
Doctors frequently recommend following the Mediterranean Diet because it embraces all these precepts. A new way of eating that is garnering the attention of medical professionals is the Flexitarian Diet. You can find entire books on diets like these if you need help getting started, or you can simply begin integrating these suggestions into your existing diet a little at a time.
A healthy diet will provide all the essential nutrients your body needs, but there are situations when you might want to support your diet with targeted supplements. Here again, personalization and working with your healthcare professional are key.
Perhaps you want to support your Vitamin D levels through a long winter, maintain your Magnesium levels through a work project or compensate for food sensitivities. A regimen of high-quality personalized vitamins and minerals paired with a healthy diet may be effective.
When it comes to starting an exercise program, the media convinces many people that the latest high-intensity workout is the only way to go. The truth is that those workouts aren’t for everyone and may not even be advisable for some. The best workout for you is one that suits your fitness level, respects your physical limitations, fits your budget and gives you some enjoyment.
If you love to dance, taking a dance class at the local recreation center may motivate you more than calisthenics. For those who need to take it easy on their joints, pilates or swimming might be a better choice than aerobics. If joining a gym or taking classes is not within your budget, a fitness app or streaming service can bring hundreds of workouts into your living room for a fraction of the cost. And if you’re just starting with exercise, few activities can beat a daily walk around your neighborhood. Personalize your exercise routine because the truth is, any physical activity that gets you moving consistently will reap health benefits.
Healthline.com reports that occasional stress can have effects on both mental and physical health. Finding a way to relieve occasional stress is essential to any self-care efforts.
One of the most recognized ways to reduce occasional stress is through a program called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. MBSR was developed by meditation master Jon Kabat-Zinn and the University of Massachusetts Medical Center. But if sitting meditation isn’t your thing, you can try walking meditation, hatha yoga or tai chi. Here again, finding something that you will engage in consistently is more important than the program itself.
Your self-care activities should be what works best for you. There isn’t just one way to eat right, exercise or reduce occasional stress. So, if mainstream methods don’t resonate with you, keep looking. It’s okay to start small, go slow and follow your own path. What’s important is to begin the journey.