In this article I will list the 7 keys to great health. I will briefly explain why I consider them to be the foundation blocks for attaining and maintaining fantastic health, vitality and energy. I'm not listing them in any particular order; they are all important.
1. Exercise: My definition of exercise is anything that involves moving and using your body. Regular exercise strengthens your muscles and increases your stamina so that you can do more for longer. Exercise also releases chemicals that make you feel better and happier. Exercise helps your digestive system work properly. Exercise aids a good night sleep.
2. Nutrition: Our bodies requires a wide variety of nutrients to function properly and most of these we get through the foods that we eat. We need a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat. We need a range of vitamins and minerals. In the past and in some poorer parts of the world today, the lack of some of these elements lead to conditions such as scurvy and ricketts. However even in the more affluent areas of the world a lack of certain nutrients still has negative effects, even if they are more subtle, such as inadequate and unbalanced amounts of Omega 3 and 6 which have an impact on brain function.
3. Hygiene: Again the lack of good hygiene can have serious health consequences like cholera or MRSA. Yet on a minor scale can lead to stomach upsets, colds, etc.
4. Water: Water, of course, is essential to life and without it we would die in a matter of days. Drinking enough water to be properly hydrated is also important to ensure the proper working of your digestive system, in particular the waste elimination part! Your brain is also affected and drinking sufficient water will enable your mind to work better and be clear and alert.
5. Mindset: Your thinking affects your behaviour which affects your health. Here's a simple example. If you've had a bad day and are feeling stressed and you've (often unconsciously) conditioned yourself to think that eating fatty and sugary foods and lounging in front of the TV is the way to feel better, then that's what you'll do. Then even if you only do this once in a blue moon, you will experience negative consequences health wise such as feeling lethargic and if this is something you do regularly, the consequences would probably involve weight gain which in the long run could lead to something really serious like a heart attack.
6. Support: A crucial element of any health programme is having a good support system. Trying to do it all alone is rarely successful. You need someone to encourage you and help you keep motivated and on track. You need someone to report to and hold you accountable for continuing to take action and make changes.
7. Rest: I don't think I need to convince you of the health benefits of getting a good night's sleep. It is also beneficial to include at least one period of relaxation every day to unwind from the physical and mental stresses of the day.