Whether you are feeling refreshed and revived heading into 2020 or suffering from a post-festive slump, this is the perfect opportunity for an annual wellness check-up. Why not use this opportunity to pause and reflect on what made you productive, happy and healthy last year. And how you can improve on this in 2020.
Total wellness or the state of being in good health goes beyond gym time, it’s about finding balance in your life and boosting your emotional health as well as your physical one. So how can you achieve this holistically?
Here’s our holistic guide to whole-person health in 2020. But firstly, let’s take a look at what is meant by holistic health.
What is Holistic Health?
The word holistic derives from the Greek word holos, which means whole. And holistic health can be defined as a whole-person approach to health, focusing on the whole person and how we interact with our environments. This incorporates both the body and the mind.
Sleep is absolutely necessary for our well-being. Continuous sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep has a knock-on effect on our physical and mental health including weight gain and inflammation in the body. It also impairs the cognitive processes and can reduce our alertness, concentration and problem-solving abilities.
Therefore, we recommend that sleep should be top of your wellness checklist for 2020. One way to do this is by increasing your exposure to sunlight during the day. This simple trick helps to regulate our circadian rhythms or natural time-keeping clocks. This helps us to fall asleep quicker, increases the duration of our slumber and improves our daytime energy also.
Other tips include spending an hour to wind down before sleeping and avoiding blue screens during this time. Take a warm bath or shower, read or meditate. Listening to calming music can also help you relax before bed.
Nourish the body
Nourishing your body means eating healthy. Some people associate healthy eating with restrictive diets and calorie reductions. However, it actually involves examining the foods you are currently consuming in your diet and switching certain ones for healthier options.
Simply put, limit the amount of red meat and processed carbohydrates in your diet and instead switch to eating more vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins.
Consuming processed carbohydrates (anything that contains added sugars) on a regular basis results in an inflammatory response in our bodies. They cause our sugar levels to spike and release more insulin in our bodies than needed.
However, whole foods (anything that is unprocessed and unrefined) contain all the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants we need to nourish our bodies. A diet rich with fruits, vegetables and whole grains can reduce the risk of developing a chronic disease and protect our brain function.
While this may be an obvious one, it is important to reiterate the role physical activity plays in helping our bodies to maintain their strength, stamina and brain function. It helps us to maintain a healthy weight, decrease the risk of heart disease and keeps our bones and muscles strong as we age. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven to relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
The key to creating a healthy exercise routine involves setting fitness goals in the first instance. Then start slow, with low impact exercises like walking, swimming or water aerobics for example.
The trick to maintaining physical activity over time is consistency. Some people worry they aren’t exercising frequently enough or aren’t reaching their goals quick enough but research has shown its consistency that strengthens our willpower to stay active. Other tips to stay active include finding something you enjoy doing, preferably with others to keep you accountable.
Whether that’s walking, running, hiking, cycling, dancing or strength training, find something you enjoy!
Calm your mind
Our bodies are affected by the emotions and feelings we experience. Emotions such as fear, anxiety, sadness and anger can manifest as stress in the body and affect our physical being.
For example, it may lead to tension in the neck and upper back, it can disrupt our digestive system, cause headaches and trigger inflammation in the body amongst others. Therefore, the mind has an enormous impact on the body.
And in order to protect our bodies and mental health, we recommend incorporating some simple stress-reduction techniques into your life. These may include activities like deep breathing, meditation and/or yoga.
Furthermore, Swimming is a great way to relieve stress. Given stress tends to build-up in our respiratory muscles causing tightness in the chest, shoulders and back, swimming can relive this by forcing us to focus on our breathing and stretch these tight muscles. Or find any activity that calms your mind. That may be knitting, reading, walking or simply taking a hot bath.
Finally, remember it’s simple changes to our health and daily lifestyle that can have the biggest impact on our wellbeing. If you would like help kicking off your New Year total wellness plan and would like to learn more about how Gym Plus can help you, grab your free guest pass HERE.
January Join Offer – Become a member of Gym Plus in January 2020 and save €39 with no join fee! Learn more at www.gymplus.ie