5 Simple Ways To Supercharge Your Health

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Optimal health is always about balance

Optimal health is always about finding internal balance

As a practicing Osteopath I am focusing on health on a daily basis.  I see people who are literally shining with good health, through the full spectrum of wellbeing to those who are struggling to get out of bed every day.   The good news is, no matter where you fit on the health continuum is that health is what our body inherently seeks the most.  Our wellbeing is always correlated to internal balance when all is well within.

The status of our health doesn’t have to be a losing battle against physical decline over time that comes with a collection of chronic illnesses as we get older.  Almost always our body has the ability to respond in seemingly miraculous ways when we start giving it what is needed to function well.  The human body evolved through millions of years to overcome adversity and thrive given certain conditions. In more recent times our more sedentary lifestyles have resulted in us getting fatter, sicker and suffering more frequently from inflammatory diseases at an earlier age as each decade passes.  However, you don’t have to join the masses on this journey.

Some of the ways we can improve our health are incredibly simple and we just need to focus on changing our habits.

The results and changes that I am able to achieve as an Osteopath in practice are always well supported when my patients are plugged into the following habits on a regular basis. Here are a few simple life hacks that when you make them your own daily or even weekly habits will lead to a huge benefit to your health for relatively small time and financial investment.

1. Make Sleep a big Priority

If you truely want to turn your health around, then you have to view regular nightly sleep as a necessity, not a luxury. This isn’t just sometimes but every night.  A solid 8 hours is ideal for most adults, and more when your lifestyle is stressful and busy, you train hard or you are recovering from illness.  Growing bodies also need much more sleep.  If you want a peek at how good sleep is for you, take a look at how good your skin looks after a solid 8-9 hour sleep.  This is the same for every organ and it’s function.  Sleep is recovery and regeneration.

Research has shown we sleep almost 2 hours less per night than our great grandparents generation did.  Sleep disorders are extremely prevalent and debilitating.  Artificial light, especially LED lighting which is largely on the blue spectrum tells our brains that its still daytime and disconnect us from the day/night cycle that precipitates sleep.  City light and noise also stimulates our senses when we are trying to sleep.  The term sleep hygiene has been coined for the habits and conditions on which we ask our bodies to sleep.  Following good sleep hygiene is the first step to improving our quality of sleep each night.

2. Ditch processed food

We live in times where so much food is altered for shelf life and convenience, and despite plenty of marketing and health claims on the packets and boxes, the more processed (read altered) the food is from its natural state, chocked full of additives, preservatives and sugar or artificial sweeteners the less our bodies know what to do with it.  Not only is the nutrition lacking, it sets off inflammatory reactions that damage our digestive organs in turn other tissues in the body.  Eating food as close to its natural state plus or minus cooking is the best way to give our body the nutrition it needs to thrive.  Think nutrient density.

If you can fill 80% your meals with a rich variety of vegetables, salads, meat, fish, eggs and with some fruit then your are well on your way to getting the nutrients you need. Individuals have to find what kind of foods feel good for them and what they enjoy.  Cooking, preparing and eating food with your family and friends is a great way to connect to your tribe which has its own set of health benefits.  And don’t be scared of eating good quality fats, they are food for the brain and cells and keep us satisfied for long periods of time.

3. Get outdoors more often.

Living indoors is akin to living in a comfortable box.  The temperature is pleasant, the surfaces comfortable and light is available 24/7 if we want it.  But it is also a foreign concept for our systems.  We live best by the daylight and night cycles that set our circadian rhythm and when we don’t get light in our eyes and on our skin during the day, we fail to efficiently produce the sleep hormones when its dark.  The same happens with too much light after dark.

We have become accustomed to avoiding the sun, fearful of skin cancer and premature ageing however it is the best way for our bodies to produce Vitamin D which is so important for our digestion, bone density, mental health and many other as yet hardly understood reasons.  Our bodies can only really do this in the middle of the day when UVB rays are present. Of course dosage is important and we need to avoid getting burnt, however sun is essential.

Getting outside is good for your nervous system. Have you ever noticed how relaxed you become in nature?  It is easier to become present, calm and focused.  iEssentially it’s where we came from but we forget this living inside.  If you are struggling with stress, being in nature is a great place to let it go.

4. Learn to manage your Stress

Our bodies are finely tuned to react to immediate stress as a life preserving function once used to run from predators and keep ourselves safe from harm.  These days our lives are safer from these dangers and our stress responses are more likely to come from our jobs, families, and constant sensory overstimulation.  These stressors are longer lasting and sap the resources of health from our bodies, effecting our nervous systems and altering hormonal balance, reducing our capacity to heal and recover.  The good news is much of our stress really comes from how we react to things rather than actual assaults to our physical being. Changing our attitude and how we view things makes a big change to perceived stress. The four things that I usually recommend to my patients to reduce stress include:

Stop trying to be perfect and control everything in your life.
Choose your battles to what’s really important and make an effort to let go of what isn’t.
Give yourself the permission of self care through regular downtime, everyone needs to recharge.
Learn to meditate or at least focus on breathing as a way to calm your reactions to stress.

5. Regularly move your body in varied ways.

How long has it been since you’ve rolled your spine forward as far as you can go?  Or tried a backbend, twist or moved like a bear, duck, lizard.  Can you sit in a low squat, or easily get down on the floor and up again without the need to lean on something? Do you move like water, or the tin man without his oil?  Movement is life and promotes efficient circulation which nourishes cells and organs, removes waste,  fine tunes our nervous system and it also feels good.  Movement keeps our joints healthy, and here varied movement is the key, where doing the same thing all the time gives more narrow benefits.  The more you sit stationary during your job or lifestyle the more you need to get moving.  Its a balancing act.  If you are having trouble sleeping soundly, plenty of movement during the day is one of the best ways to improve your sleep quality.   The great news is that it is never too late to start moving again.  And a little every day is better than a lot once a week.

To be honest my list is quite a lot longer than this, however if i was going to get started on a few things to get healthy and feel good, these would by far be the most important.  Now its time to put them into practice!  Good luck and let us know how you get along!

If you are interested in learning this in more depth, and also feel like you would like to some help jumping in to a new lifestyle that is better for your wellbeing, I will be running a Bali retreat in 2017 where we will spend a full week practicing the above fundamentals in depth without the distractions of busy lives. It’s a fun week with plenty of in depth learning and insights that you can bring home and integrate. If you are interested please contact me and I will send you the details when they become available.

Corey Dyer is a practicing Osteopath with 18 years clinical experience. He works primarily with gentle techniques with a focus on individualised treatment that optimises health. A former gymnast/dancer he has a strong interest in movement practices and food as medicine for wellbeing and recovery. He is also a teacher/educator in Osteopathic learning and other health modalities.

 

 

 

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