Three Pillars of Health 2010

As the new year has come its a great time to start a fresh, regardless of whether you are a seasoned fitness enthusiast or a new comer. To me there are 3 Pillars of Health that we all need to focus on and if they are attended to will allow you to live your life fully.

  1. Mental Well Being
  2. Diet
  3. Exercise

With Mental Wellbeing I mean everything from stress management to conquering fears and getting sleep. Diet is another key aspect and one that can make yu feel miles better as well as solving problems caused by allergies etc. As for exercise its another base which we should all have in control. Regular Exercise is great for the body and mind and links together the triangle.

Mental Well Being

For me this comes first as having your mind right makes everything else click and flow much better. Once you get stress management under control, start getting 6-8 hours of good sleep and practicing relaxation you will find every aspect of your life will improve.

When it comes to managing stress I find a few simple tips can help a lot. Simply having

  • Something to look forward to everyday
  • A time to yourself to be alone and unwind
  • Doing/Partaking in a hobby you enjoy daily

Are great ways to manage and limit stress, If your having a stressful day at work but you know that once you get home you have a nice meal to eat and a movie/sports game to watch things suddenly seem far more bearable, even a good book saved for the commute home. Its these little things that make life good.

Good sleep is another major factor. Once you have your sleep in check you will find it easier to handle stress, you will have more energy and your body will finction better in general. Checkout some of my posts on Sleep below which will help you sleep well and give you the low down on the subject.

The Importance of Sleep

A Simple Guide to Great Sleep

So dim your lights, relax and unwind tonight and get yourself in the habit of regular peaceful sleep in 2010 and beyond!

Relaxation techniques are a must in the modern world. They are something we should all master and be able to utilize daily, checkout some of my favorites:

Deep Breathing – Simply learning to breathe from your diaphragm activates the parasympathetic nervous system and induces deep relaxation.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TUZiiMy1iI

Meditation – Mindfulness or sitting doing nothing is a great way to calm the mind and allow you to see things for what they are.

Visualizations – Doing 10-15 minutes of visualizing daily can have a profound effect on how your life plays out.

Progressive Relaxation – This is purposely relaxing each of your muscles from top to toe to induce a deep state of relaxation. Especially good after a long day….

Diet

This is another of the three pillars and a very important one at that. With so many franken foods out in supermarkets and grocery stores its easy to get confused as to what we should and shouldnt be eating. I have always liked the following slogan from the guys at CrossFit

In plain language, base your diet on garden vegetables, especially greens, lean meats, nuts and seeds, little starch, and no sugar.

As they say themselves that is about as easy as it gets. Stick to the perimeter of the grocery store and cook fresh food for yourself using fresh vegetables, lean meat and plenty of spices and condiments to flavour your food. You can check out some of these posts for more info and recipes.

ZTF Coconut and Basil Curry

What is the problem with Grains?

Is the Food Pyramid Upside Down?

In a nutshell stick to whole unprocessed “real” food and your health and vitality will improve immensely. Not only your body composition but your mental outlook and energy will increase making eating well a no brainer.

Exercise

Another key component and the final of the pillars or foundations of good health. While I am a fan of Aerobic work I have no interest in going for 5 Mile runs daily and believe fitness and exercise can largely be integrated into everyday life with a few short and intense workouts dotted in between.

Minimalist Workouts

The above post from Leo at Zen Habits is an awesome outline of really good beginner stuff anyone can do. If you are more advanced there is no better place to talk about and get short intense workouts that from Keith over at Theory to Practice……

Here are some cool tips to get you started for the new year.

  • Start everyday with 10 minutes of stretching and Pushups
  • Aim for 30 minutes of fun activity a few times a week (Walks, Sports, Hikes etc)
  • 1-2 Sessions of resistance work per week
  • Take 1 day off all activity and RELAX

Exercising will not only get your body in shape it will help you keep sharp and active so long as you focus on Balance, Stability and Flexibility in whatever form of exercise you partake. Also please check the Zen to Fitness Archives for a variety of workouts and workout suggestions.

So that is it, before you do anything this year set out a plan to take care of the 3 pillars of health and you will find yourself far better prepared for whatever life throws at you.

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