Updated: Jan 28
We spend the majority of our time not exercising, eating or drinking - unless you are a professional athlete. There are other activities which play vital roles in our overall mental and physical health. Enjoying ourselves, spending time with loved ones, sleeping enough, recovering from exercise, working passionately and finding fulfilment are all principles we should adopt and prioritise. If there is an imbalance between living, training and eating, especially when following an intense exercise regime, you run the risk of injury, overtraining and poor health.
Check out all our articles on Lifestyle for more information
Modern lifestyle diseases include (source):
Type 2 diabetes
Many health benefits are associated with spending time in nature and it is one of the simplest and cheapest ways to improve health. Humans are not designed to spend long periods of time indoors but the availability of fast food, central heating and other conveniences of modern life, have and are continuing to negatively affect our health by encouraging indoor life. In contrast, previous generations were outdoors more often and had to perform a larger proportion of physical activity in their daily lives.
Want to stay up to date with out latest articles and recipes?
Think like an athlete.
This does not mean you have to live in a tracksuit and have a coach, physio, dietician, osteopath and doctor, however, you will find that your fitness goals may be achieved quicker if you place equal importance on preparation for and recovery from workouts. This includes stretching properly (1), visiting an infrared sauna (2), sleeping enough every night and preparing yourself mentally for intense training. Sacrificing all of your time and effort for the sake of your exercise regime is not advisable but allowing yourself to get in the 'zone' can remove unnecessary distractions and lead to far more productive progress.
Forget about work when you are not at work
Avoid being at work or working in any other form at any time other than during your working hours especially if there is a noticeable imbalance in your work/life ratio. It is necessary to sacrifice ones free time to make work progress, however, one can easily fall into a pattern of spending a considerable amount of free time working. This can have serious consequences if: stress levels rise; one does not socialise or exercise; one does not eat properly at the right times; rest and sleep are not prioritised and if the extra effort is not rewarding.
Socialise with friends and family regularly
Family comes first. Most of the time your entire family are there to support you and enjoy life with you, as are your best friends. Cherish the time you have with them, make them feel appreciated and take every opportunity to share experiences with them.
Having a wide circle of friends improves quality of life in many ways. The connections and relationships result in a powerful network which can benefit all aspects of life from work to holidays to education. Humans are social creatures so meeting new people improves well-being as long as you do not allow individuals to abuse your friendship or take you for granted (3).
Unwind and rebalance
Restorative practices are extremely worthwhile for overall health. The high tempo, competitive, stressful nature of the modern world results in elevated stress hormones. A lack of regular habits which effectively calm and nourish the human organism results in an unbalanced hormonal system where the body cannot function at its best. Practices such as yin yoga, meditation and Feldenkrais method are restorative, as is light exercise on your own, being at one with nature and having a massage or other beauty treatment (4).
Prioritise sleep and rest
Allow for more sleep than you think you need. The time it takes to fall asleep after you close your eyes in bed + the time you are awake overnight + the time you woke up before you decided to get out of bed = much less total time asleep than you think. If you aim for at least 9 hours, you may benefit immensely from having slightly more than what your body needs as a bare minimum, as opposed to running the risk of having less (5). When ill, injured, pregnant or still growing as a child or adolescent, aim for more than 10 hours. Other than sleeping, there are many ways to rest. Meditation, naps, Feldenkrais, massage/beauty treatments, fasting and watching a film are all great options.
N.B. Do not only do gentle and restful things; being explosive, becoming excited and using your energy to achieve more is also highly valuable. The trick is to be aware of your body and whether or not you are striking a sensible balance between being active and restful.
Take time out and deload
Change scenery, embrace other cultures, experience hotter climates, live differently, have a break from the norm. Food, exercise and lifestyle habits can be altered without any negative side effects. This leads to increased knowledge, experience and enjoyment of life. It is easy and common to fall into a routine without regularly (or ever) exploring something new. Even subtle, temporary shifts out of your comfort zone can yield incredible results in the long term.
Focus on the positive
The average person has nearly 70,000 thoughts a day, approximately 90% of which are negative. Evidently a lot can be gained by always attempting to think positively (6). Positive and negative emotions affect the body differently e.g. the placebo effect has been shown to have powerful results. In addition, when a person is positive, improvements can be seen in body language, posture and quality of life. That being said, there is a time and a place for negative emotions. Balance is necessary in all areas of life and without the negativity, one would not recognise positivity. Anger, pain, frustration, nervousness and many other emotions serve a purpose, however, a healthy individual will not allow the negative emotions to outweigh the positive ones.
Having targets makes it easier to accomplish goals. SMART goals maximise time and energy by focusing on what a person actually wants, what they are able to achieve and allows them to organise themselves accordingly so any task(s) are completed in an appropriate timeframe (7). This prevents time wasting.
Surround yourself with supportive people.
Your personality, character and behaviour are hugely affected by those around you. The people who you spend most of your time with - whether they are family members, friends or colleagues - influence your life. As a result, it is critical that you chose your environment wisely so you are surrounded by people who inspire you to change positively and who you aspire to be like. If your dream is to be a successful entrepreneur and your best friends are lazy, unmotivated, narrow minded and lack creativity, it is worth considering a change in environment to one that is better suited to you. Family and friends should remain supportive of your endeavours and choices even if they differ from their own.
Related Post: 4 Ways To Achieve Goals Quickly
Related Post: How Long Should We Sleep For?
Related Post: 6 Ways Social Media Is Damaging You
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
John Maitland is the co-founder of 'The Evolved Way.’ A personal trainer with over 10 years’ experience, he has worked alongside a wide range of leading CEOs, entrepreneurs and medical professionals. John is a keen athlete and holds a black belt in Shaolin Kung fu. A fan of the great outdoors, he can often be found exploring the British countryside and mountains...or breaking pine boards with his fingers.
Co-founder of 'The Evolved Way', and experienced personal trainer, Samson practices what he preaches. His own healthy lifestyle, which informs this site, is based on understanding the right way to eat and exercise, not excluding of course going out and enjoying life knowing you can still feel and look good.