When we think of investment we might think of stocks, housing or high interest accounts. Something we do not often consider is an investment in our own health and well-being. Investing into your health can seem confusing as it is difficult to see the return on your money. Money spent on your health is not wasted and is likely to provide an even greater return on your initial investment than many other investment options.
What do I mean by investing in your health?
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The physical benefits of exercise are well known. Regular exercise will help your physical health in many ways but it also offers many mental benefits. Often these can be overlooked as the focus of exercise is predominantly about how we look rather than how we feel. The following are just a few non physical benefits regular exercise provides us:
Alcohol is damaging to the human body, we all know that. How damaging it is depends on how much and how often you have it. Regular, heavy consumption of alcohol will damage just about every organ in the body. Much of the western world have given up smoking due to its negative health effects, yet look the other way in regards to alcohol which in heavy use is just as bad if not worse than smoking.
Most of us enjoy drinking, some more than others. I have had my fair share of alcohol over the years. Do we need to totally abstain from alcohol to be healthy? If you are an elite athlete then I would suggest very rarely if ever drinking but for the average person following some guidelines the damage alcohol does can be reduced significantly.
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It is common to push ourselves to exercise and think that more is always better. Often when you are starting out with exercise you can push and push and only get better. After a while though this really starts to wear your body down. If you have been working out for longer than 6 months regularly, it may be time for a rest.
The harder you work out the more rest you will need. If you do not do high intensity training regularly you will not need to rest very often, a few weeks a year should be fine. If you do train with high intensity on a regular basis then it would be wise to have a week off every month or two.
We are all told to avoid the sun like the plague and to wear sunscreen and cover up when there is any hint of sunlight. Whilst this is mostly a good thing, it comes at the cost of one of the most vital nutrients for our body, vitamin D. It is now one of the most commonly deficient nutrients and it is becoming even more common.
What does Vitamin D do?
The range of functions that are reliant on vitamin D is far reaching. Healthy vitamin D levels are attributed to:
Gyms are great places for many people, but if you live a long way from a gym or simply find the whole gym experience uncomfortable, home gyms are a great alternative. Often it is thought that a home gym is an expensive option but the cost of a home gym can be reduced greatly by following a few guidelines.
I have always used home gyms and have only ever been a member of a gym once. I used a bench I found on a council cleanup, a $200 set of adjustable dumbells and a wooden beam for over a year when I started to exercise with weights. A home gym does not have to be expensive or an arduous task to setup.
Almost everybody buys some sort of supplement whether it be protein powder, vitamins and minerals or a weight loss shake. These supplements can be very costly and in many cases will not be of much benefit to your health. Here are a few things to think about when buying supplements:
Do I really need this?
Organic food has grown in popularity in recent years. Before the early 1900s, all food was organic. With the advent of food being industrialized, pesticides and fertilizers found their way into use in a big way. There are many reasons people may choose to eat organic food. These reasons can be related to environmental problems of conventional farming, treatment of animals and many others. Today I will only cover the health and cost issues with organic food.
What are you paying for when buying organic?
This follows on from part 1 here. Here are a few more ways that you can get yourself to sleep!
Perhaps the most important part of getting good sleep is having the same sleep times each day. This is very hard to stick to but if you are having a lot of trouble sleeping it is worth trying it for at least a few weeks. Most importantly, try to get up at a similar time each day. Weekends make this very difficult for a lot of people as they like to sleep in. If you do enjoy sleeping in try to limit how late you get up as it will have a huge effect on your ability to sleep during the rest of the week.
Having trouble sleeping? You are not alone, it is one of the most common problems people have. Getting enough sleep is a fundamental need for humans in order to live a healthy life and sleep deprivation can contribute to many chronic health problems, physically and mentally. Worse still is that a lack of sleep causes us to feel terrible the next day.
Below are a few ideas that you can try to implement to improve your ability to get to sleep at night. These won’t work for everyone but trying these will not hurt and will hopefully help you feel more rested each day:
We often use the term eating better when we want to improve our health. This generally means to eat better food. Today I want to talk about the actual process of eating and that eating better means chewing your food properly. A complete dinner will be prepared and we can scoff it down in 5 minutes and feel sick and hungry afterwards, or we can eat it over 20 minutes and enjoy it more and not feel the digestive discomfort afterwards.
Regardless of what type of food it is, it will always be better for you to chew more. The first stage of the digestive system is your mouth. Your teeth and saliva are an active part of the digestive system yet too many people leave this job entirely up to the stomach. The stomach digests food by breaking it down with acid and enzymes, this process is very difficult if the food has not been thoroughly chewed before swallowing.
Running can be a great exercise, it can also be boring, tedious and painful. If you love running then by all means keep doing it. If you don’t like it then do not feel obliged to do it just to be healthy. There is nothing about running that makes it a more healthy activity than any other and you can have incredibly good heart health without ever running at all. Today I will share with you some alternatives to running that will give you just as much benefit as running if not more.
Eating healthy is generally thought to be an expensive option. Even if this were true, I would argue that it is an investment, but that’s an entire post for another day. The idea that a healthy diet is expensive is not entirely true and there are many ways to reduce the cost of food. Today I will share a few simple ways to reduce your food bill so that you can afford to eat well.
Buy in bulk only when it makes sense
Buying in bulk is a good option as long as you actually eat the food. Don’t buy 50 tins of tuna if you rarely ever eat it. Items such as nuts can cost over $100/kg when bought in small packets, in bigger quantities this cost will go down to as low as $10-$20/kg. There are many online vendors that will sell food items in bulk and these can be a great way to stock up on staples. You can also consider buying big amounts of items at these online stores and splitting the cost between friends or family.
The humble potato, demonized and marginalized by diets everywhere. In recent years many people have warned against eating potatoes, saying that they are void of nutrition and full of empty calories. This may be true in the case of hot chips/French fries but not for the potato as a vegetable. Today I will show you some reasons why you should eat potatoes.
Welcome to my new blog on the Freeman's Fitness page. First a little about me, I work full-time as a personal trainer helping people to improve their health, mood and fitness. I spend most of my spare time with my partner and friends, reading, hiking and being a member of a local fire brigade with all that it entails. I am lucky enough to live surrounded by the Australian bush in a great part of Sydney.
Why did I start this blog?
The inspiration for this blog comes from seeing the effect that poor food choices and a lack of physical activity is having on the enjoyment of our lives. We all know what effect this has on our health so I don't need to bore you with details. Another reason for this blog came from looking at the current fitness environment and its emphasis on body image. Whilst this can be a motivating factor for people to improve their health, it often neglects real health and is approached in an unsustainable way.
How will this blog help you?
I welcome any questions you have
I will be posting up two articles each week. If you have any questions or comments, you can either comment on the article, send me a contact through the website or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Each Monday I will post a short video Q and A on youtube. Here I will answer questions taken from people in regards to the topics mentioned above.
Thanks for reading!