It’s no surprise that in an increasingly on-demand world, we need to take increasingly good care of our health – and in an age of information, it feels like we need to do all the things, all at once to stay ahead.
And it’s a lot.
While a wide range of diet, lifestyle, and genetics play a role in our health, there will always be different things that work for different people. But for the majority of people there are a few key fundamentals that will prove to have a significant impact on long-term health, wellness, and overall vitality.
So if you, like so many of us, are looking to make a few small lifestyle changes that can have a big impact, follow along.
Sleep is one of the most important biological functions and is essential for life. Some studies even show that after being awake for 17 hours you could be considered legally intoxicated (comparable to a BAC 0.05%).
Good sleep hygiene is critical for overall health and for allowing the body to repair and rejuvenate, detoxify, rid the body of cellular waste, fight oxidative stress, and fight ageing. Research has shown that people who get adequate sleep are more productive, have better memory and concentration, and have a lower risk of developing chronic health problems such as heart disease, obesity, and depression.
Creating a consistent bedtime routine, avoiding stimulants, creating a sleep-conducive environment, and limiting screen time can help create a consistent sleep schedule which will help regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle long-term.
Our bodies are made up of 60% water, helping to regulate and optimise physiological functions such as regulating body temperature, flushing out toxins, and transporting nutrients. Proper hydration is also vital for brain function and for preventing dehydration, which can affect cognitive abilities.
Adequate water intake also helps maintain blood volume and improve circulation, reduce the risk of heart disease, and support the overall cardiovascular system. Water and fluidity helps to remove waste products, and keep joints lubricated, promoting energy and vitality.
Studies show that not only drinking water, but being near water regularly is good for your long-term health. What is now called Blue Mind Science studies the neurological responses that humans experience when in, near, or around water, and the positive impact it has on health.
Physical activity and movement are crucial for long-term health and for the optimal function of critical physiological and regulatory systems, like the Endocannabinoid System. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, reduces the risk of chronic diseases, improves cardiovascular and muscular fitness, increases flexibility and balance, and strengthens bones.
Moving the body also releases endorphins, natural mood boosters that can improve mental health and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety. Physical activity also promotes better sleep, reduces stress, and improves overall energy levels. Inactivity, on the other hand, can increase the risk of chronic health conditions and accelerate physical and cognitive decline.
Aim to incorporate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity into your daily routine, a few times a week (150 minutes total per week). Getting a little extra movement in can be as simple as walking instead of driving, taking the stairs, or walking during lunch instead of sitting.
Known as the “sunshine vitamin” as it is primarily synthesised in the body through exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D is an essential hormone for the proper functioning of the immune system, the maintenance of strong bones, and may also reduce the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, and depression.
Sunlight exposure also regulates the circadian rhythm, promoting better sleep, and boosting overall mood. Deficiency in vitamin D can lead to weak bones, increased risk of infections and chronic diseases. Getting enough sunlight and vitamin D is important for overall health and well-being, so it’s recommended to spend at least 15 minutes a day getting direct, unfiltered sunlight exposure into your eyes and on your skin (without looking directly into the sun). Be sure to wear protective clothing and a hat when the sun is at its strongest.
Human beings are social creatures and social connection through friends, family, and community has been shown to promote better mental health, reduce stress, and increase life satisfaction.
Being part of a community provides a sense of belonging and purpose, helps build resilience and reduces the risk of depression and anxiety. Physical affection like hugs, handshakes, and touch also play a role in promoting physical and mental well-being. Touch releases oxytocin, the “feel-good” hormone, which reduces stress and promotes feelings of safety and security.
Not only does this connection increase the ‘feel-goods’ but also reduces the ‘feel bads’ like stress, isolation, and feelings of depression. Connection is vital to feeling a sense of belonging and emotional support throughout your life, so seeking opportunities to feel connection, affection, joy and community are a key foundation for long-term vitality and wellness.
These key steps act as a great foundation for long-term health, but it will always be a work in progress.
Find out more about how you can naturally keep your body, nervous system, and Endocannabinoid System in an optimal state of healing and health by speaking with one of our GPs today.
DISCLAIMER: The Ananda Clinics blog is here to provide education and information, without implying medical advice, or recommendation for the use of cannabis as medicine or adult use purposes.
Medical cannabis remains strictly regulated by the Australian TGA as it is not a registered therapeutic agent due to the lack of research and evidence in support of its efficacy or potential side effects.
If you think medical cannabis may be right for you, book an appointment with one of our doctors to find out more.