Have you ever stopped completely still and taken a moment to appreciate your heartbeat? Then considered how much you look after it, given that the second it stops ticking you have a pretty major problem on your hands. This vulnerable little muscle takes quite a lot of abuse from some of us, yet it continues to beat until it no longer can.
There is a lot of advice on heart health, getting plenty of exercise and eating lots of healthy fats like omega 3. However, do we sometimes avoid looking at other parts of our body that we should be keeping healthy too? Let us take control of our health.
Your teeth are a major part of your look and as such can give people very real confidence and mental health issues yet so many of us neglect our oral health and eat highly damaging foods without cleaning our mouths afterwards. More and more people are falling on to heavy cosmetic procedures to fix the damage they have caused through neglect; this has resulted in an alarming number of cosmetic medical negligence claims, which is really sad. Imagine being unhappy with your teeth, paying someone to fix it, only to end up making the problem worse!
Surgery, no matter where on your body, should be a very last resort – and keeping your teeth healthy and white is not difficult. Whilst you may need help with a brace or jaw realignment due to your genetic make up, rotting teeth or teeth that fall out, and fillings are all quite avoidable. Simply brush a minimum of twice a day, keep your gums healthy by flossing too and use a mouthwash. Visit your dentist twice a year and your hygienist 4 times a year. You will soon have a lot more to smile about.
Joint health is another thing we don’t pay enough attention to. If your heart is so healthy you live into your 90’s it’s not going to be much fun if you ignored your joints and bones so you aren’t mobile and are constantly in pain.
A diet rich in healthy oily fish and green leafy vegetables can help you naturally maintain supple joints. Calcium rich foods are really important for bone strength, especially in women, but do not think you need to drink loads of milk to get enough calcium in your body. Whilst it is a great source for growing children, especially if you provide them with whole, not skimmed milk, adults can get their recommended daily intake (of around 1200mg per day) from various food sources. You can get 30% of your daily calcium requirements from this Chicken and Wild Mushroom soup. Soy, Extra Virgin Olive oil and cheese are all great for joints and cherries are particularly good for relieving symptoms of gout. Get to know your food and how those can benefit the health of your bones and joints.
A good, low impact, exercise that supports your joints is swimming – and this is also something you can enjoy to help your heart and lungs. You do not have to be the next Michael Phelps or Tom Daly. Taking a couple of gentle swims a week will improve your health no end. Yoga is another brilliant way of ensuring our joints are kept in top condition, your flexibility will increase and whilst there are some tough moves if you are looking to tone up, you could stick to the gentle positions to keep on top of your movements.
Mental health is something many people tend to neglect but this can have a negative impact on your life expectancy. Happy and social people have a far better mortality rate than those who shut themselves away and suffer from depression.
Of course it can be a lot easier to say go out and be happy than it is to achieve. So do not make yourself too stressed trying to force a feeling that is not going to come. Mental health can be improved by a variety of disciplines. Routine and order is a very good start. Ensuring your home, finances and sleep cycle are all regular and in control. With better sleep comes an ability to process issues and you may find that something you have been fretting over is a lot less serious than it feels when you are exhausted.
Finding some time to meditate can be a useful exercise. Increasing our awareness may sound a little out of your comfort zone but it is actually very simple. Meditation will help you understand what to do with the awareness you already have and how to help you become more self-aware.
Finally, if you are carrying a lot of depression, talk to someone. Please. Do not hold it in and close down. Open up and blossom.