Healthy living is one of the most popular topics at present. People are interested in what they can do to improve/maintain their health and prevent health problems.
Good health is certainly achievable but it’s important to realise that health is a process where a lot of factors need to be considered. So what are some of the most common questions that people ask when it comes health and wellness?
- How often I should exercise and for how long?
- What kind of exercise and what techniques and levels of intensity would be most suitable for me?
- Is the type of exercise that I am doing the right one for me? Will it aggravate my problems?
- How can I ensure that I have adequate levels of vitamin D? Is sunbathing good or bad for me?
- How can I ensure that I eat the right kinds of food and have a healthy diet?
- Is there a certain diet that I need to follow?
As physiotherapists, we are asked these questions on a regular basis.
To help you get the answers we thought it will be good to review some of the popular misconceptions when it comes to healthy living and highlight the correct approach.
Myth 1: Drinking enough water, getting adequate sleep and positive thinking prevents serious diseases
This is very insufficient because many other factors can affect your health and wellbeing and deserve attention. They include:
- improper diet
- lack of exercise
- insufficient level of sun exposure
Myth 2. Eating 2-3 serves of fruits and 4-5 serves of vegetables daily is required for maintaining good health
This is partly correct, but you need to consider what proportion raw and minimally processed fruits and vegetables constitute in your daily ration. This is an important parameter which is often overlooked. It’s important that the 2-3 serves of fruits and 4-5 serves of vegetables are made up of raw fruit and raw vegetables wherever possible.
Myth 3. Moderate exercise of 3-3.5 hours per week is sufficient for a healthy lifestyle
This recommendation is vague because frequency, duration, intensity and other aspects of exercise programs are important for achieving your goals. Exercise programs should take into consideration a variety of factors such as your health status, age, gender, fitness level, type of work you do e.g. sedentary or physical and other parameters.
Myth 4. Diet is the best way to achieve and maintain healthy weight
Restrictive diets usually fail to reach this goal. This might be a temporary solution but as soon as you get off the diet you gain your weight back, sometimes more than before the diet.
Myth 5. Sun avoidance and regular application of sunscreen are necessary for health
These recommendations need additional clarifications. Excessive sun exposure is risky and should definitely be avoided. However, modern research indicates that sufficient sun exposure during appropriate times of the day without applying sunscreen is required for the biosynthesis of vitamin D, which is mandatory for disease prevention and maintaining good health. A balance is required to get the best results and avoid overexposure.
So how do you sunbathe appropriately to get the best results while avoiding overexposure? Here are some tips:
- sunbathing for up to 15 minutes per day, away from the water, up to 11am and after 4pm is generally safe
- make sure you spend roughly the same time sunbathing on your back and on your stomach
- slowly build up your sunbathing time up to approximately 30 minutes in total
These are general recommendations only. Discuss this further with your physiotherapist or doctor.
Myth 6. Eating a wide variety of food is required for good health
This is a very vague statement as it could lead to misinterpretations. It is highly important to ensure that your daily ration is balanced to ensure that you are getting the main nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Other factors, however, are involved. Like exercise, your diet should also take into consideration your age, gender, level of physical activity, special physiological conditions such as pregnancy, breastfeeding and other factors to make it healthy and satisfy your needs.
Myth 7. You need to make adjustments to your lifestyle only when it is required
This is totally wrong. You probably heard the expression that prevention is better than cure. You need to start introducing appropriate lifestyle modifications as early as possible. This would help in preventing potential health problems. Many health disorders, if left untreated, could evolve into serious issues. Get professional advice on how to maintain your health and wellbeing.
We hope that the above tips will help get you started on the path to a healthier and better you.
Have you recently started a more healthy lifestyle? Share with us below.
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