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                 Live Life to the Fullest       by  C. A. Keith


As a member an employee of a major fitness club in Canada, a Registered Massage Therapist and a College Instructor teaching nutrition and pathology, I was trying to establish a catch all to keep my patients/clients healthy.  There is no key aspect to keeping and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. What is necessary to live healthy and live life to the fullest?


Exercise

Exercise has many benefits. Most would agree that 20 minutes moderate to vigorous exercise at least 3 times per week is the standard recommendation. Any changes to fitness levels should be discussed with a doctor.  Exercise can assist in losing weight, gaining and strengthening muscles and increasing flexibility.  It can help to tone muscle and shape and trims one’s figure. Exercise improves cardiovascular health and lowers blood pressure. The heart pumps blood through the whole body to deliver nutrients and oxygen and get rid of waste products. If our heart is strong and working optimally, then we live optimally.  Find something you love to do like biking, walking, swimming or even hula hooping.  Just move your way! You will stick to a new program if you love doing it. And  live life to the fullest !


Healthy Eating and Drinking

Canada’s Food guide maintains the key to a healthy lifestyle is incorporating a balance of six main nutrients: fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals and water.  Carbohydrates are the bodies fuel supply, without carbohydrates, our body uses muscle tissues and stores it so we put on weight.  Healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil, fish and nuts are needed for many reasons including maintaining body temperature and building hormones that our body uses daily.

Proteins are made up of amino acids that build and repair tissues. Fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours provide the body with the necessary minerals and vitamins.  The things that are not as beneficial are high fat, processed food, excess salt, fried and pre-packaged meals.  If there are many ingredients on the label, especially words that are unfamiliar, it’s likely not something the body needs often. Eat sparingly.  Eat natural, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean cuts of meat and fish often.  Oatmeal with fresh fruit is a great way to start the day.  Drink water throughout your day. Limit caffeine as it dehydrates. Limit artificial sweeteners, although, they are considered safe, eat as natural as possible.Thus, Eat clean and your body works well for you.


Sleeping to live life to the fullest !

Our body needs sleep to repair and rejuvenate. Everyone is different. Most people need 6-8 hours per night depending on age.  Shift work plays havoc with the body. To prepare for shifts, ease into it.  Visual stimulation like phones and TV’s trick the body into staying awake. Perhaps the sounds of silence or relaxing tunes could lull into a much needed sleep. Set the alarm to a favourite song to motivate the day with a kick start.


Stress

Stress is a preventable way to keep healthy. The body doesn’t make the differentiation between physical, emotional, or any type of stress. Stress is stress, bottom line. Keep exercising to keep muscles, joints, and tendons flexible and fit. Try yoga, meditation, and deep breaths to lower stress levels. Don’t hold it in, let it out, talk about it with a friend, loved one or counsellor. As a result you will find some peace.

The body has two major nervous system responses para-sympathetic which helps the body rest and digest and the sympathetic nervous system which is fight or flight.  The fight or flight response is a safety or protective mechanism not meant for long periods of time. Increased amounts of adrenaline and cortisol pumping through the body can suppress an already weak immune system and trigger diseases and disorders.  Massage is a great way to work out tight achy muscles, increase flexibility and range of motion in joints, and soothe and relax to lull us in a perfect frame of mind and a much needed restful sleep.  This is what our body needs most.  When we sleep our body rests and repairs itself. Hence, in addition to good workouts, we have to give priority to sleep.


So fuel your body with the right things; sleep, nutrients, exercise and a de-stressed body. If the body is fuelled in the right ways, it will work for you when you need it. So live life to the fullest and live life on your terms.