Although it might seem strange at first glance to categorise these three seemingly unrelated subjects under one umbrella, there is definitely a link between these three areas, for they all contribute in their own specific way in enabling us to live our lives to their fullest. Whilst beauty, in itself, may not appear to be of prime concern to many, remaining fit and therefore preserving and extending one’s health are vital elements in any life.
Beauty affects our outlook and confidence
Beauty, in itself, is not seen as part of fitness and health as such, although it is a key element in making someone feel better about themselves, i.e. improving their emotional health. Whether right or wrong, beauty is often seen as an outward reflection of who we are, and making ourselves look attractive and presentable makes us feel that we are displaying the best side of ourselves to the world. For some people, the attainment and preservation of beauty becomes a form of armour, worn in many cases to hide their own insecurities about themselves. This is not necessarily a weakness, for in making ourselves look good for others, we are also directly affecting our own image of ourselves. This is why so much money and time is spent in the beauty industry, where the goal is to make the most of one’s own attributes, whether it be through temporary fixes such as make-up, hairstyle, hair colour, manicures, amongst others.
Beauty enhancement is an individual choice
Beauty is very much a personal and unique matter, and what is beautiful to one person might be something entirely different to someone else. Tattoos, for instance, are considered an enhancement to some, a visible and permanent display of one’s personality and attitudes, and often the bigger, bolder and more shocking, the better. To others, tattoos are a definite blot on the human body, tending to spoil what is otherwise a naturally beautiful form. It’s entirely personal and subjective and defines our ideas of what constitutes beauty. The latest trend for temporary hair colouring in unnatural hues such as purple, orange, blue, green and yellow appeals to some, but is not an option for everyone.
Exercise well, but in moderation
Exercise, in itself, is key to keeping both a youthful appearance and a healthy body, if carried out in moderation. Obviously, taking things to extreme measures is never good and puts an inordinate strain on the body. Perhaps this might not show for many years, but eventually it will take its toll in many different ways, for instance in muscle strain and tears, over-used and worn cartilage in elbows, knees, ankles and other joints which may lead to arthritis and rheumatism, joint pain, knee and even hip replacements. Over-exercising can result in hormonal imbalance or changes, including the hormone testosterone (present in both sexes to greater or lesser degrees) and our body’s natural stress hormone, cortisol. Contrary to our intentions, too much exercise can lead to over- or under-eating as well as possibly fooling the body into burning muscle instead of fat. These factors should be carefully considered when training indiscriminately to try and achieve peak fitness, as you could inadvertently cause your body to actually hold onto or gain fat reserves, especially in the abdominal area. Additional adverse reactions to taking exercise too far include fatigue in the form of mental or physical grogginess, insomnia, elevated resting heart rate, increasing disinterest, motivation and enjoyment in exercise itself because of burnout, and mood changes including irritability, anxiety, anger and depression. Possibly even more worrying is the possibility of a weakened immune system, chronic inflammation and outright injury.
Health affects more than just our physical bodies
Wikipedia defines health as : ” … a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease” according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Physical is about the body. Mental is about how people think and feel.” Our health, especially when we are young, is something we all tend to take for granted, which is why so many of us tend to unthinkingly abuse our bodies without realizing that our future health depends on how we look after ourselves throughout our lives.
Maintain health naturally through eating properly
Good health may be a natural consequence of good genes, or something which needs to be actively worked at, but in the majority of cases, good health is a goal we can achieve with care and dedication through simple measures such as :
- Drinking more water. Adults should ideally be drinking 2 – 3 litres of water per day, in addition to other drinks such as tea, coffee, cooldrinks, juices, etc. Not only does water assist in keeping the body properly hydrated, it also clears skin, helps to control appetite, prevents headaches, helps in the health of the kidneys, and gives the body energy. Instead of drinking carbonated beverages, make your own iced tea, which is delicious and not filled with preservatives.
- Eating a healthy breakfast of whole grains and lean proteins. Eggs, fruit, grains and fresh orange or apple juice not only provide essential nutrition, but also stave off the hunger pangs which often lead to us hurriedly choosing fast foods like burgers and chips, eating sugary snacks such as doughnuts and chocolate bars or filling up on salty crisps.
- Trying to ensure that half of the food on your plate comprises fruit or vegetables combined with lean protein, low-fat dairy and whole grains. Don’t cut out all fats or oils from your diet, as the body needs a certain amount of healthy fat which can be found oily fish such as salmon and tuna, avocados, olive oil and some nuts.
- Timing your evening meal to allow the body to easily digest it before going to sleep, thereby improving your sleep as the digestive system does not have to work so hard during the night.
- Even if you are a “meat-and-potatoes” lover, try to eat vegetarian at least once or twice per week. Not only does this reduce your calorie intake by cutting out starchy vegetables and grains, it also brings in plenty of natural vitamins and minerals. Added to this, vegetarian meals can also be delicious! High-fibre meals which do not include meat are beneficial in lowering cholesterol levels, controlling blood-sugar levels, improving digestive health and reducing the likelihood of over-eating, since fibre is naturally filling.
- Limiting your intake of simple sugars such as sweets and foods with added sugar. Sugar is known to provide an energy burst or spike, but this does not last long and you will tend to feel hunger fairly quickly afterwards. If you have a craving for something sweet, rather opt for fruit which is high in vitamins and natural nutrients.
- Avoiding processed foods as far as possible as these usually contain salt, sugars and unhealthy fats, as well as preservatives.
If you take pro-active steps to maintain your overall health, such as maintaining or improving your outward appearance, keeping yourself fit and incorporating healthy choices when it comes to nutrition, you will be adding so much positivity to your life.