Way back in 1946, there was a statement made by the World Health Organization “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
Now, everybody has the right to a healthy living lifestyle; a life free of diseases, illnesses and infirmities. And disease, illnesses etc. are directly caused by the violation of the principles of healthy living. The problem with people, in these hectic days is that they want a gun-shot treatment; get rid of the symptoms that is causing the disease or the illness and get along with life, make money, eat junk food and start the cycle over again. You have to forgive them for they do not know what they are doing to their bodies. When they are ill they simply go to a physician, take a pill and that’s it. They do not bother to find out the real cause of their illness or disease.
Most diseases are lifestyle related and most of them can be prevented by following some of the basic principles of healthy living. These are very simple and can be abundantly had if you spend a fraction of the time in a day to look for it. They are Air, Sunlight, Rest, Exercise, Nutrition, Water, Temperance and Trust. Easily available and doesn’t cost much. Practically all of them can be had free of cost and you do not even have to take the trouble of making a search for them.
Air : It is a free blessing from heaven. What we are doing all out to pollute it is a different question. But right now it is still relatively pollution free and can be had free of cost. We can live for about three weeks without food, three days without water but hardly three minutes without air. It is calculated to electrify the whole system of our bodies. A good respiration soothes the nerves; t induces sound sleep; and it stimulates the appetite and aids digestion.
Sunlight : One of nature’s best of healing agents. The exposure of our skin to direct sunlight, unfiltered by the myriad of lotions and powders that are available, will help the body in producing vitamin D. In the United States of America, over 20,000 people die annually from lack of vitamin D and insufficient exposure to ultra-violet rays.
Rest : All mammals require rest for their bodies to function normally and efficiently during the daytime. And sleep is an indispensable way of getting the rest that we need. Even God needed rest. The recommended number of hours of sleep is eight.
Exercise : Every muscle in our body requires exercise or it will go into disuse and then degenerate into uselessness. Similarly, the heart is also a muscle and it also requires exercise so that it can pump the blood around your body efficiently. And exercise simulates the production of a chemical called serotonin. This serotonin makes you feel happier and less stressed. And the best exercise for healthy living is walking. If there is anything that reduces blood sugar it is walking. The benefits of waking can only be experienced if you practice it. Walking gives all round health. It is well known that exercise burns calories and burning calories makes you lose weight. For healthy living you have to lose a lot of calories. The kind of lifestyle that we live nowadays only helps to accumulate calories and not lose them. If you are overweight, exercise will help you achieve your ideal weight.
Nutrition : You are what you eat. In today’s world a vegetarian diet is the best and safest diet. It goes without saying that vegetarians are 50% less likely to develop a heart disease and they have 40% of the cancer rate of non-vegetarians. It has also been found that vegetarians have a stronger immune system and are less prone to the ordinary illnesses such as flu etc. And to beat it all, vegetarians, on an average, live some 10 years longer that non-vegetarians.
Water : Another of God given gifts and just as the air that we breath we are actually going out of our way to pollute it. It may interest you to know that 97% of the water on the earth is salty and found in the oceans. Of the remaining 3%, two thirds are frozen in the polar ice caps and glaciers of the world and even the remaining is found mainly as groundwater, leaving only a small fraction above ground and in the air. And just think of the ways we are trying to pollute it that it is now become a normal activity to get water from the ground, bottle it and sell it.
That water is essential to life can be seen by the simple fact that the human body is about 60% water in males and 55% in females. Lean muscle tissue contains 75% water by weight; blood 95%; body fat 14% and even bone contains 22% water. Every day we lose about 2.5 liters of water which must be replenished to prevent dehydration. The Reference Daily Intake (RDI) of water for an adult male is 3.70 liters and that for a female is 2.70 liters, that is for those above the age of 18. Water acts as a solvent, a temperature regulator, a lubricant and a means of transportation in the body.
Bathing is another activity that is required for a healthy living. A healthy skin in itself leads to a healthy body. A warm bath makes your muscles more flexible, the intellect is brightened, the mind and the body alike become invigorated and every bodily facility becomes livelier.
Temperance : This applies to all factors in our daily lives: work, sleep, food etc. Abstinence can be defined as “the act of practice of refraining”. Apply this to all factors that affect our health. Temperance in diet is rewarded with mental, physical and moral vigor. It also aids in the control of our passions. We must always be in control of our bodies and not the reverse.
Trust : Worrying about our present conditions, nowadays we do not worry about the conditions of others, and worrying about our future leads to an intemperate lifestyle and not healthy living. This in turn leads to stress and stress in turn leads to cardiovascular diseases, cancers, lowered immunity and psychiatric problems. Among possible physiological mechanisms, stress may induce hypersecretion, reduce acid buffering in the digestive tracts and the stomach, impair gastroduodenal blood flow and affect healing and inflammation. Trust alienates worries; trust in others and more importantly trust in God.
Simply by following the above principles of healthy living we can lead a healthy lifestyle free from most of the diseases and illnesses that we experience these days. We can lead a normal life mentally, physically, spiritually and socially. Getting the above ingredients in all their abundance is bound to raise your well being and those around you.