Coronavirus and the disease it causes, COVID, have literally upended the world. At the end of 2019, who would have thought the next 12 to 14 months would turn out the way they did? If there is a silver lining to all this, it's that we have been reminded of some very important lessons. Among them is the need to maintain overall good health.
Overall good health is more important than ever before. The best way to fight off any type of viral infection is to be in good health. And the best way to ensure good health is to adopt and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Regardless of the direction, we go in terms of vaccines, social distancing, masking, etc., overall good health will forever be the most effective thing we can pursue to protect ourselves.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet
Overall good health starts with maintaining a healthy diet. There is no getting around it. We truly are what we eat. Our bodies rely on the nutrition we provide to maintain good health and repair what goes wrong. If we fail to provide the right nutrition, our bodies don't have the tools they need to do what they do.
It is truly amazing to step back and watch how people eat. We live in a world too quick to embrace unhealthy foods. We find it difficult to practice moderation at the table. We get too few fresh fruits and vegetables and too much sugar and fat. We are like workers attempting to use a car park line marking machine to create a painting equal to the Mona Lisa.
Proper nutrition goes a long way toward maintaining overall good health. It boosts immune function, which we know is critically important in the fight against COVID. Good nutrition also helps manage weight, stave off certain types of illnesses (like high blood pressure for example), and improve the quality of life.
Getting Regular Exercise
If you follow issues related to good health, you probably knew that maintaining a healthy diet would be followed by getting regular exercise. It is no secret that exercise is just as important as nutrition. Our bodies are ' use it or lose it' organisms. We cannot fight it no matter how hard we try. If we don't exercise, we lose a certain amount of that ability we need to stay healthy.
The need for exercise is clearly illustrated by muscle mass. Without regular exercise, muscles lose mass. They get weaker as a result. A person who goes their entire life without exercise may find themselves unable to move very well as an older person.
Did you know the heart is a muscle? Without appropriate exercise, it gradually gets weaker. How many people have cardiovascular disease that is somehow linked to a lack of adequate exercise? How many people would find it easier to manage their hypertension if they simply went out and walked a few miles every day?
Getting Adequate Sleep
A healthy diet provides the nutrition our bodies need to repair themselves. Regular exercise forces our bodies to maintain the strength and wherewithal to do those repairs. Now we need just one more ingredient: adequate sleep.
Your body affects its repairs while you are sleeping. That is the way the human body has been designed. Once again, we cannot fight it. So in order to maintain good health, it's imperative that we get adequate sleep. Experts generally define adequate sleep as anything from 8 to 10 hours nightly.
For the record, beneficial sleep is deep sleep. Tossing and turning for nine hours isn't going to get it done. Neither is sleeping six hours per night during the week and hoping to catch up on the weekends. That trick doesn't work. You need consistent, restful sleep for 8 to 10 hours every night.
Getting Fresh Air and Sunshine
Our bodies are designed to take advantage of what nature offers to maintain good health. Therefore, getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine can do a world of good. If you know anything about vitamin D, you understand the importance of getting outdoors.
The human body naturally synthesizes vitamin D as a result of a synthesis reaction that occurs in the lower layers of the epidermis. It turns out that sunlight induces that reaction. People who spend adequate time in natural sunlight generally do not suffer from vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D is vital to a number of biological functions. It is involved in calcium absorption, bone mineralization, bone growth, and more. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of conditions affecting the bones. Conversely, adequate vitamin D can help protect against osteoporosis, cancer, depression, stroke, and more.
Reducing Stress as Much as Possible
The last piece of the good health puzzle is reducing stress. We all know just how bad stress is for the mind and body. Prolonged stress is a contributing factor in a whole host of diseases including hypertension and heart disease. Stress is also a leading indicator in many mental illnesses. In the simplest terms possible, stress is unhealthy.
Stress can also be problematic in a tertiary sense. For example, living a stressful life can inhibit your sleep. We have already discussed how important adequate sleep is. So if you are not getting enough sleep because you're too stressed, you now have two strikes against you. Finding ways to relieve the stress you are under offers benefits across multiple fronts.
In light of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, stress could be a big problem for a lot of people. It seems like the world has never faced so much stress on a global scale. If it is not fear of the virus itself, we worry about everything from national economics to whether or not we will actually have a job next month. There are also societal stresses involving face coverings, vaccine passports, and so forth.
Unfortunately, relieving stress is not necessarily as easy as changing your diet or getting daily exercise. If you are unable to devise some stress-releasing strategies, you may need the help of your GP or mental health professional.
It is clear that we will be dealing with coronavirus and COVID for the foreseeable future. Regardless of where this all goes, remember the most important fact of all: maintaining overall good health is the best defense against sickness and disease. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and you will be much better off.