Self help and its role in healthy living

The ancient sages said,
“No doubt every truth is simple but the path to it is sometimes very hard.”

Exercise is often believed to be concerned only with physical well-being. But there is a wide body of research to show that mental exercise, spiritual exercise and emotional development all effect the state of our health and how we feel. Good health is not just about how we have looked after our body.

If we lack enough pure air, or essential components of a good diet, or what we drink is not enough or poor quality, or we lack enough sleep, we can cause increased risk not only to ourselves but for others also. We will suffer from poor health, irritability, poor performance, a lack of alertness and build up a host of other problems for ourselves from digestive disorders to heart problems.

A lack of taking care of our body could be indicative of a lack of care in how we view ourselves. Maybe we need to change the way we look at ourself and the choices we make. Maybe we need to be reminded: "I am worth it," or "They are worth it", for those around you in pain and discomfort are not able to give their best, either to you or themselves. If you are okay, but they are not, maybe you could help them. Even directing their attention to some of the information available on this website will help. Are you worth it? Are they?

If you have a hard day at work, or some other tiring or stressful situation, should you really be driving if you are not really alert? You may find it useful to determine just how alert you are now by testing your responses to the red light/green light reaction time test here.

Exercise and Physical Activity

The benefits of physical activity include:

  • Better health
  • More energy
  • Reduced stress
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Better balance, strength, suppleness and mobility
  • Improved sleep
  • Improved body shape
  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
  • More social opportunities
  • A sense of achievement
  • More independence in later life

Recommended activity levels

  • Adults: 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity at least five days a week.
  • Children: 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each day.
  • Targets can be achieved with 10-minute bursts of activity spread throughout the day.

The advice 20 years ago was to rest, but research has shown that inactivity often only makes things worse. When you’re in pain you may want to stay in bed and not move around, but that results in further loss of mobility and will only prolong the pain. We know that reduced or no physical activity can have serious health consequences. Not only do muscles waste quickly but lack of movement also leads to the lack of energy creation and this affects not only our body but also how we feel and experience life.

NICE guidelines state that "staying physically active is likely to be beneficial." Research shows regular exercise can improve your health, confidence and quality of life. Exercise is a great stress buster. It can help you keep the weight off but, more importantly, it will lower your risk of developing major chronic diseases.

The government advise us that even a little bit of activity can lower the risk of developing major chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers and type two diabetes, by up to 50%. It can also cut the risk of premature death by about 20% to 30%.

“Being active is no longer simply an option. It's essential if we are to live healthy and fulfilling lives into old age,” says Professor Liam Donaldson, former Department of Health’s chief medical officer.

There is a wealth of basic information on exercise by the NHS

A good night's sleep

There is nothing like a good night's sleep. You wake feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Adequate sleep is crucial to proper brain function and motor skills like driving and the operation of machinery. It is crucial to how we feel within ourselves and for how our body functions.

If you live with a lack of a good night's sleep, find out what you could do to help yourself here.