Once we all left primary school behind, the constant task of learning new vocabulary words seemed like a chore that was not really required in adulthood. But as we reached that grown-up status and realized that this stage of life comes with its own complicated mix of terminology, especially regarding our physical fitness and mental health, we had to reset our brains to learning mode and acquire quite a few new words.
Advancements in methods of communication, as well as the advent of the internet and social media platforms, have turned our days into seemingly endless vocabulary lessons on nutrition, exercise, physical and mental health, and numerous other concepts related to healthy lifestyles. We learn about vitamins we didn’t realize existed and diet trends taking healthy eating by storm. There are the latest exercise modes as well, offering exciting approaches to our social and emotional well-being.
It can be a lot to sift through and comprehend! Just understanding a little about what is currently discussed and practiced regarding efforts to establish a healthy lifestyle can be beneficial to our food choices and activities.
The approaches to how and what we eat could fill mighty tomes with food terminology. Understanding the latest nutrition trends and separating fact from fiction can become overwhelming within this category. A few words merit demystifying and include:
Macro and Micronutrients- Simply put, macro includes carbohydrates, fat, and protein. They are the building blocks our bodies require to function correctly and are what we eat in the most significant amounts. Micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are also vital in maintaining good health.
Microbiome- This word is often associated with digestive health. Our bodies house an environment of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other genetic material that contribute to our health internally and externally. A balance of these microbes is needed for optimum health, especially those associated with the gut.
Pre and Probiotics- Also seen in reference to gut health, these have a symbiotic role in helping maintain balance in the digestive tract. Prebiotics are specialized plant fibers that nourish gastrointestinal microbes and are often in the form of fruits and vegetables. Some of the healthiest baking flour has these nutrients and is an easy substitute to make in your daily diet. Probiotics are those microorganisms in the gut biome that receive this nourishment and include yogurt and other fermented foods.
This topic is easily as extensive as the subject of food. In addition to the different physical activities available to improve health, exercise concepts and technology are added to our daily regimen as we try to attain a healthy lifestyle.
Strength or Resistance Training- This is a form of exercise that uses weight, either your own body or physical weights, to build muscle, increase stamina, and improve mental health. Activities include walking, weight-lifting, and other specialized resistance exercises like planks and leg lifts.
Core Training- This activity relates to strengthening the muscles that serve as the body’s internal foundation or core to support and stabilize the hips, spine, and rib cage. Strength in this area of the body is essential for the health of other muscles and bones, cartilage, and ligaments.
Wearable Technology- Examples can include:
- smartwatches and other fitness trackers that provide heart rate,
- blood pressure,
- body temperature,
- oxygen levels,
- and step count
Wearable technology continues to help people monitor specific health metrics.
Our state of mind is as important as the foods we eat and the exercises we employ. A healthy balance includes care for our mental health and our feelings of well-being.
Mindfulness- This is effectively a self-care approach to slowing down and becoming aware of our thoughts, bodies, and environment to alleviate stress and create a sense of peace. Activities can include meditation and yoga.
Self-Care- Our physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs are evaluated holistically and incorporate gentle acts to improve overall health and well-being. Self-care can be as simple as sipping a cup of herbal tea to seeking the counsel of a therapist.
Digital Detox- This is a conscious effort to reduce or eliminate the time spent looking at screens and absorbing negative news and information. Smartphones, computers, and other electronic devices are used less frequently, and live social interactions are encouraged to improve personal connections.
The terms mentioned above are merely a few examples of the frequently used concepts and practices many people use in exercise and healthy eating today. Many people are still learning these terms too. So don't worry if it's a little overwhelming to think of consuming the latest in healthy lifestyle trends. Still, we are fortunately living in a time when we can access available information and make specific choices to broaden and enhance our well-being.