All about balance

The conventional Western approach to health has always been to define it as the absence of disease, and if disease does occur, to employ techniques and medication to combat it.

More and more, however, physicians and health professionals have become increasingly open to the traditionally Eastern concept of health, which regards health as a state of harmony between the body’s internal defence mechanism and external threats.

The onus of keeping healthy then falls to the individual to build up his own defences to fight off diseases, or learn to adapt to changes in the environment. Its attraction lies in its preventive approach to health rather than waiting till the shoe falls before taking action.

To cultivate this state of bodily harmony however, what can one do? Let us show you how!

All about balance
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Work-life balance

Father, employee, friend, daughter, pet owner, boss…individuals are now juggling more roles, duties and obligations than ever. Also, with technological advancements, employees are often expected to work on-the-go; anywhere, at any time.

As such, the lines between work and personal life are growing fuzzy. Due to overwork and little rest, many people suffer from stress and anxiety disorders, as well as a burnout.

If you have to work long hours, find out if the company offers flexible work arrangements. If there is no formal scheme in place, respectfully broach the idea with a supportive management staff.

Snatch pockets of ‘me’ time everyday to sooth your emotions and unwind. After a long day at work, pour out a glass of fragrant tea to slowly savour, luxuriate in a long bubble bath or practice those yoga poses.

Try to take a day off every now and then to take your mind off work. Sleep in late, clock in a long run, go canoeing with a like-minded friend, indulge in a leisurely gourmet lunch…the possibilities are endless!

Balanced diet

Media reports of medical research have never been more confusing. Salmon can be a lifesaving panacea one day and a mercury-laden biohazard another. What can we eat and what can’t we?

The answer to that is what nutritionists have been advocating all along: to have a balanced diet.

At its simplest, a balanced diet means getting healthy portions of the five major food groups a day: grains (usually carbohydrate sources such as pasta and rice), vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and meat and its alternatives.

Of these groups, the recommended daily intake for grains is largest at between 6 to 11 servings, followed by vegetables at 3 to 5 servings, vegetables at 2 to 4 servings, and dairy, meat and meat alternatives at 2 to 3 servings.

When choosing grains, opt for whole grains instead of refined versions. Whole fruits are preferred over fruit juice, even freshly squeezed. Meat alternatives include protein sources like fish and legumes, bit if you must have meat, do try to cut down on the fat.

The golden fitness triangle

Physical exercise is one of the basic foundations of good health. However, too many people think of exercise as simply running for 20 minutes thrice a week. Few know that there are three types of exercise: cardiovascular, flexibility and resistance.

Cardiovascular exercise builds up the heart and lung capacity and improves the blood circulatory system. Typical exercises include running, swimming and cycling. Flexibility exercises such as stretches and yoga reduce the risk of injury and help to improve flexibility of joints, ligaments and muscles. Resistance exercise like weight lifting helps to increase muscle strength and tone.

All three types of exercises are essential to a holistic fitness profile, and should be part of a fitness routine aimed at overall health.

So, to work towards the ideal state of equilibrium and health, start off with these three areas and witness the benefits for yourself!