I was talking at a school in Hackney a couple of weeks ago about health and I asked the students "how do you live a healthy life?" I got the usual generic response of exercising regularly and eating healthily. I went on to ask how much is exercising regularly and how do you eat healthily. They replied with exercising 3 times a week and eating low fat, although most recent research shows eating low fat is less healthy than full fat. I then asked how many of you are doing that, only about 3 out of 20 hands went up! What I'm getting at is that it seems many people don't reflect on how you actually lead a healthy life, something I reflect on daily and think is rather important in ones life.
On Monday I was watching BBC Breakfast with philosopher Alain de Botton, where he was talking about his 10 virtues for atheists. It was a great interview in which he was explaining that in life it's important to reflect and decide on what constitutes a virtuous life. This lead me to think up my 10 commandments to live a healthy life for people to ponder over:
1) Consistent Persistence. Never stop doing what is working well for you, even when you don't want to.
2) Fun. Life is about having fun! Create and experiment with ways to make living a healthy life fun. The more fun it is the more you're likely to stick to it.
3) Honesty. Be truthful with yourself. The minute you start telling yourself lies about your health is the minute you start to cover up your unhealthy parts.
4) Accountability. Take responsibility for your own actions. Peeling a banana takes 1 second and unwrapping a chocolate bar takes 1 second.
5) Support. Encourage those that want to be healthy as well as finding support for yourself with your health. The modern world is geared towards you being unhealthy.
6) Education. You might have a generic opinion of how to be healthy but we are learning more and more about the human body and how to make it healthier, so keep up by research and discussion.
7) Challenge. Strive to push yourself regularly, it doesn't have to be everyday but to keep the fire alive we must chop wood!
8) Purpose. Finding your reason for why you are here is central to being healthy. Without a purpose we have no direction.
9) Passion. Having zest for life is essential for making life interesting. We only have one life, live it to it's maximum potential.
10) Adaptation. One of the main reasons people are stressed, anxious and depressed is because of self doubt. Becoming more flexible in life creates are more mindful existence. To read more on adaptation I recommend reading Tim Harford's, Adapt.
Health is the number one priority in life as it leads to happiness, and for me it means to not be restricted in life physically or psychologically through my life choices. Meaning that I want to be fruitful in all areas of my life without restriction, from my relationship with my partner to having my body complete daily tasks like walking up a flight of stairs without feeling out of breath. I urge you to ask yourself regularly "how do I live a healthy life" and to discuss it with friends and family, as knowing how to live a healthy life requires thought and practice.
Follow Sam Feltham on Twitter: www.twitter.com/samfeltham