Everyone wants to be healthy, right? “Health” means that you live longer, you feel better during that time, you get to be free of chronic ailments, and you’re more capable of performing to your highest standard in all areas of your life, whether that be your career, or your romantic life, or even just your ability to contribute meaningfully to your friend group without always being moody and distracted.
But wouldn’t it be great if getting healthy didn’t just mean making sure that you live longer and feel better, but also that you look better in the process?
A problem that many beauty bloggers and commentators have, is that they talk about beauty as if it’s an enclosed world all to itself. As if enhancing your looks has no connection at all to being healthy, or to the various other elements of your life outside of makeup, clothes, and spa treatments.
The reality of the situation is, however, quite different. Beauty tends to increase along with improvements in health, in an almost-completely-linear fashion.
So, if you want the best of both worlds, here are some health tips that can improve your looks.
Balancing your hydration — get enough water but not too much
Everyone knows that staying properly hydrated is good for you, but many people don’t seem to realise the fact that drinking too much water is just as bad for you as drinking too little. In fact, when you drink too much water, you experience a condition known as hyponatremia, which is where the essential electrolytes in the extracellular fluids of your body, are too strongly diluted.
This condition can be fatal, and people fairly regularly keel over and die while taking on serious endurance challenges, specifically because they down too much water while they’re busy.
To properly optimise your health and your looks, stay properly hydrated, but avoid “over-hydrating”, too. The simplest way to do this is to drink only when you’re thirsty, to drink only until you stop being thirsty, and to ensure that your pee is always a light yellow colour.
Yes, that’s right, the advice you frequently read about needing to drink a set amount of water each day no matter what, and having clear urine, is actually very bad for you.
When you’re optimally hydrated, you are likely to have significantly fewer issues with things like dehydrated skin, and you may find that you develop a healthy “glow” from keeping your fluids and electrolytes in the right balance.
Catching up on your sleep
Sleep is a pretty miraculous phenomenon when all is said and done. It’s during our evening hours that our brains apparently process and tidy up our memory stores, and when bodies release certain hormones associated with growth and repair. “Growth hormone”, specifically, is released in large quantities when we sleep.
The issue is that many of us today consistently fail to get as much sleep as we need, as sleep is all too often seen as something of a decadent luxury, rather than an essential for life in general.
According to Matthew Walker, author of the hit book,”Why We Sleep”, people typically need about 8 hours of sleep a night, and failure to get adequate sleep — even for a week — can result in serious blood sugar management issues, that would put you in the “prediabetic” category.
So, sleep is absolutely essential for your health, but it’s also really important for your looks. Have you ever wondered why the saying “beauty sleep” exists in the first place? Or why you have dark rings around your eyes, pimples, and just look bloodshot and unhealthy when you haven’t been resting properly?
Get more sleep each night. Treat your sleep as a priority, and both your health and looks are sure to improve by leaps and bounds.
Getting plenty of low-intensity exercises
High-Intensity Exercise (HIE) or High-Intensity Training (HIT) have become incredibly popular in recent times, with the basic idea seeming to be that if you don’t finish each workout in a state close to death, you are not being dedicated enough, and you simply won’t see the optimal benefits.
While HIT might be effective for certain things, such as for promoting fat loss, however, it is also very hard on the body. People frequently come down with colds or chest infections after HIT sessions that were done when they weren’t in the peak of health, properly fuelled, well-rested, etc.
There are various reasons for this, but one of the key ones is that HIT stresses the body’s Central Nervous System. Too much stress can lead to “Overtraining Syndrome”, as well as a collapse of immune function, a chronic boost in stress hormones, and so on.
All of this can contribute to making you look worn and haggard rather than fresh and vibrant.
Only do the HIT if you’re up to it, and fill your days with plenty of low-intensity exercise, such as walking from one location to another
Simply walking around a lot has been shown to have tremendous health benefits, including improved circulation, which will certainly help with your looks.
Not snacking between meals
Opinions are divided about the role of snacking in health and well-being, but certain experts have been increasingly suggesting, in recent times, that snacking too much during the day can lead to hormonal issues, increased weight gain, and even an increased risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
Dr. Jason Fung, author of “The Complete Guide to Fasting,” notes, for example, that keeping insulin levels chronically raised — by eating throughout the day, every day — can lead to insulin resistance and all the issues mentioned above.
Dr. Fung suggests periods of occasional fasting to help counteract this, but a good enough start may well be to simply stop snacking between meals, in order to give your body a chance to rest.
It’s only in recent times that frequent snacking has become such a normal, and readily accepted behaviour. Very recently, in the Western world, parents would tell children off for snacking between meals as it would “ruin their appetite.”