HOLISTIC HEALTH, OR WHY MEN SHOULD SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF

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No man is an island, and the same principle rings true for each system of your body. It’s all too easy to compartmentalize health and well being into sections – exercise, diet, and so on – but research shows you need to look at the whole, not the individual. Take this study published in 2018 by the American College of Cardiology; they found that simply being optimistic is enough to reduce heart disease mortality by 38%. Being positive seems like a small change, but clearly has big results – and the pathway to understanding this is through your hormones.

The hormonal system

Your hormonal system is your internal messaging system and probably one of the most integrated parts of the body, with multiple different mechanisms working through it. It can be easy to overlook, given how they work very much in the background. Having your hormones in balance and in check is important, and is relatively easily achieved through proper sleeping schedules, eating at regular intervals, and engaging in physical activity. It can’t be overstated how important this is, and a 2011 study published by the National Institute for Health noted that decreased sleep is linked heavily to obesity. For some, there may be medical reasons for a hormone deficiency; this is common in both men and women, with it not uncommon for men to experience testosterone shortages. In these cases, it’s absolutely fine, and likely important, to look for hormone replacement therapy.

The power of breathing

Meditation, yoga, and measured breathing – these are buzzwords for a new generation of holistic health practices in the modern day, and are sometimes burdened with being seen as hippy-ish. However, deep breathing has been practiced for thousands of years by yoga, tai chi and other meditation practitioners. What’s interesting is that science backs up the powerful effect of deep breathing – tests on mice have shown deep breathing to directly reduce signals of stress in the brain, according to The Verge. Stress produces hormones of its own that can be unhelpful, flooding the body and causing strain; regular deep breathing and meditation helps to countenance that. 

Stretching your muscles

Stretching was probably discarded along with your school gym lessons, and was often an annoying precursor to having fun on the field. It really shouldn’t be disregarded, as it has a wide range of health effects that benefit more than just your bones and muscles. According to an article by UC Davis, stretching also helps to increase energy levels and release tension. Once again, this helps your body hormonally; it provides an impetus, assisting your metabolism, and makes you feel more full of vitality.

Through understanding your hormones, learning to take a deep breath and looking to stretch out, you can improve your life in subtle but powerful ways. Your hormones come together to be stronger than the sum of their parts, and that can be of immeasurable help in your day to day life. For the modern man, taking stock and addressing shortages in their daily routines is a must.

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