Oiling the Wheels
Quality fuel, easy on the pedal and park it overnight.
There are many parallels between maintaining a car and looking after your body. Motor racing teams spend millions maximising the performance of their cars and drivers in the hope of winning a checkered flag.
Meanwhile, most of us are investing minimum effort into our bodies and still expecting to win the game of life.
Fill your tank
There is no single eating regime on the planet that is right for everyone.
Move your odometer
The physical body you travel around in needs to be ‘driven’ daily to keep all the moving parts lubricated and functional.
However, for the majority of us, there are some basic dietary requirements that must be fulfilled to keep our ancient metabolism humming.
Your muscles need to be flexed and challenged to stay toned and supple. Your bones need weight-bearing exercise to stay strong and your joints need movement and plenty of water for lubrication.
Muscle atrophy (wasting), osteoporosis (brittle bones) and arthritis (swollen joints) are more common now because people are living in their brain at the expense of their physical body.
Are you blowing a gasket?
Stress is your body’s natural response to real or imagined threat, or an unexpected event. The stress hormones Adrenalin and Cortisol are released to help you defend yourself or make a quick retreat.
The ‘fight or flight’ response was a lifesaver for our primal ancestors who were routinely exposed to physical threat. In the modern world, the mental stress many of us experience is low level but relentless, and the hormones that were designed to help us survive are now corroding our brain and body.
Longitudinal research has confirmed that constant stress causes serious health issues such as heart disease, weight gain, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Up on the hoist
As you go about your day, a natural chemical called adenosine gradually builds up in your brain and makes you feel sleepy. This is your body’s clever mechanism to guarantee some daily down time. As you sleep, the adenosine decreases and, with a little kick from Cortisol, you wake to start another day.
Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep to allow body processes to clear stress hormones and other waste products and do running repairs. Children and adolescents need around 9-11 hours.
Wash and polish
Brain activity (thinking) naturally produces a protein byproduct called amyloid beta. While you sleep, cerebral fluid flushes out this toxic plaque – just like a car wash for your brain!
When sleep is interrupted or insufficient, your brain is not cleaned properly. Over time, sleep problems cause a buildup of amyloid beta, which disrupts communication between your brain cells and makes it hard to think clearly. Amyloid plaque has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Lifelong health comes from establishing and maintaining a disciplined approach to diet, exercise and sleep. When you have a good understanding of how your metabolism works, and pay attention to how your body responds to modern life, it becomes easier to make positive changes and help loved ones with their life journey.
Supporting children to establish positive lifestyle habits is a precious gift that gives them the best possible chance to live a long and healthy life.
Download the ‘Daily Circuit’ board game activity and build it with a child to help them understand and teach others about the importance of maintaining a healthy sleep routine.
Download the printable A4 flyer for this module.