'Here's looking at you, kid!' Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca

Why it's important to look after you.
Here's looking at you kid (cropped)

As a solopreneur, you can't call in sick!

According to the National Office of Statistics, there were 4.1 million solopreneurs in the UK in 2015. That number will have grown since then. If you are one of them, your business depends on you. As a business owner, you depend on it to provide for you and your family. You can’t call in sick so it’s essential that you stay fit and healthy.

We all know to optimise our health, we need to look after ourselves both physically and mentally. If we keep our bodies healthy, it impacts on our mental health and vice versa. In this blog, I am concentrating on the physical side of optimising your health.

This blog is not intended to give you a comprehensive summary of what you could do to optimise your physical health. Use it to as a starting point to question what you can do to get and stay fit and healthy. Ask your doctor or nutritionist for more information.

Why it's important to keep excercising throughout your life.

From around the age of 30, you can lose as much as 3 to 8% of your muscle mass each decade and the decline worsens after the age of 60. If you don't maintain your muscle mass, as you get older, you become more frail and so are more likely to fall and break bones. That's why it's essential to include excercise in your life, throughout your life.


How to maintain muscle mass

Cardiovascular exercise and weight training are crucial because they consistently activate and signal your muscles to grow.

Muscle strength really comes down to daily activity and ideally you should aim to do between 150 to 300 minutes of any type of moderate-endurance exercise a week.  Weight training three times a week will build muscle and improve strength too.

The power of protein

What you eat plays an important role in building and maintaining muscle mass. Protein is muscle food. So what foods are high in protein? Here are some examples:
  • Eggs
  • Salmon
  • Chicken breast
  • Tuna
  • Lean beef
  • Soybeans
  • Cottage cheese
  • Beans

On average, men should eat 55g and women, 45g of protein per day. That's about 2 palm-sized portions of the foods above (as well as other high protein foods)


Vitamin D and how it helps

A lot of people are deficient in Vitamin D. In the UK, we get most of our Vitamin D from sunlight exposure from around late March/early April to the end of September. Remember to use sun cream though.

Low levels of Vitamin D are linked to having less muscle strength. Ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels and if they are low, start taking supplements.

Omega-3s

These fatty acids (found in oily fish) contribute to muscle health. They have anti-inflammatory effects too.


Hormone levels

Your hormone levels can have a significant influence on your muscle mass. You can have these checked with a blood test and if the important hormones are low, you can take supplements to correct it. Ask your doctor about checking it.


Why it's important to get enough sleep

Your body needs time to regenerate itself and most of that happens when we are asleep, so try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.


How limiting your alcohol intake can help maintain your muscles

Drinking alcohol can make you dehydrated and that can affect your muscle function.

If you want to help maintain your muscles, you need to limit your alcohol intake. If you are a woman, that is one glass per day and if you are a man, that’s two.


Conclusion

We can't avoid the effects of getting older but we can do things to optimise the chances of living our lives as fully as possible, for as long as possible.

A lot of people plan for their financial futures but not many plan for it physically. It would be a shame to have spent years growing and nurturing your business, only to be limited by your body when it comes to enjoying the result of all of your hard work.

By prioritising your health, you will be able to live the life you've worked so hard to achieve.
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Here's looking at you kid (cropped)
'Here's looking at you, kid!' Humphrey Bogart, Casablanca
Why it's important to look after you.
Posted 04-02-2019 • 5 min read