Living the Healthy Life
We are constantly bombarded by information regarding health, fitness and wellbeing, and it can be tempting (and all too easy) to switch off and push it to the back of your mind along with those speeches your parents gave you about saving money, getting plenty of sleep and flossing your teeth! The sad thing is, with childhood and adult obesity on the rise, many people are putting their health at risk even though it is so easily prevented. There are countless ways you can improve your health, and by making a few small changes, you could live a longer, fitter and healthier life.
When we say diet, we don’t mean those crazy crash diets that seem to be on the cover of every magazine, making wild promises that you can ‘drop two sizes in just 2 weeks!’ or ‘lose 12lb a week!’ (These are real headlines by the way.)
What we mean by diet is eating what you need, and getting the right balance of the nutrients that are essential for your body. The way we view food has become warped from what it should be as we are living in a culture of excess and over indulgence.
- Get your 5 a day.This can take the form of fruit juices, fresh salads, cooked vegetables and much more.
- Invest in smaller plates. It may sound silly, but by eating from a smaller plate, you’re likely to start reducing your portion sizes.
- Drink plenty of water. It is easier than you think to become dehydrated, and often that hungry feeling you have is actually a sign that you need to top up your fluids.
One of the best things you can do for your health and wellbeing is to move more. By getting regular exercise, you can cut your risk of coronary heart disease by 35% and your risk of osteoarthritis by 83%. Not only do you improve your physical health, but exercise is proven to help lower the risk of depression and dementia.
There are ways that you can build exercise into your daily routine such as taking the stairs instead of the lift, parking further away from the shop so you have further to walk, and of course, investing in a standing desk! You need 30 minutes of exercise that raises your heart rate every day, so perhaps pick up the pace of your walk to and from work, or take the dog for a jog rather than a leisurely walk!
If you feel like you need a little extra help when it comes to getting motivated, you could employ the services of a personal trainer such as Andy Elliott who is dedicated to making sure you meet your goals.
- Choose an activity you enjoy. If you really can’t stand going jogging, try out swimming instead.
- Don’t go it alone. It can be a lot easier to stay committed to regular exercise if you have a friend or trainer to support you.
- Try a pedometer. It will help you to track how active you are during the day and how much more you need to be doing.
There are a few choices that you may make about your lifestyle everyday that aren’t benefitting your health. You probably already know what they are, but you may not know how bad these choices can be for your health.
The first of these choices is smoking. We have all heard the warnings that smoking kills; it’s impossible to ignore, but if you knew exactly what cigarettes were doing to your body, you might rethink picking up that lighter.
- Every cigarette you smoke reduces your expected life span by 11 minutes
- There are around 100,000 smoking related deaths in the UK every year
- Second hand smoking causes approximately 11, 000 deaths in the UK each year
Quitting smoking can be tough, but for most smokers, withdrawal symptoms dissipate within two weeks of quitting. If you need a helping hand to quit, there are many aids out there such as nicotine patches, electronic cigarettes or tablets to stem your cravings.
Many of us enjoy a cheeky pint or glass of wine every now and then, and we’re not going to tell you that you need to stop altogether! However, for a healthy lifestyle you should try to stick to the recommended daily units. For men, this is 3-4 units and for women, 2-3 units.
It might surprise you how little you can drink before reaching your recommended daily allowance. Just one large glass of wine contains 3 units and a pint of beer is 2.3 units. And the effects of over indulging on alcohol can be extremely detrimental to your health.
Top 5 alcohol related deaths by causes and age group, England and Wales, 2012
- For every two units drunk a day, your risk of bowel cancer goes up 8%
- Every year, alcohol causes around 4% of cancer cases in the UK
- In 2011, around 11 people died every day due to liver cancer
There are many ways in which you can effectively cut down your alcohol intake such as opting for a drink with lower alcohol content, setting yourself a budget to spend on drink and telling your friends that you’re trying to cut down. By cutting down, you can reap the benefits of better sleep, health and mood. For more information about improving your drinking habits, head to Drink Aware.
It just goes to show that by making a few small changes to your lifestyle, you can improve your health and change the way you think about your health. As the American entrepreneur, Jim Rohn once said, “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”