The level of obesity in the UK is in the news at the moment, following the introduction of new measures by the government, concerning junk food and how it’s sold to consumers.
This, compounded with the fact we’re living with the constant threat of contracting Covid-19, means thoughts about how to maintain good health are at the forefront of our minds.
Good hygiene and frequent sanitisation of our environment constitutes one factor. Boosting our immune system is another. Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is a third.
We need to place a greater emphasis on our health, that’s a given. But how do you achieve a ‘healthy lifestyle’? Here are our tips:
Human beings are two-thirds water. Keeping hydrated is an important aspect of good health. Whilst drinking coffee, tea or juice will quench your thirst and count as part of your fluid intake, doctors recommend drinking water for optimum benefit. Aim to consume six to eight glasses a day.
Take regular exercise
Perhaps this is a no-brainer. Our bodies are designed to move. The adage ‘if you don’t use it, you lose it’ comes into play here; if you only move from sofa to bed and back again, before long, your muscles will forget what they’re supposed to do. Whilst some people are dedicated gym buddies, not everyone enjoys working out; a short walk every day will go some way towards maintaining your agility, burning off some calories, and keeping you in shape.
Cut down on sugary and fatty foods
Sugar and fat have been our enemies for years now. Calorie-laden treats may taste good, but too much indulgence will eventually affect your health and your weight. Just keep them as a treat every now and again.
Monitor your salt intake
Like sugar, too much salt can be a bad thing. It can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of serious illness, such as stroke or heart disease. Food items’ packaging clearly states how much salt the food contains, and how much of your recommended daily intake you’ve consumed.
Start the day as you mean to go on, with good choices. Whilst it may be inconvenient or a chore to factor breakfast into your morning routine, it will prevent you from overindulging on calories mid-morning when your blood sugar levels start to slump. Choose porridge or something high in fibre for breakfast as you’ll feel fuller for longer.
Eat a variety of foods
There are many diets out there that restrict certain food groups. Most health professionals recommend a balanced diet that includes all the different food types. This ensures you’ll absorb a healthy level of the right nutrients and give your body all it needs to function well.
Get plenty of sleep
Your body restores and repairs itself when you’re in ‘deep sleep’ mode. If you skimp on sleep, or your sleep is often disturbed, your body will let you know that this is not good for you. A late night here and there is fine…when it becomes the norm you may have a problem.
Control your portions
What you eat is important, as is the amount you eat. You may think you’re enjoying a low-fat meal, but if it’s spilling off the plate, you may be consuming many more calories than you think. Overeating can make you sluggish and it’s obviously the precursor to weight gain. There are a number of resources online that will help you determine what an acceptable portion looks like.
Live for today
Eating well and taking regular exercise may be the aim, but if your stress levels are through the roof, you’ll still be putting your body through the mill. No one wishes they’d worked more when on their death bed. All we can guarantee is the present moment – we can’t do anything about our past and we have no idea what’s around the corner; don’t chase tomorrow or the next day or the next day so much that you forget to live now.
It seems silly to remind you to breathe…after all, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be alive long enough to read this. That said, how many times a day do you breathe deeply? When we take deep breaths we get more oxygen into our blood, we feel calmer and we become more aware of what’s around us. The practice of mindfulness is beneficial to our mental health - it focuses on deep breathing and being solely aware of the sounds, sights and smells of our environment. It’s the science of simply ‘being’. Improving your physical health is only half the battle, you should pay as much attention to how you think and feel.
Even small changes can be beneficial. If it feels overwhelming to do the above all at once, just pick a couple and implement them into your daily routine until they become second nature…then choose another couple.
Health is today’s real wealth. You can always make and lose money, but if your health is seriously impacted, money isn’t much help
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