It seems that everywhere you turn there’s someone with a revolutionary exercise programme or a ‘magical’ fad-diet that will change your life and improve your health. The truth, however, is that achieving better health is no secret. All it takes is to follow these five simple lifestyle changes and, most importantly, making a commitment to improving your health.
When it comes to exercise, a little goes a long way for your overall health, and ensuring that you’re moving around during the day is fundamental to keeping your muscles and bones healthy. An easy way to do this is to start walking everywhere and take the stairs where possible. Moving and lifting weighted objects around is also beneficial.
The simplest way to eat healthily is to focus on eating ‘real’ foods. Your body needs fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and some fats to run at its optimum level. Eat a combination of plants and meats, with an emphasis on unprocessed whole foods, which are as close to their natural forms as possible. Avoid processed foods and drinks with sugar, such as soft drinks and juices. Drink plenty of water every day.
Better health isn’t all about diet and exercise. Your stress levels also play a large role in keeping your body and mind healthy, and in leading a happy life. While stress is a natural part of life, too much of it can raise the cortisol levels in the brain, increasing junk-food cravings which may lead to weight-gain. Stress is also a contributor to depression and can trigger long-term changes in your brain, leading to anxiety disorders and mood swings.
Stress can be managed in a number of ways, from taking deep breaths when you’re feeling overwhelmed, doing calming exercise such as yoga, or seeing a specialist if your stress becomes unmanageable.
Never underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on your health, and it has been linked with many diseases, including obesity and heart disease. The Sleep Health Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine quality hours of sleep each night. Ensure that you sleep well by:
- Going to bed and getting up at regular times to tune your body clock.
- Turning off all electronics and dimming the lights 30 minutes before bedtime.
- Avoiding eating a large meal before going to bed.
Read more sleeping tips at The Sleep Health Foundation.
Stick with it
Better health is not a fad-diet or a temporary lifestyle change. It is a conscious decision that you make to commit to a healthy lifestyle, which you can sustain long-term. Better health is a choice you make for yourself and a goal that you work towards for life.
Read more at Authority Nutrition.