We’re told to eat better, exercise more, have a good night’s sleep and reduce stress. However, often these well-meaning suggestions are not so easily received – and even less easy to adopt if we don’t remember why we’re doing them. Today, we look at these four main components of a healthy lifestyle and how they can benefit your wellbeing.
Establish a good diet
Australian adults are advised to eat a balanced diet of wholefoods, consisting mostly of vegetables and grains. However, putting a good diet into practice isn’t always easy, sometimes overridden by cravings. A good diet is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, giving the body energy, reducing the risk of serious conditions such as obesity and diabetes, and keeping vital organs functioning properly. Researchers are even suggesting that some diets can help lower the risk of dementia. A healthy diet goes a long way in making you feel good, both inside and out – but you’ll be pleased to know that enjoying the occasional indulgence also plays a role in overall health.
The benefit of exercise speaks for itself. Regular physical activity helps to: keep weight at a healthy level, build strong bones, stay mobile, send oxygenated blood to organs, and ward off a range of illnesses. When it comes to establishing an exercise routine, it’s important to work in line with your interests and abilities. Australian adults aged 65 and over are recommended to do a combination of cardio and strength training exercise most days, to maintain health and mobility.
Sleep is crucial to your overall health. Without a good night’s sleep, your brain activity and hormonal balances are thrown out off whack. There’s even evidence to suggest that a lack of sleep can lead to serious health conditions such as obesity, cancer and mental health problems. The Sleep Health Foundation of Australia recommends that most people get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. However, older people may choose to nap during the day instead.
Meditate in the mornings
Meditation and mindfulness are a way of training the mind to enhance overall wellbeing. You don’t have to be a guru to feel the benefits of meditation. All you need is a few minutes of peace and quiet and an open mind. During meditation, focus your mind to concentrate on one particular part of yourself (your breath, body movement or a mantra that you like). In doing this, all other distractions will fall away, giving you a few moments of complete peace. The more you meditate, the more you will improve. You’ll also be more able to dispel stress and anxiety when it arises in everyday life.