5 Simple Lifestyle Changes That Can Positively Affect Your Health
When last did you do a health check? Can you remember? Would you know if you had high blood pressure or cholesterol? Do you sometimes struggle to find the energy to walk upstairs?
As you get older, your body functions a little less optimally than it did the year before. Unfortunately, we can’t stop the ageing process, but we can slow it down. That’s why it’s so important to take care of your body.
And you can do this by making healthy lifestyle choices. We’ve put together a list of five simple changes that can have dramatic results on your health. Let’s dive in.
Step one: Start walking
We all know that regular exercise is vital to overall health. It helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, which can lead to heart diseases. It improves brain performance and productivity, and it’s a great way to destress.
But many equate exercise with playing a sport, going for a run or to the gym. It doesn’t have to be. Just walking 30-minutes a day can positively affect our health; here’s why.
- It can help you to lose those unwanted inches. Not only do you look better, but you feel better.
- It can increase your cardiovascular fitness, which is so important because it means that you’re not putting strain on the heart to pump blood through your body.
- It strengthens bones and boosts muscle, which is necessary to stabilise the body, especially as we get older.
- It can also help you to sleep better.
Best of all, walking doesn’t cost a thing. You can do it anywhere, anytime.
Take the stairs instead of using the elevator and escalator. Get off the bus stop one block early. Form a walking group, invite your friends and chat about the highs and lows of your day. Make it something you look forward to.
Step two: Switch up your diet
It takes on average two months to form a habit, and unfortunately, most of us don’t last that long on a diet. So instead of drastically changing what you eat, we want to encourage you to make small changes each month. This way, it feels less like you’re restricting yourself.
- Exchange white bread for low GI or gluten-free. While gluten-free products can be costly, removing gluten from your diet can positively influence your health, especially if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome.
- Add fruit such as blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, and gooseberries instead of chocolate, crisps, and sweets. These juicy treats give you the sweet kick you’ve been craving and are a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, fibre, and antioxidants. Add them to your breakfast cereal or as a snack during the day.
- Eat more dark leafy green vegetables and less red meat. Broccoli, spinach, and turnips are a great source of calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate. If you absolutely can’t go without meat, choose more lean meats like chicken and fish.
And if you’re pressed for time, consider purchasing Jamie Oliver’s 30-Minute Meals, or simply type quick healthy meals into Google. You’ll find a variety of really delicious and nutritious meals that can be cooked in no time at all.
You might even be surprised by how many ingredients you already have in your pantry.
Step three: Hydrate regularly
Love it or hate it, drinking enough water is vital to sustaining a healthy body. It helps to regulate your body temperature, ensures your organs function optimally, keeps those joints well lubricated, and can prevent infections.
We advise you to drink at least two litres of water a day. This can be really hard to do, especially if you don’t like the taste of water.
To make it a little more palatable, consider adding lemon, mint, or cucumber with ice to your drinking water. It’s delicious.
Step four: Supplement your diet
While you can get most of your essential vitamins and minerals from a balanced diet, it never hurts to supplement with a multi-vitamin.
Not only does this give your body that added boost it needs to ward off colds and flu, but it’s also a great way to maintain or improve your overall health.
Taking supplements also helps to:
- Address dietary deficiencies.
- Eliminate unwanted toxins from your body.
So next time you’re browsing the pharmacy aisles, add a multi-vitamin to your shopping basket and make sure to take it each day for the best results.
Step five: Unplug each day
The health of your brain is just as important as the rest of your body. We lead incredibly stressful lives, and there’s this pressure always to be switched on. We can’t go an hour without checking our cell phones or seeing what’s happening on television.
The thing is, you’re not taking care of your mental health. You’re just adding to the constant noise in your mind, and this can cause anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
It’s time to switch off. Leave work stresses at work. Forget about the state of the economy or what’s happening in the rest of the world.
Unplug your laptop. Leave your phone in your handbag and spend time with your kids. Walk your dog. Do a little gardening. Pick up that book you’ve wanted to read. Put on some music and unwind.
Take time to relax. You’ll be amazed by how good you feel.
In concluding, start with small changes
Good health is a journey. It doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not an easy change. You need to be realistic. There will be good days and bad ones. Some weeks you’ll be full of energy and look forward to going for walks or cooking healthy meals. Other weeks you’ll be tired, and you’ll need to dig deep to stay on track.
The key is not to be too tough on yourself. If you skip a day’s exercise or miss your water intake, accept it, but don’t dwell on it. Instead, turn your focus to the coming day and what you want to do differently.
Remember to start with small changes and gradually introduce new habits. Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate any milestones you hit. Reduced cholesterol, weight loss, low blood pressure, you name it. Own these achievements. You’ve earned it.