5th March 2018
Your body's well being is essential to feel good and most people feel that they could be doing more to improve their health. Here are 7 simple ways that you can adapt your day to day routine to make a real change, try them out-they couldn't be easier!
Eating well is vital to any healthy body and is imperative for maintaining an ideal body weight. Five portions of fruit and veg is the recommended daily intake, although ideally you should be aiming to ingest as many portions as you can (preferably nearer 10!) -a breakfast smoothie or vegetable juice can help you get your numbers up as well as swapping any snacks for a piece of fruit or veg-not only will this help with the vitamins and minerals that your body requires, it also ensures you are getting your necessary daily fibre intake. Essential fatty acids in the form of Omega 3 and 6 oils are another important factor in your diet, you should aim to consume 4 times as much omega 3 as you do 6. As the name suggests, these oils are essential to our body but unfortunately, we cannot manufacture them. Good food sources of Omega 3 include flaxseeds, eggs, oily fish and walnuts, these will help immunity and lower blood pressure. Omega 6 can be found in most vegetable oils, poultry, cereals and wheat-these will help to lower blood cholesterol and will support the skin. (For more on cholesterol and blood pressure, see number 7). Your diet should also include a source of fermented foods such as yoghurt, kefir or sauerkraut, these are useful sources of probiotics and will support the good bacteria in your gut, boosting your immunity.
Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day, water flushes out toxins and improves skin and organ function. Fill and keep a 2 litre jug in the fridge or on your desk to remind you to keep slugging it back!
Exercise helps in weight loss, dealing with stress, it releases endorphins (those feel good happy hormones!), boosts your confidence, improves your metabolism and sleep quality, reduces your risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, depression, dementia as well as some cancers. Just 10 minutes of intense activity a day is enough to release endorphins and put a smile on your face-add a 30 minute walk or bike ride to that and that's your weekly recommendation of 150 minutes sorted!-The bad news is that housework counts too!
Your brain also needs exercise too so do a Sudoku , crossword or 500 piece puzzle to help ward off dementia and brain shrinkage.
Sleep is vital as it's the body's natural recovery method and to be honest, you're probably not getting enough of it! The average adult needs roughly 8 hours of sleep per night, by going to bed by 10.45pm or 12.15, your chances of getting 5-6 times the 90 minute sleep cycle that your body need to rest, repair tissue and produce essential growth factors and hormones.
Sleeping well can make you a better parent (better mood, less grouchy) more attractive (tissue repair+well rested = better skin, sleeping also aids in weight control) boosts your libido (hormonal production) and could even help you in your job (reducing stress and stops you over-using the adrenaline to keep going will stop burn out).
Stress gets to us all at one time or another, but identifying the source of stress and finding a way to deal with it can help you to cope. Doing 10-20 minutes of yoga and/or meditation each day (YouTube is a good, free source) are good coping strategies by focusing on breathing and relaxing, not only will you get a reduction in anxiety but both of these activities have been linked to other multiple health benefits.
Trying to be thankful and shifting the focus to what you do have, rather than the things that you don’t, will automatically change your attitude to stressful situations and make your life better! Try going the whole day without complaining, or criticising-you’ll notice how often we all really do moan about the small stuff!
Having a good, long laugh is just wonderful for your well-being. It actually boosts your immune system, lowers blood pressure and relaxes muscles for up to 45 minutes, post chuckle. It also utilises 15 facial muscles and works out your abdominals, shoulders and back! Get together with a good friend who has a similar sense of humour, watch a comedy, or just try seeing the funny side of a silly situation. If you are still finding it hard to have a giggle, try ‘fake’ laughing for a minute – you’ll find it’s really hard to stop once you start!
Okay, so maybe this one doesn’t sound like the most fun ever but knowing what's going on inside your body and being able to act before any disease process develops is a sensible health approach to take!
Cholesterol and blood pressure are both medical biomarkers for premature deaths, heart disease and strokes, the incidences of which could be avoided and costs to the NHS greatly reduced if these were picked up. 60% of Brits today have elevated levels of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) narrowing their arteries and most of them don’t have a clue about it, there are high levels of undetected raised blood pressure too. Often there are no symptoms for either of these issues so it’s easy to ignore, but these days cholesterol tests and blood pressure monitoring are available at the chemist if you didn't want to visit the GP or you could utilise the free health checks that NHS offer for all aged between 40-74 which would give you a more comprehensive screen.