You’ll need more than just an apple a day to keep the doctor away.
But practising healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle will make a big difference not just to your overall health and well being but how you feel.
The following tips are really easy to follow and will put some extra spring in your step so you get the most out of life every single day.
Some of them are obvious, others not so much
Stretching before bed – this is great to relax the body before sleep. It relieves tension in the muscles, gets the blood flowing and helps you fall asleep a whole lot faster.
Go to bed early – you need eight hours sleep every night to function at your peak and ward off long-term health issues. These may include eating disorders, weight gain, weakened immune systems, memory loss and moodiness. It will also stop you looking old before your time.
Wake up early – get into the habit of a regular sleeping pattern and waking up at a reasonable hour rather than regular sleep ins. It helps to maximise your health and energy levels throughout the day. A good sleep routine is one of the most important healthy habits to consider.
Water – Push that coffee aside. Water should be the first thing you drink in the morning. Properly hydrating the body after eight hours without water is incredibly important. And keep the water flowing. The average male needs 3.7 litres per day, females 2.7 litres. Dehydration can creep up on you without realising it, triggering food cravings, headaches and fatigue.
Breakfast – Heading to work without eating or partaking in one of those non-breakfast diets is a no-no. You’ll eat less during the day if you start it right with a healthy breakfast. And don’t rush it with a piece of toast as you race out the door. Take some time at breakfast. Eat sitting down. It aides digestion and reduces stress.
Eat vegetables – Remember what your Mum said. Eat at least three servings per day. They are rich in vitamins, minerals and fibre, translating into a 20% reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. While you’re at it, consider going the whole hog and increasing the plant-based foods in your diet while reducing meat intake. Your body really will love you for it.
Green tea instead of coffee – It’s not easy being green, but once you make the switch, the antioxidants in green tea will have a wonderful anti-inflammatory effect all over your body. It will help you lose weight and reduce your risk of cancer. You might even save $25 a week.
Reduce sugar intake – If you have to have that sugar hit at the end of dinner, try opting for fresh fruit rather than that sickly sweet dessert. Sugar really is a nasty and reducing your intake will help you lose weight and guard against a whole gamut of diseases.
Reduce processed foods – Processed foods come with a whole lots of additives such as sugar, fats and salt and that’s just the start of it. When eaten in excess, they can lead to all sorts of serious health issues.
Limit or eliminate alcohol – Another one to help you lose weight, cutting down on the booze will help you feel a whole lot better as well as improving your sleep. It will also reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease and cancer.
Find time for exercise – whether you like walking, jogging, riding, swimming or going to the gym, it is so important to make time for daily exercise. At least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity per day is recommended. If you’re not used to exercising much, getting intentional with walking is the easiest place to start. You’d be surprised how much of a difference it will make to your overall health and wellbeing.
Head outside – kill two birds with one stone by exercising outdoors. There is no substitute for fresh air and you’ll get a free Vitamin D hit while you’re at it, giving you an extra layer of protection against coughs and colds. A simply walk around the park can have a great calming effect on the mind.
Build muscle strength – if it’s raining outside, use that time to turn some of that fat into muscle. Strength training exercises are great for your heart and build up your bones. Push-ups, sit-ups and squats can all be done without any gym gear. Lifting some gentle weights is a great practice too.
Remember your balance – balance is important to help avoid injuries and remain mobile. It promotes muscle tone and heart health in all ages. Consider tai chi or yoga classes to help you stay on your feet as well as calm your mind.
Ride a bike – need some bread and milk? Take the bike instead of pushing more exhaust fumes into the atmosphere. You’ll do the environment a favour and more importantly you’ll get the heart pumping and do yourself one too. But don’t forget your helmet!
General health and wellbeing
Quit smoking – you’ve probably tried to give up before and failed. Try again! It’s never too late to start repairing the damage caused by cigarettes.
Wear sunscreen – even if it looks overcast, get into the habit of wearing sunscreen daily. You live in one of the highest risk areas on Earth. You’ll save yourself a world of trouble and pain later in life.
Get offline – turn off or mute your phone, get off the web and learn to relax again. That constant stimulation is stressful and can be the cause of a whole host of mental health problems. This is particularly important before bed time. Web browsing keeps you awake when you need your sleep.
Read a book – now you’ve dumped the tablet before bed, pick up a book. It reduces stress and is a wonderful lubricant for your cognitive function. It also helps ensure a good night’s sleep.
Learn to cook – cooking should be seen as a great relaxing and rewarding pastime rather than a chore. And you’ll have the added benefit of being able to monitor exactly what is going into your body.
Book an appointment
Following as many of these healthy habits as possible, will help you live a long and happy life.
But there still is no substitute for regular check-ups with your GP.
Your doctor can talk to you more about a healthy lifestyle and help pick up any warning signs that need to be followed up.
Regular health checks should become more frequent with age.