8 Top Tips for a Healthy Lifestyle
If we’re honest with ourselves, most of us yearn to be healthier. No one wants to be unhealthy, it’s just healthiness isn’t a natural part of our modern lives—we must fit it in around the edges.
We live in a society dominated by sugary and fatty processed foods with little nutritional value. We’re also overworked, stressed out, and don’t get enough exercise. Not good.
We’re experiencing an unhealthy epidemic. But we’re also waking up to this fact. Healthy living information is more readily available than ever before, and people are starting to reject outdated, self-destructive ways of being.
You can get healthy too and feel happier than ever. It’s not easy, but more than worth it for a new lease of life.
Here are some top tips to kickstart your healthy lifestyle.
Eat a Varied, Colourful Diet
Paleo, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, fruitarian. There are many different diets, all of which claim dietary superiority. Whilst there are environmental reasons to follow some diets, the benefits of eating a well-balanced one, with varied foods is undeniable.
A well-balanced diet includes colourful fruit and veg, whole grains, good fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. If you think Mediterranean you’re off to a good start. Expect to lose weight, gain energy, and reduce the risk of some serious health concerns.
Drink More Water
Even if you’re not running around and weather isn’t hot, you’re still losing water. Through your breath and through sweat. When we think of sweat, we think of exercise. However, our bodies sweat all the time—just not the smelly sort. Plus, the biochemical processes we call “being alive” take place in and use water. Hence why it’s crucial to our survival.
Despite this it’s possible to be chronically dehydrated. This doesn’t mean you’re parched and desperate for a drink, more that you’re not taking in optimal amounts of water. A few good glasses a day should do it, whatever you’re up to. If you’re properly hydrated, your metabolic rate will increase, and your muscles and brain will function better.
This makes exercising easier and adds clarity to your thoughts.
Eat Moderate Portions
Not only, as a society, are we eating too many processed foods, we’re eating too much. Go to an antiques shop and ask them to show you some dinner plates. Yes, plates of the past were noticeably smaller—25cm in diameter was the norm in the 1950s. Our plates now are 28 cm across.
Sneakily, plate sizes have increased, and we’ve barely noticed. Due to our subconscious desire to fill them, we’ve started eating more without batting an eyelid.
A 2017 Government survey found that over a quarter of people in the UK were obese. In a world that promotes huge portions this isn’t surprising. The thing is much of it is psychological. Invest in some smaller plates, and your brain will still feel satisfied when you fill them…you’ll just be eating less.
Get Outside More
Due to many factors over the last century many of us have ended up working indoors. Mainly due to the rise of the internet and the use of computers in nearly all our professional processes. Can’t have a PC out in the rain.
Being indoors all the time has several negative effects on our health, both mental and physical. One of the main contributors is not getting enough vitamin D, which can only be obtained from direct sunlight. It helps not only strengthen our bones and reduce disease risks, but combats depression too.
Simply, it’s a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. We may have lost most of our fur, but we didn’t evolve to be inside constantly. Whenever you can, even if it’s only in your spare time get outside in the sunshine. (Grey days can also provide vitamin D).
Seek Beauty Sleep
With increase in digital technology and our 24/7 working culture, we barely seem to have time away from our screens. We lie in bed at night checking social media and emails. This artificial light, which provides us with no health benefits is tricking our brain into thinking its sunlight. This in turn is messing up our circadian rhythms.
Circadian rhythms are our biological day and night cycles. Simply, at nightfall our bodies produce chemicals which make us sleepy. When we banish the darkness with electric light (phones or other) we stop this. This in turn makes it harder to sleep and so we never truly rest.
Giving yourself a phone free bedtime, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and creating a dark sleeping environment all helps.
Take Up Exercising
Work stress, too much time indoors, unhealthy eating and lack of sleep are all contributing factors to the health crisis facing much of the West.
Often one contributing factor leads to another. Stressed out at work, get home, drink some beer to relax. Relax with another beer and perhaps another. Order a takeaway - because you can’t be bothered to cook.
What we should be doing to relax is exercise.
Dr Nick Cavill, a healthcare consultant says: "If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented.”
If you want to reduce the chance of major illnesses such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes type 2 and cancer by up to 50% and lower your chance of early death by up to 50% then you need to exercise.
It’s free and just 150 minutes a week can have a significant impact on your health. The easiest thing to do is walking or cycling but any moderate activity where you raise your heart rate, breathe heavy and get hot will do the trick.
Exercise can help boost self-esteem, sleep quality, mood and energy as well as reducing stress and depression. So what are you waiting for? Get moving now.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Alcohol continues to be the easiest to access and perhaps the most dangerous of all drugs.
Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK. And in England in 2017/18, there were an estimated 1.2 million hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption.
The drug is also thought to be a causal factor in more than 60 different health conditions including: mouth, throat, stomach, liver and breast cancers; high blood pressure, cirrhosis of the liver; and depression.
A glass of wine has the equivalent number of calories to an ice cream as well. So if you’re watching the waistline, cut the drinking.
For many people Dry January is a good challenge but for some just cutting down drinking every night to every other night would be beneficial. Getting below the NHS’ recommended 14 units per week is also a good target.
Benefits of reduced alcohol consumption can include a boost in energy, better skin, weight loss and better sleep as well as mitigating the poor health conditions listed above. Cutting down on the booze offers all-round boost to your health and wellbeing.
Regularly Visit a Spa
How often do we actually properly relax? When do we have the time to just stop doing and focus on our breathing, for example? Not often is the answer.
A trip to a spa gives you time to actually stop doing and relax. Taking the step to book a spa treatment or spa day is an act of rebellion to the hamster wheel of modern life. It’s a bold statement that you want to get off and stop.
A visit to a spa is your time to relax. Completely. It’s good for us… and necessary. Even if you don’t add in all the health and wellness benefits of hyro spa experiences, rejuvenating massages, detoxifying saunas and steam rooms, just the simple act of visiting the spa to have time to focus on ourselves is critical for our health and wellbeing. We would say that. But we know it to be true. Just ask some of happy customers!