As a society, we have become more health conscious than ever before and as individuals, we are keen to keep fit, eat well, and living a healthier lifestyle. However, with more scientific research out there now than we had 100 years ago, there can be a lot of conflicting advice on what actually is good for us and how to best look after our bodies. So, it is no surprise that if you are trying to turn over a new leaf and live healthier, it can be difficult to know where to start.
But it is fair to say that living a healthy lifestyle all of the time can be a challenge, especially when you would rather curl up and watch your favourite show than head out to your HIIT class. So, we have put together our top 5 tips on how to look after yourself and living a healthier lifestyle.
Eat a balanced diet
We know what you are thinking. As soon as you hear the words ‘balanced diet’ you automatically think of a strict diet made up wholly of salads. However, a balanced diet does not have to be boring, and by being imaginative with your food you can give your body the fuel it needs while still enjoying what you eat.
When it comes to eating a balanced diet, our top tip would be to plan your meals in advance so that you always have something yummy but nutritious to tuck into. The minute you are not organised with your food, you can find yourself turning to convenience food, and convenience food is rarely good for you. Instead, by planning your meals and batch cooking in advance, you will always have a balanced meal ready to go.
You should aim to include a mixture of carbohydrates, protein, and foods rich in vitamins and minerals in your diet. But at the same time, you shouldn’t be too restrictive with what you eat.
If you are too strict with the foods that you eat, you will find it much more difficult to stick to your food plan. Instead, you should eat as well as you can, include five portions of fruit and vegetables into your daily meals, but don’t feel guilty about giving into those cravings from time to time. We also recommend that you avoid eating foods that are processed or high in sugar as this can leave you feeling sluggish and tired, making physical exercise feel impossible.
Exercise and rest days
We all know how important it is to include physical activity into your daily routine. However, it can be difficult to find the motivation to head out for a run after a long day at the office. But when we talk about exercise remember that there is something for everyone out there that you can enjoy while also getting your body moving. Even if a trip to the gym isn’t for you, you can do an exercise workout video from home, or head out with a friend for a few laps of the local park. Anything that gets your heart rate up contributes towards a healthier lifestyle.
Exercise doesn’t only have a positive impact on your physical health and help you maintain a healthy weight, but also works wonders for your mental health. When we exercise our body releases chemicals, called endorphins, which triggers a positive feeling throughout your body and can help to boost your mood.
However, it is important that you take it steady when it comes exercising as part of a healthy lifestyle as doing too much can have a serious negative impact on your overall heath. Therefore, it is important that every time you exercise you are taking the time to allow your muscles to recover. An intense workout takes a lot out of our body, and can even cause micro tears in your muscles, which is why muscle recovery equipment is an essential.
For example, stretching out on a foam roller post-workout can help to ease muscle soreness and tightness, speed up recovery, and prevent future injuries. What’s the point of living a healthier lifestyle then causing serious damage to your muscles because you didn’t give them the opportunity to recover?
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
Just like food and sleep, regular water intake and staying hydrated is something that our body and mind needs to survive. However, evidence suggests that as many as 90 percent of us do not drink enough water on a daily basis. It is recommended that you drink around 2 litres of water a day, and while that may sound like a lot, once you get into the habit, it’s much easier than you think.
It is also important to be aware that you can boost your water intake by including more fruits and vegetables in your diet. Water-rich foods include watermelon, cucumber, lettuce, and courgettes.
Cut down on alcohol
While it can be really tempting to wind down after a busy day at work with a glass of wine or a cold beer, drinking too much alcohol can be harmful to your body and mental health. When it comes to drinking alcohol, moderation is essential as binge drinking can cause significant long term chronic health conditions.
Get enough good quality sleep
While a bad night’s sleep may leave you feeling irritable and frustrated, not getting the rest we need at night can also have significant health problems. It is recommended that we try and get 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night, while also trying to keep to a similar routine of what time we go to bed and what time we wake up each morning.
Our body relies heavily on getting the rest we need as it provides to maintain a healthy mental and physical health, and the sleep we have has a huge influence on how you feel while you are awake. While we sleep our brain is working to maintain physical health while also supporting healthy brain function, which is why you can find yourself feeling forgetful and confused when you are tired. Sleep is also an essential for development and growth in children and teens.
So be sure to practice good sleep hygiene, by getting enough rest each night, and getting your body clock into a regular sleep-wake cycle. Feeling alert and energised instead of tired and low in energy will make eating well and regularly exercising a whole lot easier.
By changing your daily routine, taking care of your body, and being mindful of the food and drink you put into your system, you can live a longer, happier, and living a healthier lifestyle.