Health is a huge topic. Even though we’ve access to the very best food, exercise equipment and information, the modern lifestyle has left us with the unhealthiest generations in memory. Obesity, heart disease, diabetes and other side effects of a sedentary lifestyle are leaving us overweight and in bad health.
The information out there is confusing. Everyone with an Instagram account and a six-pack is giving out diet and exercise advice, promoting supplements and fad diets. This all or nothing approach is out of reach of most people, it’s sometimes easier just to give up and go back to the bag of crisps.
You can make huge, life-changing improvements to your health and wellbeing by taking a common-sense approach. No fads, no need to live in the gym or become a marathon runner. Arm yourself with some knowledge and get cracking.
Seek Help For Any Acute Problems
If you are dealing with any serious health problems like depression, substance abuse, alcoholism or you think you might have an eating disorder, then you need to seek specialist help. Your GP may recommend specialist treatment, alcohol detox or therapy. By seeking out the help you need, you are taking the first steps to improve your health.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Just like your news, you should only get advice on health and fitness from trustworthy sources, especially online. Social media is filled with body beautiful people who make their money from looking good and promoting products.
The average person doesn’t have the time to spend hours a day on their body. There’s nothing wrong with being inspired, but make sure that you’re being realistic.
Also, while being overweight will put you at risk of health problems, being skinny is no guarantee of good health either.
Imagine Yourself Healthy
Visualisation is a very powerful tool. Think about what you would like to work towards. Yes, you probably want to lose weight and look better but try and set some other goals too. You might want to be able to run about with your kids or grandkids (where do they get all that energy), run a 5K.
Educate Yourself About Food & Nutrition
Have you heard the saying “abs are made in the kitchen”? Diet is extremely important to our overall health. The science is simple, to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume.
Try to think of your diet in broader terms, it should be something that nourishes and sustains you, keeps you healthy and that you enjoy. Instead of jumping from one fad diet to another, restricting foods and making yourself miserable, try to create a diet based on whole, healthy foods that you can stick to long term.
A diet shouldn’t just be something that you do to drop a few pounds. Research has shown that the Mediterranean diet, rich in fish, vegetables and healthy fats, is one of the healthiest in the world when it comes to longevity.
Being overweight can lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke and a whole host of other things too, which is why it’s important you maintain a healthy weight.
Again, don’t compare yourself to celebrities or people on social media, find out what the ideal weight range is for your height, and work towards that goal. Calculating your BMI is a great way to see where you are starting from.
Cholesterol is needed by the body to build new healthy cells. Too much cholesterol can build up in your blood as fatty deposits, increasing your risk of heart disease.
You can have your cholesterol checked quite cheaply at pharmacies or buy a testing kit that you can send off for the results.
To reduce your cholesterol, or keep it at a healthy level, it’s advisable to:
Eat more foods like fruits and vegetables, nuts, wholegrain rice, bread and pasta and oily fish.
As always, you’ll have to reduce your intake of certain other (often delicious) foods such as cakes, biscuits, full-fat cheeses, butter and fatty meats.
Being active is essential for a healthy life. The NHS recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
The best form of exercise is one that you can stick with and enjoy doing regularly such as walking, swimming, cycling or team sports.
Find ways to move more in your everyday life. Basic things like walking short journeys, taking the stairs instead of the lift, you can even work up a sweat with some vigorous housework.