There's no better time to start living a healthier lifestyle than right now and there are a number of small changes you can make which will allow you to feel better and enjoy more things in your day-to-day life. Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling.
Give up smoking
We've recently highlighted the benefits of giving up smoking and the health risks linked to it. If you're a smoker and looking to give up, it will be one of the best things you can do for your own health. Find out more here.
Control your weight
Your weight is specific to you so try not to compare yourself to others. If you are overweight, you're increasing the risk of heart disease and other complications such as diabetes. Think about what you're eating and drinking - are your snacks and treats becoming more habitual than necessary? Try supplementing a sweet snack or packet of crisps for fruit or ask yourself if you need it at all. Reduce large portion sizes and aim for the five portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Avoid eating quickly as this is how you can over-eat and feel bloated. Cut back on the alcohol to ensure you're having at least a few alcohol-free nights per week and up the intake of water to keep hydrated.
More on food
What you eat and how it's prepared impacts your lifestyle and you should be able to enjoy all food types in moderation. Aim to reduce saturated fats and switch out fatty meats for leaner cuts. Oily fish (fresh tuna, mackerel etc.) are excellent sources of protein and omega-3 fats which help protect against heart disease so eating a couple of portions per week could be a small step to a healthier lifestyle. Too much salt can also be detrimental to your health; check the labels on food packets and look out for reduced salt items. Nutrition matters and ensuring you have a balanced diet should help control your weight and impact positively on your sleep. Check your diet choices and see if your meals are covering your vitamin requirements and if not, maybe vitamin and mineral supplements could be included, but remember to check the labels to make sure any supplements are ok for you to take.
It can be challenging to get the exercise we'd like at the moment, given the pandemic and social distance guidelines; however, if you can manage 20-30 minutes of movement a day - stretching, walking, yoga, cycling even (just a few examples) - it will start to make you feel better both physically and mentally. You will find that it helps to control your weight and makes for a healthy routine to focus your mind.
Don't underestimate the impact of rest and sleep. Most adults need around 7-8 hours of continual, quality sleep each night. A restless night or regularly sleeping poorly will impact your daily routine whereas good quality sleep will make you more focused and can even help you lose weight. Many people brush continual sleeping difficulties under the carpet and accept it - if you're struggling with sleep, talk to your doctor.
Healthy living shouldn't be a chore and can be really enjoyable. It can be a complete lifestyle change for some so don't feel like everything has to happen overnight. Making a plan for a few small changes can be the first steps to a healthier lifestyle so you can love the way you live.