Lying on the sofa, watching yet another box-set and munching your way through a family-size box of doughnuts may put a smile on your face short-term. But it’s not going to do you any good in the long-term. Whilst the odd treat doesn’t hurt, a sedentary lifestyle will eventually catch up on you.
There’s no magic formula to getting and staying healthy. Despite the fad diets, latest superfoods and fitness fashions that crop up on an almost daily basis, living a healthy lifestyle requires you to live simply and mindfully.
The Blueprint for a Healthy Life
Regular exercise + balanced diet + water + rest + positive outlook = good health.
Some exercise is better than no exercise at all! Get off the train or bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. Take Fido for an extra-long stroll (heck, if you don’t have your own dog just borrow one)! Leave your car at home and go by bike.
Try and instil activity into your everyday life, and once you feel comfortable with that build up the intensity. The more you do the better you will feel (we promise). If you’re not a fan of the gym look for a physical hobby that will help you get fit and put a smile on your face e.g. join a running group, take up salsa or get into a team-sport (from football to rugby and hockey – there’s bound to be something for you).
A Balanced Diet
Eating the right foods can be tricky, especially if you have a busy lifestyle. If you’re leaving the house minus breakfast and then raiding the biscuit box by 10am you’re really not doing yourself any favours. Fad diets might help your shift a few pounds quickly, but they are very difficult to sustain.
The best way forward is to opt for a healthy, balanced diet. Where possible limit your intake of fatty, sugary and processed food (unless you don’t mind risking the possible side effects, including diabetes, weight gain, tooth decay and heart disease, amongst other nasty treats)!
Instead, aim for a wide variety of nutritious food:
· Cereals and grains (wholegrain in particular), nuts and seeds.
· Veggies and beans.
· Dairy (reduce fat milk, cheese etc).
· Lean meat, poultry, tofu and eggs.
One of the easiest ways to improve and maintain your health is to drink more water. Water is vital, and to maximise your well-being you should aim to consume around eight glasses every day. Drink enough to:
· Boost energy levels and your metabolism.
· Maintain concentration and focus.
· Maintain body temperature.
· Avoid constipation and heartburn.
· Reduce the risk of migraines, ulcers, kidney stones and cardiovascular issues.
· Ensure your organs work properly!
Rest & Relaxation
We’re pleased to say that getting plenty of rest and relaxation is also considered to be good for you! Are you getting enough shut-eye? Ideally you should be aiming for around seven to eight hours of quality snooze time every night. Sleep provides you with much-needed relaxation after a busy day. It also gives your body a chance to repair any damage from exposure to toxins and stress.
You should also factor in enough time for taking a break from the daily grind. Make a cuppa and read the paper, go for a walk in the sunshine, stroke your cat! Remember to give your brain (and body) a well-deserved rest.
You might not be able to plaster a smile on your face every day, but maintaining a positive outlook can do wonders for your mood and mental well-being.
Life will throw you a curve-ball now and again, but it’s up to you how you respond to that. You can bemoan your bad luck and wallow in self-pity, or you can pick yourself up and deal with the situation. Surround yourself with positive people and resolve to make the most of every minute. Onwards and upwards we say!
The Benefits of Healthy Living
There’s a long list of things we should do more of and things we no doubt should do less of. It’s not always easy to do all of these things, but it’s worth the effort. There are numerous benefits associated with living a healthy lifestyle:
· Improve your mood
· Shift excess weight and stay trim
· Reduce risk of illness and disease
· Boost energy levels
· Improve your skin, hair and nails.
Embrace “Lagom är bäst.”
On paper, it looks easy. But we all know that living well takes willpower, effort and self-discipline. Temptation lurks around every corner, from your favourite full-fat latte for elevenses, to the cakes that appear in the staff room (Dave from accounts is fifty, hurrah)!
The good news is that you don’t have to cut out all of the “bad” stuff, but you do need to learn how to embrace moderation. We have the perfect adage for this, the Swedish proverb “Lagom är bäst.” Which translates to “The right amount is best”, or better still “Enough is as good as a feast.” If we all adopted this approach we could be on our way to a healthier, happier life!