We’ve all experienced those moments of resolve where we decide to make extensive lifestyle adjustments. We’ll stop smoking! We’ll join the gym and lose weight! Increasing amounts of research state, however, that continuous health is, in fact, based more on smaller changes to your diet, exercise regime, and stress management. It’s what the experts are calling “lifestyle medicine”.
The following are tips curated by Mind and Body Counseling Associates, Reno, Nevada, from experts including James Rouse, N.D., Christina Reiter, M.S., R.D., Rick Olderman, M.S., P.T., and Pablo Quintana, M.D.
#1 Maintain a Positive Mindset
According to research, a healthy, positive mindset improves your immune system and increases general health. This coincides with your attitude towards food as well. A healthy outlook to eating is based on appreciating flavor, eating to fulfilment and enhancing energy as opposed to only concentrating on potential weight gain.
#2 Consume More Fruit and Veg
We know we need to eat more vegetables, but do we ever stop to consider if we are actually eating enough? Experts recommend aiming for five servings of vegetables per day. What’s more, focus on the consumption of the ones with the boldest colors, i.e.: broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, etc. These are said to be the most beneficial. Alternatively, purchase the ‘finger food’ versions, for example: carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, dried fruits, etc.
#3 The “Five-Meal Ideal”
You may or may not have realised that the timing, the amount, and the contents of food you consume effects both your metabolism and energy. The “five-meal ideal” (per day) assists in weight and stress management, increasing concentration and avoiding cravings.
#4 Exercise Every Day
According to research, exercising on a daily basis decreases all signs of ageing. Furthermore, studies show that even 10 minutes of being active has an impact. If you’re not into exercise, try signing up for an event that involves some sort of activity and socialising. Also, be sure to stretch before and after exercising as this helps avoid injuries and ensures free movement as you age. Finally, be sure to keep in mind the risk of overtraining. Your body can plateau if you don’t allow it enough time to rest and rehabilitate. So, grant yourself permission to take it easy and don’t overdo it!
#5 Get Enough Sleep
Typically, we need around seven hours or more of sleep per night. If we don’t get this, we increase our chances of a heart attack or stroke. If you struggle to sleep, try relaxation techniques such as meditation and / or yoga. Alternatively, consume a small amount of oatmeal, cherries, or chamomile tea before bed. Darken your room and write down any stresses before lying down.
#6 Maintain a Balanced Diet
Ensure that your diet consists of a balance of low-calorie food, nutrient-dense foods and food that are calorie dense but nutrient poor. Restrict saturated fats and trans fats and try to consume foods abundant in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Furthermore, exchange white bread, rice, crackers, and pasta for healthier whole grain alternatives; utilize skinless chicken and leaner cuts of meats; and replace one sugary drink per day with a large glass of water.
#7 Consume Food Rather Than Supplements
It needs to be said that supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet. While experts do suggest taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement, each needs to be thoroughly examined for purity and safety.
#8 Take Small Steps
One of the biggest obstacles in the way of attempting to improve our health is feeling overwhelmed by the countless methods available in which to do so. The best way to go about it, however, is to start with one small, seemingly insignificant, negative habit and transform it into a healthy, positive one. You can then move on to bigger transformations from there. Also, try to identify what’s stopping you from improving your health, then look into the basis of each reason. For example, if you believe you don’t have time to exercise, that’s obviously based on the assumption that exercise is going to take lot of time.
#9 Surround Yourself with Health-Conscious People
If you’re trying to be more healthy, but the people around you maintain unhealthy habits, it’s going to make it even harder on you. The healthiest people are those who surround themselves with healthy people. Better yet, get your friends and family involved when you exercise or plan to eat better.
#10 Check Your Posture and Ergonomics
Every now and then, when you’re at your desk or on your phone, take a second to consider your posture. If you realise that you’re slouching, straighten your back, tuck in your stomach and place your feet flat on the ground. Furthermore, if you work at a computer, make sure the ergonomics of your workstation helps prevent back and neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain and other occupational injuries.