The Smaller Steps toward Living a Healthier Lifestyle

June 23, 2015

Source: Craig Allen

Changing the well-established ways we eat, drink, and look after health can seems like a monumental task. When we’ve grown quite comfortable with our lifestyles, the only thing that can help us change is a lasting and ongoing effort to do things differently. We all have different moments of realisation in our lives, a sudden moment of clarity can tell us that we need to start making changes.

These could be massive dietary shifts or exercise goals, but taking on too much change at once is almost guaranteed to fail and put you back where you started. The trick is to take the smaller steps towards meaningful lifestyle changes; stay strong, focused, proceed slowly and cautiously, and you’ll have an excellent chance of triumphing over personal adversity.

Do More Walking

Walking is the grand precursor to exercise, but in itself is an effective form of getting your heart pumping. Try and fit in at least half-an-hour of brisk walking per day, whether it’s to the shops or to work and back, the more walking the better.

Many people find this difficult for many reasons, but most commonly because they own (and are paying for) a car; try and ditch the car whenever you are able and walk instead for an easy, low-impact form of exercise. Not only can walking help keep your weight in check, but also help strengthen your heart and reduce the risk of various diseases, as well as osteoporosis and dementia.

Eat More Fruit & Veg

Find a personally satisfying way to include more fruit, vegetables, and just about anything green and leafy within your diet. You’ll frequently see things labelled as ‘1 of your 5 a day’, but this isn’t always true and certainly doesn’t account for the massive amounts of sugar usually found in such products. Avoid these if possible and stick with the well-established, healthy ways to consume fruit and veg.

The 5 a day label is a standard set by the World Health Organisation, who believe the greatest benefits of these foods is realised within the body when 5 portions, or around 80g, is consumed. These benefits include an excellent source of essential vitamins and minerals such as folate, vitamin C, potassium, and dietary fibres which maintain a healthy digestive system and prevent heart disease, strokes, and some forms of cancer.

Take Care of your Body

Here we move a little-bit beyond diet and exercise into the therapeutic things you can do to achieve a healthier lifestyle. A part of our body that goes desperately untended is our muscles; despite the strain we put our body under, few people actually provide their muscles with an adequate recovery and can end up sustaining more lasting injuries as a result.

A regular cool-down or deep tissue massage after all forms of exercise is better for your body in the long-term. If you are seated for the majority of the day, do some stretches every hour or take a short walk to keep your muscles and joints awake.

Achieve a Healthy Sleep Pattern

It cannot be overemphasised how important a healthy amount of sleep is for the mind and body. A lack of sleep over a sustained period is extremely harmful and can have detrimental effects on both your physical and psychological health, as well as a decreased sex-drive and fertility.

Between 7 – 8 hours of sleep is needed to function through-out the day, but this varies from person-to-person. If you frequently wake up tired and stay that way until bed-time, it’s very likely you’re not getting enough sleep. This is commonly due to a myriad of bad sleeping habits, and can also be influenced by other lifestyle aspects such as diet and exercise.

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