It is very important for all of us to look after our health. Especially during lockdown, I think we have all let our routines slowly slip meaning we are not looking after ourselves as much. You should treat your body like a temple and look after it because you don’t get another one. Many studies have proven not only does your health have a physical effect on you but also an effect on your mental and social state. Different foods give you chemicals that affect your mood and outlook and it is also proven that healthier people tend to enjoy social interaction and activities a lot more than someone who is unhealthy. I know working out and getting healthy seems like a lot of work but there are small changes you can make to your life which will result in you being healthier and happier.
A good way to become healthier is to walk. I don’t just mean going for an actual walk everyday but incorporating walking into your daily routine. If you can, walk somewhere instead of driving or using public transport. I try to always take the stairs instead of an escalator/elevator and when I need to pop to the shops I try to avoid getting in the car. Obviously going for a walk every day is a great way to get exercise and fresh air as well but I understand not everyone has time for this. I find on the days I go for a walk I feel happier and better about myself. A good motivator to get you walking is to buy a Fitbit (or like me, a cheap version) to count your steps. Setting goals and keeping track has given me a lot of motivation to get up and get moving.
Now this suggestion is a bit harder to slot into your life if you don’t already have the motivation for it. Working out is incredibly good for you, obviously. We all know getting active and working out is one of the best things you can do for your body. I personally don’t like going to the gym, I can’t find the motivation to go all the way there, work out and come home again. Not to mention the pressure of working out in front of other people. I like to do home workouts and this is a great way to get yourself healthier without much effort. I have come up with a fitness routine for myself but not everyone has to do that. For just 30 minutes a day, find a workout video online or use any exercise equipment you already own to get your heart rate up and start working on your health. You can find so many videos of workout routines that work on your whole body or just specific areas that you want to focus on. Just remember to always do a warm up and cool down.
Still sticking to getting your body active, playing active games is a great way to help get healthier. I know not everyone thinks they have time to work out or they just don’t enjoy it so playing active games is perfect. I still have my old Wii and so will play Just Dance but you can buy Just Dace for Nintendo Switch as well. There are so many games you can play that get you moving such as tag, sports, dancing, obstacle courses, twister and many others. I find this is a great way to get active and sometimes I even use some of these games in place of a workout that day. As long as it gets you up and moving then it is working.
Another small change to make in order to be healthier is to eat more fruit and vegetables. We all know that fruit and vegetables are good for you but what most people don’t know is that it may help protect you from getting cancer and helps support your immune system. I know a lot of people who hardly eat fruit and vegetables and I honest don’t know how they do it. Eating a balanced diet is important and so everyone should be having vegetables with their meals and swapping out unhealthy snacks for pieces of fruit instead. Healthy foods can also help keep you energised, improve your sleep and helps control your weight. When you have a healthy balanced diet, you tend to see changes from your work outs happening quicker than if you eat rubbish.
Continuing with food, stop snacking. You should usually have a small snack if you feel hungry between meals but other than that you shouldn’t do it. It is so easy to sit on the sofa watching telly and eat 20 packets of crisps but it is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. It is usual to have a cheat day once a week but that also doesn’t mean you should stuff your face with anything unhealthy you can find. You should try to eat fruit for you snacks or other healthy choices. On cheat days you can break you diet if you are on one (eating carbs if you are on a no-carb diet) or you can have a dessert after your meal and you should try not to break it any further.
One of the biggest ways to get healthier with minimal effort is to get enough sleep. People who sleep for a short amount of time have an increased risk of wight gain and obesity (this applies to both children and adults). Short sleep duration is one of the strongest risk factors for obesity and a study shows that people who sleep less are 55% more likely to gain wight. Sleep also affects the hormones to do with your appetite and people who get enough sleep tend to consume fewer calories. It is sort of obvious that getting a good amount of sleep also relates to your problem-solving skills and memory and that poor sleep will impair your brain function. Some studies have actually shown that a short amount of sleep will have the same negative impacts on your brain as alcohol intoxication. Not getting enough sleep also diminishes your physical performance, leaves you with greater risk of heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes, gives you a poor immune system, is linked to depression and affects your social interactions. The bottom line is, get good quantity and quality sleep.
One thing I have started doing this year is drinking tea, apparently its very good for you. Black tea may reduce blood pressure, lower your risk or type 2 diabetes and improve your cholesterol. Changa tea is made from the changa mushroom which has anti-tumour properties. Chamomile tea is a good drink for bedtime as it helps calm our bodies and also treats anxiety. Essiac tea has a reputation of helping treat cancer as it has anti-inflammatory and DNA-protective properties, in high doses it may also inhibit tumour cell growth. Peppermint tea helps with digestion and can relieve stomach pains and upsets. Raspberry leaf tea is non-caffeinated and is believed to shorten the labour period of pregnancy. Spearmint tea has been used to treat woman with unwanted hair on their face and chest, can help treat osteoarthritis, decreases pain and increases flexibility. And finally, my tea of choice is Green tea, it helps to reduce inflammation, fight cancer, prevent cell damage, recedes radicals that cause aging, is high in EGCG which helps treat various diseases, may improve brain function, improves your mood, increases fat burning, lowers the risk or Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and dementia, helps reduce bad breath, helps prevent type 2 diabetes and helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
Drinking water is one of the most obvious things you should be doing to be healthier. Although there is no agreed upon quantity to drink every day, I try to drink at least 2 litres. Water is essential for most of your bodily functions and when you are dehydrated you leave your skin vulnerable to disorders and winkles. Water helps to lubricate your joints as your cartilage contains around 80% water and so dehydration can lead to joint pain. Water also helps form saliva and mucus which helps us digest our food and keep our eye/nose/mouth moist and clean meaning it will help reduce tooth decay. Water also helps deliver oxygen throughout your body and cushions your brain, spine and sensitive tissues. It helps to regulate your body temperature, keep your digestive system working, flushes body waste, helps maintain blood pressure, prevents kidney damage, boosts performance during exercise, helps with wight loss and thankfully reduces the chance you will have a hangover. I have a 500ml bottle that I fill and drink 4 times a day to keep track of how much water I drink but you can buy litre bottles or set a timer on your phone to remind you to drink some water.
A harder but extremely effect way to get healthy is to quit your bad habits. Not all habits have a negative effect on the body but ones that do need to go. If you can (or want to) you should quit smoking, I am not even going to go into how bad it is for your body as I’m sure you all already know. If you can, switch to vaping because even though we aren’t entirely clear on the negative effects it has on you, nothing is worse that a cigarette. Another bad habit I see a lot of people indulging in is drugs. Yes, I know there are some health benefits to certain types of drugs but with the exception of marijuana I’m sure the negatives hugely outweigh the positives. It is important to cut down your alcohol consumption as well. Alcohol affects your sleep, can give you cancer, can give you liver diseases and most the time makes you act like an idiot so it can’t be bad to cut down. I like a drink every now and again but going out every weekend and drinking is killing your body and your bank account.
I know starting to look after yourself if you don’t practice self-care already can be hard but it is so worth it. I used to treat my body in the worst way but now I’ve educated myself on how I was causing damage and I think it is important everyone does the same. The ways I have mentioned really don’t take that much effort and you will truly thank yourself when you start to feel different and see the changes you have made take shape in your body. Like I said before, treat your body like a temple and look after it because you don’t get another one.
‘Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend’ ~ Lao Tzu
Thank you so much for reading! This post is about my personal experiences and may not apply to everyone. Please feel free to like, comment, share and get in contact with feedback or ideas of what I could post about in the future. You can also subscribe to get notified when I post. Check out my last post ‘Amazon Favourites: Part Two’. Make sure to educate yourself, sign petitions and donate to help make the world a better place, Black Lives Matter.
Look after yourself, stay at home