The secrets to gaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Many of us sit here seeing others living these healthy lifestyles with daily yoga and meditation seeming to be the norm and a healthy diet coming as second nature and wishing we could grasp a little of that lifestyle but also wondering where on earth they find the time to take care of themselves so well? With work, families, day to day tasks getting in the way, it’s easy to forget to make the effort to take care of number one.
The world we live in is full of stressors, which bring us down both physically and emotionally, making the need to treat ourselves in the best possible way ever more important. Everyone has the right to be happy and healthy after all.
So if you feel now is the time to make some positive changes to your lifestyle, well we’re making it easy for you. Just read on, take note and go and join those happy, healthy looking people, and perhaps you’ll inspire some others too.
If you’ve never heard of yoga, you’ve been living under a rock. If you have tried at least one session you will surely understand the positive effects this could have on you if you could adopt this into your lifestyle on a regular basis.
Originating in India some 5,000 years ago, this form of exercise focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost mental and physical well-being, and the benefits are clear to see. Some physical exercise is prohibited for people who have suffered injury or have some chronic illness, however, yoga therapy is suitable for people with chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system or cardiovascular system.
With varying adaptions available – Hatha for a slower approach, where holding your position for a few breaths is key (ideal for beginners) to Vinyasa, where you flow from pose to pose creating a faster pace and increasing your heart rate – it is worth taking some time to do your research and taking a few taster classes to find the type that suits you. With the popularity of this exercise as it is, you should have no trouble finding a beginner’s class near you.
Study after study tells us that eating fresh, nutritious foods within a balanced diet and drinking plenty of water is the way to maintain a healthy body. You are what you eat, and if you fill your body with heavily processed and fatty foods and overly sugary or salty snacks, you won’t be doing yourself any favours in the long run. Water may not be your preferred tipple but it has hugely positive effects on the function of your organs, regeneration of cells and filtration of blood.
Avoid fad diets and stick with a guide that will be easy for you to follow while filling yourself with tasty and healthy foods. A healthy, balanced diet involves – consuming at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables per day; eating some beans, pulses, fish, eggs, meat and other protein; opting for (small amounts of) unsaturated oils and spreads; having some dairy or dairy alternative; drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water a day; basing your meal on higher fibre starchy foods such as rice, potatoes or pasta. (According to the Eatwell Guide)
If you’re unsure where to start, and if you have any health issues your GP will be able guide you, otherwise there is no excuse with the amount of information readily available online.
Taking some time for yourself to reflect on your day or emptying your mind of stressful or unhelpful thoughts (or all thoughts!) may not seem like the highest priority but meditation can be hugely effective in improving your mental, and subsequently, your physical health.
Just like our bodies, our mind needs a break throughout the day too, so whether you opt for an early morning meditation session or a break during the day, make sure you find the time to practice a peaceful, reflective moment. Take just ten minutes a day and you might just find that the tension in your body begins to dissipate as a result.
It may seem like an obvious one but getting the recommended 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night really will give you the boost you need during your waking hours. Your body desperately needs that rest each day to repair tissue, grow muscle, aid memory and synthesize hormones.
If you can’t resist putting that book down, watching one more episode of that box set or stopping working because it seems to never end, just consider what it could do for your body in the long-term. Giving yourself a set time for going to bed and waking up each day will be like giving your body the high-five it deserves.
Of course you may be reading this wishing it were only that easy – perhaps you would love 8 hours but your mind won’t stop whirring – exercise, meditation and many other factors can help with this.