It’s no secret that the NHS would love us all to be within a healthy BMI range, to quit smoking, stay active and not drink to excess in order to cut down on our chances of developing a range of illnesses that would put the healthcare system under undue stress. Though that’s largely easier said than done, it would seem that increased awareness and spreading of useful information is doing some good, and the population is responding well with a raft of improved habits being undertaken for a healthier life.
The word ‘healthy’ is often associated with the need for an intensive exercise routine and a diet that omits many of our favourite foods, labelling them as ‘treats’ and creating an unhealthy punishment/reward system. And healthy means something different to each individual. What works to keep one person’s mental health in good condition won’t be for someone else, and while Dwayne Johnson may wish to spend hours on end in the gym perfecting his physique, this will not be the same for us mere mortals.
From cutting down on red meat with the aim of not only improving our chances of better health, but also with regards to concern for the environment, along with taking better care of our mental wellbeing in an always-on world, it appears that we are gradually learning to give ourselves the right kind of attention following years of unhealthy habits. We are realising that it’s OK to take a step back and re-evaluate what makes us happy and healthy in all areas of our lives and to do what is best for us in order to be better in our relationships, at work and with our families.
Below, we take a look at some of the positive steps the population is doing to make for an all-round healthier version of themselves.
Along with enforced lockdowns, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, came the closures of gyms and fitness centres across the board, leaving many of us with somewhat upturned schedules. In stepped Joe Wicks AKS The Body Coach, who set up a daily weekday workout to get schoolchildren moving at home, and with this a record-breaking day on March 24th, 2020, for the most viewers of a fitness workout live stream on YouTube.
Add to this the estimated 10 million people who hold gym memberships across the UK, and the numerous fitness influencers and experts with multimillion subscribers to their channels (we’re talking Yoga with Adriene, FitnessBlender, Pamela Reif) for an at-home workout whenever you need it and it’s safe to say that we’re embracing the fitness and wellness trend.
A reduction in smoking
We’ve all seen those 1930s adverts where cigarettes were promoted as a glamorous addition to your hand, with some 81% of the male population and 39% of the female population said to be smokers by 1949, but from the mid-50s things started to change, and nowadays the health benefits of giving up the habit are widely promoted. You can learn more from a timeline of how quitting impacts your body in this blog post by Vapekit.
Though quitting doesn’t come easy for a lot of people, and many use vapes as a way to cut down and eventually stop, with current figures standing at 15.9% (males) and 12.5% (female) for the UK population of smokers, it’s certainly looking promising.
Reducing meat intake
The UK committee on Climate Change has called for a 20% reduction in consumption of beef, lamb and dairy by 2050, and with increased awareness on the effects of consuming processed and red meat with regards to health and also environmental reasons, it seems that people are listening. According to a recently published study, the average meat consumption per capita per day in the UK decreased from 103.7g to 86.3g from 2008 to 2019.
Taking better care of our mental health
Mental health is a broad term that encompasses our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing, relating to how we interact with others, how we feel within ourselves, how we think and handle what day to day life and also the bigger events in life throw at us. It’s normal to have moments of sadness, anxiousness and stress but when it becomes too much for us to handle, it can negatively impact our daily lives.
Though it’s evident that that are more people struggling than ever before, the way that we are addressing the things that are bothering us, whether that’s through hypnotherapy, counselling, meditation, CBT and the like, the fact that so many are taking control of their mental health is a step in the right direction.