We all have our vices and sometimes in life you can’t always be good 100% of the time, but here are some lifestyle habits you need to look at addressing and changing to be more healthy and positive.
Drinking at least 2 litres of water a day, which is about 6-8 glasses, is vital for total body health. Our bodies are made up of about 60% water so it should come as no surprise that drinking water it good for us! Staying hydrated will stabilise moods, ensure your focus and concentration is on point and helps with memory. Drinking plenty of water will keep your skin looking supple and hydrated, helps maintain a normal body temperature during hot and cold spells and will help your muscles recover pre and post workout.
When you eat your evening meal
We recognise that we are all working longer hours and trying to fit so much into our daily routine so it’s no wonder that our evening meal time gets pushed back. However, the later you eat the worse it is for your waistline. One study (admittedly with mice) found that those mice which ate a main meal early and then fasted for 16 hours (over night) were slimmer than those mice which ate later. Eating large meals late at night can cause indigestion, which interferes with your natural sleep cycle. It’s believed that the longer you leave the time between meals allows your body to process the food more efficiently.
Not moving enough
The benefits of exercise are well documented but it’s not just your health and wellbeing moving more can help with. Regular exercise can help you live longer! One study has shown that people who enjoy moderate to high levels of exercise and physical activity may live 1.3-3.7 years longer than those people who don’t exercise at all. Exercise can keep your heart healthy and can reduce the risk of some types of chronic disease.
Don’t skimp on those Zzzs!
Sleep is vital for your health. There’s no two ways about it. Not getting between 7-9 hours of sleep each night can have a negative impact on your health and immune system, it can affect your moods and ability to rationalise. If you’re trying to lose weight, not getting enough sleep can also increase the chances of giving into temptation and not sticking to your healthy eating plan.
Too much salt
Too much salt in your diet can raise your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. An easy way to reduce your intake of salt is to cook more fresh foods and reduce the amount of take-aways and processed foods you consume. For added flavour herbs and spices are a great alternative. For tips on how to cut down on salt, read Tips for a lower-salt diet.
Fat is essential to your diet and it’s as important as protein and carbohydrates in fuelling your body. Certain bodily functions need fat to function. For example, some vitamins need fat in order to dissolve into your bloodstream and provide you with the nutrients. Avoid trans fatty acids and saturated fats and focus on polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
Skipping your lunch break!
How many of you skip a lunch break in a bid to get ahead, catch up or just stay above water at work? All too many of us will stare at our screens as we munch through our lunch but studies show that if you eat your lunch without distractions will ensure you’re fuller and more satisfied for longer. And if you want to take this one step further – why not go for a short walk after? Fresh air and some exercise will help you feel better and aid concentration well into the afternoon.
We've all been there: In a bid to drop a few pounds, you start skipping breakfast or lunch – thinking and hoping you can ride the hunger pangs out but the truth of the matter is that hunger pangs are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s more going on in your body that you realised. Skipping a meal causes your blood-sugar levels to dive; or in the case of breakfast – they never get started! Food is fuel for your body and if you’re not circulating enough then every organ and function will be affected. Your brain takes a hit. You won’t be firing on all cylinders. Your metabolism will slow down as it doesn’t know where the next re-fuelling is coming so it operates on go slow mode. All in all – the body can’t copy every well so ensure you’re fuelling it regularly with healthy and nutritious meals!
Everyone knows smoking kills. It’s an expensive, addictive and life limiting addiction. There is plenty of support out there for people who want to give up and small changes to your lifestyle really can make a big difference and help you quit for good. Click here for advice and support from the NHS.