Top tips for living a healthy life
Here’ my Top tips for living a healthy life
Give up smoking
Wear a seat belt
Take some time out
Five portions a day
Practice safe sex
Reduce your intake of unhealthy foods
Reduce your exposure to pollution
These tips can help to create a healthier lifestyle, healthy heart and a longer happier life!
1. Give up smoking
Quit smoking. It is THE single best thing you can do for your health. Cigarettes contain around 400 toxic substances and 60 known or suspected cancer-causing agents, not forgetting the aging effects that cigarettes have on the skin. Don’t fall for the ‘my grandma smoked 40 a day and lived till she was 93 years old’ mind set – this may well be true for 1 in 100,000 cases, but the other 99,000 all died of lung related diseases.
The scientists have finally agreed on this one. There is irrefutable evidence that smoking causes serious harmful effects to human health and, since the early 60’s when the first announcements were being made, there has been a steady increase in the number of people trying to give up smoking. There are still many teenagers who continue to smoke because of peer pressure and the need to portray a more adult image, hopefully this number will reduce over time.
For those who struggle to give up the ‘weed’ here are a few techniques for helping you to stop once and for all:
Nicotine Replacement Therapy – patches, gum, nasal spray, Micro-tab, Lozenge, Inhaler
Prescription medication – such as Zyban
2. Get Moving !
Move move move…our bodies are designed to move, so do yourself and your heart a favour by walking at every opportunity. Instead of taking the car to work, try walking or use a Bicycle and leave the car at home. Even if you live a long way from the office you can always drive some of the way and walk or cycle the rest.
Try taking the stairs in work instead of using the elevator, not only will this reduce your stress levels but its also good for the heart and lungs and will burn calories! If you work at a desk for long periods, try and take regular breaks and walk around for a few minutes.
3. Wear a seat belt
Buckle up. Statistics clearly show wearing a seat belt saves thousands of lives every year, adds longevity and help prevent potential serious injury in car accidents. Simply wearing a seat belt will increase your chance of surviving an accident by 45%.
Don’t subscribe to the “I don’t need a seat belt – ive got air bags all round” mind-set. Sure the airbags increase the effectiveness of the protection but seat belts work WITH Air bags to protect occupants. Air bags alone are not enough to safeguard occupants.
4. Take time out…reduce your stress levels
Stress can be a killer, even low levels over a long period of time can cause health problems. Spend quality time each day doing something relaxing and enjoyable which will help to reduce your levels of stress. Try to avoid spending time with people who raise your stress levels, and avoid stressful situations at work where possible.
Here is a list of ways you can try to relax:
Soak in a hot tub with some relaxing oils or herbs
Listen to some relaxing music
Walk along the beach for at least 30 minutes
Take your dog for a walk
Play games with children
Meditate – this can be simple breathing exercises focusing on a sound or something visual
Listen to relaxation tapes
Watch a funny movie with a friend
Have a gentle workout and a swim at the gym followed by sauna/Jacuzzi
Have a massage
Go on vacation!
5. Sleep Well
Are you sleeping well? If not here’s a few tips to help you get that good nights rest:
Maintain regular go to bed and wake-up times, including weekends
Sleep on a comfortable mattress (they should be checked and if necessary replaced every 10 years) and get some decent pillows
Make sure you create a good sleeping environment in your bedroom – the room needs to be dark, quiet, cool and free from noises and distractions
Try not to eat anything 2-3 hours before you go to bed
Avoid drinking caffeine drinks (tea, coffee, soda’s) before sleep, they can keep you awake
Avoid drinking alcohol close to bed time – consuming alcohol actually REDUCES the quality of sleep, and can leave you feeling tired by lunch time the next day
Avoid Nicotine close to bed time – its a stimulant like caffeine and can lead to poor sleep and even nightmares – just one more reason to give up smoking!
6. Five portions a day
After giving up smoking, the next best thing you can do is eat at least five portions of fruit and Vegetables a day. Organic food is recommended, however, this can be more expensive than non-organic. The body is a bit like a car in that it requires certain essentials to keep it working effectively.
If you forget to put oil in a car engine or top up with Diesel instead of gasoline it will break down eventually, the same principle applies to the human body. Keep filling the body with rubbish (too much junk food, not enough real nutrition, water and exercise) and it will start to deteriorate and eventually disease and ill health can set in.
7. Practice safe sex
This is becoming ever more important in modern times. Unless you are in a long-term monogamous relationship, always remember to use a condom (male and female types are available) during sexual intercourse.
Condoms are available free from some health centers, or you can buy condoms from your local superstore or pharmacy. Birth control pills and other methods of contraception do not offer any protection against HIV/AIDS or any other sexually transmitted disease or infection.
8. Reduce your intake of unhealthy food
Anyone can fill their shopping basket with processed foods and high fat low nutritional value foods, its often cheaper to do so. Learn to be choosy about what you buy for the weeks food shop, try to choose plenty of natural products with low salt and sugar content, this will reap benefits over time. Try to avoid the obvious such as fried foods, burgers and other fatty meats like pork, bacon, ham, salami, sausages etc. If possible buy low fat versions of dairy products such as skimmed or semi-skimmed milk and ‘light’ butters and margarine’s. Include a few Macadamias in your shopping basket, they are the best natural source of monounsaturated fat and great for reducing cholesterol.
Some people are sensitive to certain food types, for example Milk, Dairy products and Wheat. If you feel some products are upsetting you, speak to your Doctor and he/she may be able to arrange some food sensitivity tests. Food sensitivities or Allergies can cause havoc on the immune system and create very unpleasant affects on the body.
9. Reduce your exposure to pollution
It is estimated that 100,000 people a year die prematurely from respiratory and heart conditions that dirty air causes or has made worse. Levels or Air pollution can be 2-5 times higher in your home than outside, and sometimes up to 100 times higher.
Open your windows at home on a regular basis to ventilate the property correctly, this is the best way to get rid of pollutants in the home and it also reduces the chances of mould growth. Get your boiler checked once a year to ensure no Carbon Monoxide leaks.
If you don’t have them already, plant some trees at the back of your property, they’ll provide shade so you wont need to use the Air conditioning as much and they soak up Ozone, nitrogen dioxide and other pollutants from the air. Choose varieties such as Ash, Mulberry, Cheery and Tulip.
10. Laugh More!
There is gathering evidence that laughter can improve health and fight off heart disease. The healing power of laughter is said to reduce pain and stimulate immune function in patients with cancer, Aids or Diabetes.
15 minutes of laughter a day is the recommended minimum so try to watch a funny movie or show with a friend. Try to take life less seriously and be more light-hearted when relating to others, you’ll find laughter is infectious and good at reducing levels of stress too.