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Blog: Key steps to a healthy lifestyle

We all know how to live healthily, right? Or at least we should.

Gym. Healthy meal. A good book.

But a healthy lifestyle goes far beyond shovelling down the latest ‘lifestyle bar’ from Kellogs and trying not to fall off your Peloton.

It’s an all-round choice that includes physical health, mental health, food options and of course time spent outdoors.

First of all, make sure you eat breakfast. Really. It’s not just about eating the right foods – the first meal of the day kick-starts your metabolism and stops you from over eating later. When you’ll be hungry if you missed breakfast.

Make sure your plan your meals, so you get an overall picture of your intake of sugar, fat and carbs. You’ll be able to see where more vitamins or protein might come in handy and you’ll probably save money into the bargain. This is so important for healthy eating.

Water and lots of it – staying hydrated can help you to lose weight. Most soft drinks are packed full of sugar and can even lead to Type 2 Diabetes, so stick to water. If you want flavour, try adding slices of orange or cucumber.

Switch off your devices. You don’t need to see your friends’ latest updates from the gym every minute of the day. Log off, take time for a walk and your mental health will get a useful boost. You might even get time to prepare a healthy meal.

Sleep well. This is absolutely crucial – you’ll wake up in a better mood, with a sharper memory and more focus on the day. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night and stick to a schedule, so your body clock is settled. And switch off your phone at night!

Don’t skimp on training. Trade in body fat for muscle mass with strength training at least twice a week, alongside longer activities such as runs in the park or further afield. You’ll strengthen your heart, build up bone strength and even slim down.

Get outdoors as much as possible and just enjoy the world we live in. Sunshine offers plenty of vitamin D and your mood will benefit immensely. Even a stroll in the park can help you stay fit when you’re building up stamina.

Try to learn something new – dancing, creative writing or even bungee jumping. The point is that like the rest of your body, your brain stays healthy with regular exercise. It could even help to slow the signs of ageing or dementia.

This is a biggie – don’t smoke. Quit. Just don’t do it. Your blood pressure will recover in time, but there’s no telling what damage you’re doing to the rest of your body. Those gory warnings on cigarette packets are there for a very good reason.

Finally, be mindful. That could include meditation, yoga, or just a quick sniff of wet grass. A more reflective approach to life can slash stress, relieve pain and improve your mood. Meditation, for example, can change parts of your brain related to emotions, learning and memory.

Of course this isn’t an exact science, but a more rounded approach to lifestyle can bring so many more benefits that a single focus on just fitness or healthy eating.

It might not stop you falling off your Petolon, but the positives for yourself and your loved ones could prove to be remarkable.

 

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Author

James Shaw