February is National Heart Month. No matter how old you are, it’s never too early (or late) to take the state of your health seriously.
On Day 4 of the 20/20 series of posts, here are 20 healthy hints to get you started.
- Eat breakfast. It’s so easy, so tempting, to skip breakfast. Some may try not to skip, but resort to eating ‘on the go’ with sugary breakfast bars and other quick snacks. Give your body a boost
- Buy goodies that last. If you crave treats, buy something to last. Munching a 1,000-calorie, 2-mouthful dessert will last a few seconds. It may be delicious, but such a short-lived treat won’t keep you satisfied for long. If you have to find something bad for you, make sure you can enjoy it over a longer period of time. Same content, longer lasting. If you’re going to feel guilty, make it worthwhile.
- Think “little and often”. A little food, a little exercise, a little further, etc.
- Walk regularly. Briskly, if possible. Who needs to pay for costly gym services when all you want to do is remain healthy? Walking is free and fantastic!
- Find time for a couple of fruit snacks a day. Take an apple out with you, grab a banana for a quick boost, find easy ways to get some fruit into your diet.
- Have a side-salad with your meal. You only need to buy a bag of salad leaves and dump some next to your meal. I don’t even put dressing on. One of the quickest ways to get another portion of veg inside you!
- Think 5-a-day as a minimum. It’s best you get at least five portions of fruit and vegetables. When you reach five, try for more. Up your game.
- Always find time to relax. Whatever works for you. Deliberately doing nothing is not the same as wasting time. Make your relaxation count.
- Don’t isolate yourself for too long. With important work to do, it’s easy to forget about the rest of the world around you. Hours pass and you’ve been stuck in the same place without thinking about it. Even if you need to get back to the work soon, be sure to take a break, get some fresh air, and think about something else.
- Stay hydrated. If you’re thirsty, it’s too late! I tend not to worry too much about suggestions to drink ‘eight cups a day’ or ‘at least two litres of water’. But I do listen to my body and I do regularly drink throughout the day. Have some water with you wherever you go so you’re never left wanting.
- Step away from anger. We all need to let our emotions out to stay healthy. But many situations don’t need to cause our emotions to run high in the first place. If you’re able to move away, do so before your blood boils.
- Smile. It’s simple and we should do it as often as possible.
- Brush your teeth twice a day. It’s easy to forget in the morning. If you have forgotten, you could munch on some cinnamon sticks!
- Don’t rush food. You’ll eat more before your body tells you it’s had enough and fast eating encourages indigestion.
- Don’t drink beyond your control. You can still enjoy yourself and be careful at the same time.
- Learn to let go. Some things aren’t worth stressing over. If it’s not all that important, leave it. If it’s outside your control, leave it.
- Cook from scratch. You’ll know what you’re eating then. And you may even get some brief exercise in the kitchen, walking from cupboard to cupboard!
- Think ‘baby steps’ rather than ‘all or nothing’. Similar to ‘little and often’, you’re more likely to make a positive change if you take it slowly and appreciate each small success as part of a bigger goal.
- Allow yourself to be decadent sometimes. Total restriction will only make you crave stuff more.
- Stretch and move occasionally to avoid aches and stiffness. Get your joints moving, even while you work. Play a sport if you’ve got the drive to go the whole hog.
What do you do to help your health? Leave a comment and let us know your tips!