“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” – Charles R. Swindoll
Living more healthily: You might be here because you are wondering how to improve your quality of life, or you want to be more successful in general. You might be thinking of ways to make yourself happier, you might just be wanting to include some more positive habits into your life or it might be the case that you want to speed up your recovery after an injury. Either way, living a healthier life has so many physical benefits: It can improve your happiness, increase your quality of life, help with physiological change such as weight loss, improve your muscles and bones, increase your energy levels and reduce your risk of chronic disease.
With this in mind, here are some spring boards to a healthier life for you to consider:
Smoking kills around 7 million people every year – around half of all smokers, according to the W.H.O. and 1.2 million of these die from second hand smoke. Smoking is one of the biggest public health problems in human society today. Smoking is expensive too, with the Australian government leading the way to a $40 pack.
Drink less alcohol
17% of people consume alcohol at levels placing them at lifetime risk of an alcohol-related disease or injury. Similarly, 25% of people have consumed alcohol at levels placing them at risk of harm once on a monthly basis. Long term, elevated consumption of alcohol can lead to addiction, increased blood pressure, increased risk of stroke and permanent, fatal liver damage.
Social Wellness, connecting with others and developing relationships, is a key part of our well-being that introduces many health benefits into our lives in addition to the happiness that can be created by being more social.
Human beings are social in nature, as a result of the successes of the evolution of our species, according to Anthropologist Carol Ward, of University of Missouri at Columbia. In fact, a study showed that social skills that help the group as a whole are demonstrated in children as young as 6, because we are naturally co-operative. It is not surprising, then, that one of the most important ways to live a healthier life is to involve ourselves in social groups and activities.
Strong social wellness positively affects health outcomes such as a lower mortality rate, lower risk of cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, wound healing and even cancer. Social wellness and caring for others is also now thought to reduce stress.
So how can we increase our social wellness? Get talking. Meet new people, reconnect with old friends, chat to family members. Making connections is about spending physical or virtual time together, whether it be over the phone, or via a video link, or by going for coffee together.
No matter the method, nurturing those relationships, being there for the people and enjoying time together, may just be the life affirming actions you need to achieve that quality if happiness you have always wanted.
Healthier eating has physiological and mental benefits: Not only will you be giving your body the physical things it needs, but this in turn will help the body help the mind by giving the brain more nutrition. Studies have shown that physical exercise releases endorphins, chemicals created in the brain that make us feel good.
Drink more water
Apart from the obvious fact that we will die without water (in around 4 days), staying hydrated helps maintain concentration, minimise fatigue and may even reduce muscle stress during workouts. Being hydrated also helps maintain vision.
Eat more fruits and vegetables
We should eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables per day (not including potatoes), according to the NHS in the UK. Doing this will give your body MORE vitamins and minerals, more dietary fibre, more variety of food choices. It will also give you LESS saturated fat, less artificial additives, less sugar and salt intake.
The benefits of eating 5 a day include:
· Maintaining gut health
· Maintaining healthy weight
· Reduced risk of Bowel Cancer
· Reduced risk of Heart Disease
Change the way you eat
The key to eating healthily, however, is a balanced diet, full of variety. If you are not keen on vegetables, try adding just one green element to your plate to start with. Eating slightly less as opposed to eating until you are full will help control calorific intake. Similarly, focusing on the colour of your food will help you increase vitamins and minerals, but here is a great tip – when you go to the supermarket, avoid those middle aisles that contain all the processed foods that are often also high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats.
It goes without saying that exercise is healthy, the benefits are huge. The trick, however, is motivation. Finding time to exercise is much easier to do if you are enjoying the exercise. Here are some ways to reach those 10,000 steps that do not include that old treadmill:
- Walking the dog
- Parking a bit further from work
- Taking the stairs not the lift
- Get a physical hobby such as:
- Bike Riding
- Taking up a sport (maybe you could join a club)
- Walking to the local shop for milk and bread
- Take the kids or grandkids for a walk around that local reserve It is recommended by the World Health Organisation that we do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week. This can be hard to achieve at first, but if you start by doing something small, you can increase your exercise levels as time goes on.
Returning to health
Physical injury can happen at any time. Having reduced physical capability can affect our mental health, our financial health and our relationships, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Physiotherapy or exercise physiology can help you regain some of your body’s capabilities.
Many of you have heard of Physiotherapy, a physical treatment given after an injury, but an exercise physiologist will help you move more easily and comfortable do the things you love longer, by combining physiotherapy and personal training. Transcend Health, based in Broadmeadow, near Newcastle, listen to your unique wants and needs and focus on your goals to tailor your experience.