Are you worried about the state of your health? Do you want feel fitter and stronger? The good news is; it is never too late to start leading a healthier life. A healthy lifestyle will protect you from diseases, keep you fit and greatly delay the aging process. You will look and feel younger and stronger. These 6 steps are all you need to know improving your general health.
- Know how to take care of yourself: It is very important to learn about your health and nutrition. Read widely about health and self-care in order to take care of yourself properly. Also, it is important to note that this will differ for everybody. What works for you may not work for everyone else. Make certain changes to your lifestyle if you have to such as stopping your smoking habit, drinking less alcohol or starting an exercise regimen. You should also know how to eat properly and identify the differences between healthy and unhealthy foods. Another important aspect is rest: get 8 hours of sleep every day and make sure you are taking care of your mental health. You should also know how to identify the symptoms of certain diseases and health problems.
- Eat healthy: What you eat can make all the difference to your health. A diet rich in fresh vegetables and grains will not just improve your physical health; but will also make you feel much better. It will also make you much sharper and more alert. Also, it is said to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and dementia during old age. There are certain ways you can start eating healthier. Firstly, stop eating junk foods. Throw out everything that is processed, packaged and full of salts, additives and trans-fats. Avoid eating sugary food as they have no nutritional value. Instead, substitute them with fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats and grains. Sugar can lead to obesity, heart disease and premature aging. Replace the sugar in your diet with sweet fruits, cereals and dark chocolate. They taste better and are much better for your general health. Another way to eat healthier is to prepare your own meals, instead of eating out. This way, you can control what you eat and stay away from fats, salts and chemicals. Read the packaging of your food; this will help you identify any unhealthy ingredients present in the food. A good way to identify healthy meals is by colour; have colourful meals such as salads, homemade sauces and a variety of brightly coloured fruits such as apples, berries and mangoes. Also, make sure you drink enough water.
You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day and more if you do lots of physical activity. Drinking water will keep you hydrated and will prevent lethargy, headaches and certain diseases. Eating in smaller portions will also help you eat healthier. A good idea is to stop eating before you are full. This will prevent overeating and bloating. Eliminate fizzy drinks as they are full of sugar and are very bad for your teeth. Finally, focus on how your body feels after you eat. A healthy diet will make you feel fresh and energetic, while junk food will make you feel tired and sluggish.
- Watch your weight: Your weight is a good indication about the condition of your health. Overweight or obese people are more prone to illnesses and it is harder to treat their diseases. Your BMI (Body Mass Index), which is based on your height and weight, is a good way to see if you are at a healthy weight range. A BMI over 25 will show you that you are overweight, while under 18 is an indicator that you are undernourished. To maintain a proper weight, eat your meals in moderation and make sure you are having a balanced diet rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. If you want to lose weight, cut down on fats, sugars and carbohydrates. This is done by avoiding snacks, desserts, soft drinks and packaged foods. Another way to lose weight is to eat plenty of foods containing fibre such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats and quinoa. Fibre fills you up and will make you eat less. Exercise is also very helpful if you need to lose weight. Create an exercise regimen and stick to your plan.
- Exercise regularly: Do you exercise on a regular basis? Even if you are happy with your weight, you should exercise regularly. Make it a regular thing, like brushing your teeth or taking a shower. This is because exercise improves strength and stamina, builds immunity and can even improve your mood. It is a good idea to exercise for 30 minutes every day. There are several kinds of exercise you can do. Exercise should work the muscles of your heart and so you should focus on aerobic exercise (cardiovascular exercise). These include walking, running, jogging and cycling. Other activities such as lifting weights and yoga are ideal for a fitter, toned body. Swimming is another excellent activity as it works every part of your body and can be done by everybody. Also, increase the physical activity you do on a regular basis. Take the stair instead of the elevator, walk short distances instead of taking your car. You can also go for long walks instead of watching TV. This will help make you feel relaxed and will improve your general health.
- Go for regular checkups: It is a good idea to visit your doctor for routine checkups, even if you feel healthy. Tell your doctor your physical history so he/she can tell you if you are at risk for any diseases. Regular tests can identify warning signs for certain diseases which will make them easier to prevent or treat. Doctors will check your blood cholesterol, blood sugar and advise you on your diet and medication. They will also screen you for cancer by mammograms and Pap tests for women to identify breast and cervical cancers. Men are generally screened for prostate and colon cancer. You doctor will also make sure you are immunized and will give you shots for flu, pneumonia, and measles. They will also advise you on your health and food choices. If anything is bothering you about your health, you can discuss it during your checkups.
- Reduce stress in your life: Stress is said to be a silent killer. It ages you and can lead to heart disease and premature aging. Identify the stress factors in your life and try to eliminate them. Get proper sleep and give yourself a break. Treat yourself to a long warm bath or go on a holiday. Do something that makes you happy and spend time with your loved ones. If you are having trouble coping with the issues of your life, see a therapist and talk to them about your problems. Also there are several herbs that can help make you feel relaxed such as jasmine, lavender and St. John’s Wort. Drinking tea from such herbs can help reduce stress levels and make you feel calmer. Cutting down the stress in your life will make you feel stronger and can increase longevity.