Three habits that could improve your health
If you're feeling run-down, sluggish and generally a bit worse for wear, it might be time to make some lifestyle changes. Introducing just a few new healthy habits could dramatically improve your quality of life and reduce the likelihood of more serious medical issues cropping up as you get older.
Add short bouts of exercise
Almost everyone is aware of how beneficial exercise is for their health. However, knowing the upsides of physical activity isn't always enough to motivate a person to put on their gym clothes and get moving, particularly in cases where the person in question already has a very busy daily schedule. If you're struggling with this issue, it's important to realise that you don't have to spend hours at the gym in order to improve your fitness levels. Doing small amounts of exercise each day could be enough to produce significant physical health benefits over time.
For instance if you enjoy spending your evenings watching your favourite TV shows, start doing a few simple bodyweight exercises each time the advertisements begin to play; things like push-ups, squats and planks will all help you to build muscle and tone-up. Similarly, if you usually use your car for short trips (i.e. one or two mile distances), consider walking instead. Lastly, if your long commute and even longer workday make exercise difficult, it may be worth using your lunch break to go for a quick walk around a nearby park, or even a 15-minute swim at a local pool.
One of the habits that often prevents people from eating healthily is impulse-buying junk food during a grocery shop or while on their lunch break at work. Particularly if you're already feeling a bit tired and hungry, these events can make things like chocolate, crisps and sweets seem that much more tempting. You might find yourself throwing a few extra packets of biscuits into your shopping trolley or adding a family size bag of crisps to your lunch order at the shop.
Preparation and planning are the solutions to this problem. If you find it difficult to resist the lure of the chocolate aisle when grocery shopping, because the only time you have a chance to shop is after work when you're exhausted and hungry, consider switching to online shopping; this will reduce the chances of you mindlessly adding unhealthy items to your order and therefore make it easier to stick to better food options.
To avoid eating to excess during your break at work, devote an hour or so to meal-prepping at the beginning of the week, so that you have a healthy lunch ready each day. You could also keep your desk drawer stocked with non-perishable healthy snacks, such as nuts, seeds, dried fruit, rice cakes and protein bars.
Learn to manage your stress levels
Your mental health can have a direct impact on your physical wellbeing; chronic stress, for example, can cause issues like high blood pressure, headaches and heart problems. As such, it's extremely important to take steps to manage your stress levels. Regular exercise can help you to do this, as can things like making sure you get enough sleep (perhaps by skipping that late night film on TV and going to bed an hour earlier), practicing mindfulness mediation techniques and talking through your worries with a trusted friend or relative. If after trying out these strategies, you are still feeling very stressed out, it may be worth visiting your GP to see if they can offer assistance; in this type of scenario, doctors will sometimes offer medication or refer the patient on for therapy.