We want you to write your Will, but we don’t want it to be used to soon. Here’s to a long and healthy life! To mark World Health Day we’ve compiled some top tips to help keep us healthy in body and mind.
What to include
- Balanced diet
Our understanding of how food affects our health is growing all the time. However keeping to a healthy diet isn’t always so easy in practice. Small changes can make a big difference to our energy levels, overall health and well-being.
It is the simplest and most healthy way to stay hydrated without the unnecessary calories and caffeine.
- Five a Day
The NHS recommends that we eat five portions of fruit and veg a day – made up of two portions of fruit and three of vegetables. This is more a rule of thumb than a strict requirement, but it is helpful to keep track of your fruit and veg intake. Nutrient rich leafy vegetables are a good source of fibre. Cooking with tomato and vegetable based sauces is a good way to keep the daily intake up. Fresh, frozen and tinned food items count – it doesn’t have to be “rabbit food”. Another good boost is to opt for one meal a week or even one whole day a week as a vegetarian.
You might want to top up with vitamin supplements. Many people in the UK have a vitamin D deficiency. It’s estimated that it affects half of the adult population. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cognitive impairment, bone problems and also cardiovascular disease.
We don’t get a huge amount of sunshine in the UK so when we do – take advantage by spending fifteen to twenty minutes a day outdoors. Eggs and oily fish are a good source of Vitamin D.
Being active can be difficult if you have a sedentary job or lifestyle. Tracking your steps (ten thousand steps a day is recommended) can help you to take a more energetic approach to your day by swapping the lift for the stairs or taking the dog out for a longer stroll than usual. Exercise is linked to better overall well-being too.
Government guidelines recommend that older adults do 150 minutes of “moderate intensity” activity per week and strengthening exercises twice a week.
Strengthening or resistance exercise helps to keep muscle tone.
In our digital age we are often chronically engaged with a screen of some description. Constant stimulation and sources of stress including emails, social media, diary reminders and advertising can be overwhelming. This can affect our stress levels, our concentration and even our sleep.
Taking time out to focus on our state of mind and zoning out for just a few minutes to truly relax should not be a luxury – it should be part of our daily routine.
“A problem shared is a problem solved,” as the saying goes. Struggling on our own or indeed suffering from loneliness can be a source of mental health problems. Friends, family or even professionals such as a doctor or outreach charity can help to relieve the burden during difficult times.
- Good sleep habits
We try to instil them in our children but many adults have a poor night time routine themselves, leading to broken or limited sleep. Try to avoid using mobile devices in the evening and don’t overeat or drink. Make your bed as comfortable as possible and try not to fall asleep on the sofa in front of the TV.
What to cut back
- Junk food
Fizzy drinks, sugar, empty carbs, saturated fats, takeaways, alcohol. If that sounds more like a wish list than a black list, it is probably time to cut back.
Limiting these items means that the occasional treat is all the more enjoyable.
It will also benefit your body and energy levels.
Try to keep three or more alcohol free days and stick to your limits.
Yes we know. Easier said than done.
Life is always going to be stressful at times but if the balance is wrong on a regular basis something needs to change.
A digital detox, a better diet and more exercise should help.
However talking to someone about your troubles is also important. There is nothing wrong with seeking professional help from a doctor or specialist if you a going through a difficult period of stress.
These really have to go. Smoking is linked to a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, lung cancer and bronchitis. The upside is that you will feel much better and healthier when you give up.