SOURCE — MINS READ

5 Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Impact Your Health

5 Healthy Lifestyle Changes to Impact Your Health

When it comes to your health, your lifestyle choices are much more dominant than your genes. It’s always a good time to adopt new habits to improve your well-being. Here are five healthy lifestyle changes that could have the most significant impact on your health, along with a few tips for making them successful.

1. Move More

How often you’re physically active is just as important as how much you exercise. So don’t follow your morning workout with hours of sitting at your desk, in your car, or on the couch.

Moving more can help improve everything from your circulation to your stress levels and sense of well-being.2 Add more movement into your life by breaking up sedentary activities with physical activity. Here are a few ideas to get you inspired:

  • Swap your coffee break for a power walk; after all, walking is the best exercise.
  • Set your alarm 10 minutes early to do morning stretches.
  • Wait for your lunch to reheat in the plank position or see how many squats you can fit in before your coffee is done brewing.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Use the jungle gym for pull-ups, dips, lunges, and push-ups while your children play.

 

2. Nourish Yourself

There’s a big difference between being well fed and well nourished. By ditching processed convenience foods and nourishing yourself with a balanced diet of fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins, and healthy polyunsaturated fats, you can improve your health and overall quality of life.3

Get started by doing the following:

  • Eat with the season and stock up on fresh-picked fruits and vegetables while their flavours and nutrient levels are at their peak. Aim for 10 servings of fruits and vegetables per day to help meet your body’s demands for vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibre.
  • Add omega-3-rich foods to your diet, including fatty fish such as salmon and sardines, ground flax, seaweed, and chia seeds. For a more concentrated source, look for a quality omega-3 supplement.
  • Choose lean, high-quality proteins. Great sources include:
    1. Fish
    2. Lentils and beans
    3. Quinoa
    4. Soy products
    5. Nuts and nut butters
    6. Turkey breast
    7. Egg whites
  • Eating prebiotic- and probiotic-rich foods every day to replenish and nourish your intestinal microflora. Fantastic sources include:
    1. Natural yogurt
    2. Kefir
    3. Kombucha tea
    4. Cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi
    5. Prebiotic fibre from foods such as garlic, onions, artichokes, whole grains, and peas
  • Support your bone health with vitamins D3 & K2 from foods such as fatty fish and oils for vitamin D and natto soybean, sauerkraut and dairy for K2. Sometimes these foods are not prevalent enough in even the healthiest of diets, in which case, look for a supplement formulated with bioactive and highly bioavailable D3 (colecalciferol) and menaquinone-7 (MK-7) from natto beans.

3. Manage your Stress

More than one in every four workers report finding even a regular day “quite a bit” or “extremely” stressful.4 Stress causes an increase in cortisol levels. When it becomes excessive or ongoing, this can have a negative impact on your health.5 Everybody has some form of stress in their lives, but it’s how you deal with it that counts. Healthy ways to cope with stress include:

  • Getting 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Remember sleep shouldn’t stress you out!
  • Keeping active and eating a nourishing diet, as covered in the first two tips.
  • Taking time to relax and switch gears after work.
  • Scheduling “free time” to completely check out with fewer responsibilities.
  • Unplugging yourself from electronics. Yes, this means putting away your mobile phone, tablet and laptop.
  • Communicating your feelings and needs to family and friends.
  • Managing your time effectively with the Pomodoro Technique.  

 

4. Make Sleep a Priority

Around 40% of women and 30% of men have trouble with sleeping.6 When you don’t get the recommended 7–9 hours per night, it can have a significant impact on your physical and mental health, not to mention work performance and social life.7

 

If you have trouble falling asleep, have restless sleep, or are losing sleep due to stress, shift work, or waking children, it is time to make sleep a priority with these healthy sleep tips:8

  • Make time to sleep. If you have to, set the bedtime alarm on your phone.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. All of these can disrupt your sleep.9
  • Unplug from your computer, tablet, mobile phone or e-reader before bedtime. Instead, unwind before bedtime with a bath or some light reading.
  • Use a natural sleep aid to help improve sleep quality. 

5. Reduce your Alcohol Intake

While moderate alcohol consumption is considered safe for some people, there are many alcohol-related health risks that aren’t apparent until later in life.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation for Australians recommends that you consume no more than:10

  • 10 standard drinks per week.
  • 4 standard drinks on one day.

 

Alcohol is dehydrating and high in calories and cutting back has benefits. Keep your alcohol intake down by:

  • Setting a drink limit for yourself
  • Drinking slowly
  • Matching every alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink
  • Eating before and while you are consuming alcohol
  • Not drinking for health benefits
  • Enjoying some non-drinking days every week to prevent alcohol from becoming a habit

 

Be aware of factors that make alcohol consumption unsafe, including when you are pregnant, driving, or taking certain medications.11

 

Healthy Changes for Life

It can take time to develop new habits. Be patient with yourself and remember that making healthy lifestyle changes is a long-term commitment to support your health and quality of life.

 

References