We all want to be healthy. It’s a fact of life and it stems from our evolutionary need to seek ways to live longer. But the truth is, many Australians aren’t helping themselves to stay healthy and live longer. In fact, many of the things we do are cutting off years from our life span.
The good news is that there are several things we can do to help us live longer. These are small changes that have a huge difference and we often don’t realise just how significant the difference can be.
So to feel a little better about yourself and be a little healthier, try to make these changes over the next week and see how you feel…
1. Eat at least five serves of fresh vegetables and fruit every day
For years now, we’ve known that fruit and vegetables are packed with the nutrients, vitamins and antioxidants we need to keep our bodies in great working order. Antioxidants have been proven effective against preventing cancer so increase your intake of fruits and vegetables like apples, berries, kiwi fruits, beans and leafy greens, which are rich in antioxidants for an extra health kick.
2. Walk for 30 minutes every day
Walking stimulates blood flow, improves cardiovascular and respiratory health so by doing it more you will stay fitter. Try walking to a further bus stop, walking the dog in the morning or walking with friends to make it an enjoyable experience that also benefits you.
3. Sit down less
A recent study has found that sedentary behaviour like sitting down takes years off your life, so quite simply, to be healthier you need to keep moving. If you’re watching TV, stand up and do some folding or try some yoga poses, if you work at a desk go for a two minute walk every hour or so to keep the blood flowing and interrupt the sedentary behaviour.
4. Get the right amount of sleep each night
As adults we don’t require very much sleep, however as we age, that reverses and we start to need a little more than we thought. To keep your body operating efficiently, aim to get between seven and eight hours every night. The National Sleep Foundation tell us that, any more than eight hours of sleep can actually make you over tired and you will feel sluggish the next day.
5. See your friends more and watch less TV
Watching television is not only a sedentary behaviour, it is also something that doesn’t encourage your mind to stay active. By switching off the TV and getting out to catch up with friends more often, your brain will stay engaged and active helping you to keep your wits about you.
6. Drink less alcohol (5 and 2 rule)
We all like a glass of wine here and there, but having a drink on any more than two nights a week increases your risk of serious disease quite significantly. To enjoy a clean lifestyle without giving up the fun completely, limit your drinking to two nights a week or only on special occasions.
7. Do something creative
Whether it is writing, painting, drawing, making, scrapbooking or knitting, doing something creative to utilise the other parts of your brain outside of day to day function and processes will also help to prevent the deterioration of mental health. Alzheimer’s Australia believe that this can be crucial to preventing dementia as we age.
How do you stay healthy? Do you already do some of these small things? Tell us in the comments below…