10 tips for a healthier life

10 tips for a healthier life

Making some small changes to your lifestyle can make a big difference. Read our 10 ways for you to live a healthier life…

1 Do your work-out outside

Instead of signing up for yet another year’s gym membership that you’ll feel guilty about not using enough, shift where you work out to a place that doesn’t charge a membership fee and combine getting fit with a good dose of fresh air. Green Gym (www.btcv.org.uk) organises outdoor workouts with conservation activities, such as planting trees, dry-stone walling and creating nature areas, that can burn a third more calories than a step-aerobics class. Good for the environment, your muscles and your state of mind!

2 Eat more fish

Swap one or two of your meat meals for fish each week and you could make a big difference to your health. The Food Standards Agency recommends that we eat four 140g portions of oily fish per week (two portions for women of childbearing age and those who are pregnant or breast-feeding). Mackerel, salmon, sardines and fresh tuna are all rich sources of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which may lower your risk of heart disease by a third.

3 Stretch

A good stretch first thing will leave you energised for the whole day. Stand with feet slightly apart, interlock your fingers and stretch arms towards the ceiling with palms upwards. Hold for a couple of seconds then bring arms down by your sides. End with a body roll, placing your chin on your chest and slowly rolling down through your spine, vertebra by vertebra, exhaling as you go. When you’ve rolled down as far as you can go, inhale then slowly roll back up.

4 Give up caffeine

If the mere idea of surviving a day without a cuppa has you going into hyperventilation mode, why not try the soothing taste of rooibos? This South African tea – which means ‘red bush’ in Afrikaans – is grown in the Cedarberg Mountains and has a smoky, nutty taste that’s similar to Assam. As it’s naturally caffeine-free, you won’t suffer from the energy peaks and troughs, irritability, headaches or insomnia linked with caffeineated teas. The tea is also high in antioxidants and, because it’s low in tannins, it can help with the absorption of proteins and iron. It won’t stain your teeth, unlike regular tea, and – most important of all – it’s still good for dunking biscuits.

5 Meditate

Replace that tea break with a few minutes of meditation and you can reduce muscle tension, slow down breathing and increase relaxation, all in the time it takes to boil a kettle. Visit learningmeditation.com for guided meditations lasting 3–10 minutes.

6 Massage in your moisturiser

Instead of slapping on your face cream, take a few minutes to massage it into your skin for a circulation-boosting, complexion-soothing glow. Massage therapist Maureen Beard has developed this six-step technique:

1 Apply moisturiser all over your face and neck.
2 Use the palms of your hands to make sweeping strokes up your neck to your chin.
3 Using your fingertips, pinch along your chin to beneath your ears. Repeat this 10 times, then massage over your jaw joint with small, circular movements.
4 Now, stroke out from the nose, along under the cheekbones and up to the ears.
5 Use your ring fingers to stroke gently around the eye sockets.
6 To end, gently stroke across the forehead and massage the temples.

7 Swap strolling for power walking

Studies have shown that fast walking, with a short stride and pumping arms, can greatly reduce your risk of heart disease, boost your mood and cut your chance of stroke. Try using a pedometer over three consecutive days to work out your average daily number of steps, then increase this amount over a week, aiming for 10,000 steps per day.

8 Reach your water mark

Water (and fluid in general) has many functions in the body – it acts as a lubricant for joints and eyes, as a cushion for the nervous system and helps get rid of waste and regulate body temperature. Many of our everyday ailments are due to dehydration so aim to drink six to eight glasses a day. And don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink. Thirst is a sign that you’re already dehydrated so maintain a steady intake of water throughout the day.

9 Chuck out unhealthy snacks

The devil makes work for idle hands and during those quiet moments during the day, when your energy begins to flag, it’s tempting to reach for the sugary snacks. But instead of grazing on biscuits and chocolate, stock up on fruit and veg to keep you going throughout the week. You’re more likely to eat your five a day if they’re sitting on your desk at work rather than hidden at the back of the fridge at home. And if you buy a big batch on Monday morning, it will be a lot more cost-effective, making your purse as happy as your waistline.

10 Laugh it off

Is your glass half empty or half full? Your answer could have a bearing on not only your general attitude, but also your life expectancy! Studies show that thinking positively can reduce stress levels and help protect us against serious illness. Research also shows that you can literally laugh yourself into a healthier and happier state. A hearty chuckle can strengthen the immune system, reducing stress hormones and promoting health-inducing hormones like endorphins. Laughter has also been linked to reducing food cravings and there are even claims that it increases our pain threshold. It’s also a great physical and emotional release.

 

The views expressed here are the views of experts giving advice. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd. If you have any concerns about your child’s health you should consult your GP or health visitor.