You don’t need to follow a list of complex dos and don’ts to change your lifestyle for the better. A handful of easy, everyday steps can transform the way you feel.
‘I absolutely love strict health regimes,’ said no-one ever. But guess what? We can live longer, happier lives with following difficult rules. A few simple things can make a huge difference in your life.
Get enough sleep
A good night’s rest is key to good health. It’s your body’s reset button when it repairs itself and reboots your brain. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night in a quiet, dark room.
Plate up properly
Your body works hard and deserves to be fed well. Wholesome food helps increase energy, improves digestion and lowers the risk of conditions like diabetes and heart disease. So go for the good stuff: five to seven servings of fresh fruit and veg a day, lean meat like chicken, and whole grains like wholewheat bread. You can boost your nutrition by simply choosing healthier alternatives: instead of deep-fried fish go for grilled and opt for brown rice over white.
Sit less, move more!
Get off the couch and get active. The less we move, the more our body suffers including the heart, joints, digestion, concentration and mood. Up your movement a bit at a time: push back from your desk and stretch every hour, park further from the mall entrance, have a dance off with the kids, do a five-minute YouTube workout. As your fitness grows, add more activities. A step-counting app or a pedometer is a wonderful way to stay motivated by showing you how all those little bits add up.
Savour the moment
Turn simple pleasures into daily mindfulness mini breaks. Savour a warm cup of tea, sing along to your favourite song, sit outside and gaze at the clouds for five minutes – whatever works for you. Pleasant activities calm your mind and reduce stress levels, which is proven to support immune function and longevity.
Unbelievably, most of us don’t breathe properly, and that saps our energy. You should be inhaling through your nose and letting the air move right down so that your belly expands. Incorporate these useful breathing tips to feel energised.
Bonus tip: Think 80/20
You don’t have to deprive yourself of everything lekker to be healthier. Follow the 80/20 rule: make 80% of your choices healthy ones, and you have 20% flexibility for ‘less healthy’ ones. That means you can have that glass of bubbly at a wedding or a Netflix night on the couch, as long as you make good choices the rest of the week.