Living a healthy lifestyle has countless benefits. As we age, healthy habits are important to sustain the body and mind whilst encouraging a happy, active and prolonged life. Positive change can transform your life and it is never too late to implement healthy attributes for improved wellbeing. Here we share a few vital tips to help you on the road towards a better quality of life.
Think about what you put in your mouth
South Africa has one of the highest obesity rates in Africa. Many individuals are overweight with health-related conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular illnesses. Our rushed lifestyles often lead to binge eating and poor nutritional habits. For improved wellbeing, we need to train ourselves to think twice about the foods we consume daily. Are they nourishing for the body, or are they simply meeting a physical need with empty calories and little nutritional value?
Wholesome fruit, vegetables, proteins and grains will not only keep you fuller for longer but will also help your body build up an immunity against potential threats of infection. Stay away from junk food laden with sugars and unrefined carbohydrates that contain very little nutrients needed to help the body thrive. Choose smaller, well-balanced meals with fresh foods in an array of colours. The more colourful your natural fruits and vegetables, the more nutrient-dense these foods are, ensuring that you receive a good mix of antioxidants and minerals to maintain your wellbeing.
Stay hydrated for optimum health
Fizzy, sugary drinks have very few benefits. In fact, the only liquid of real significance to your body, is water. Not only does water help to flush your body of toxins, it also keeps your organs lubricated, your blood pumping and any signs of fatigue at bay, so that you can function optimally. Water is also a simple and natural cure for many common ailments including headaches, constipation and dehydration.
As a guide, you need to drink one litre of water for every 30kg of body mass per day. That is, if you weigh 60kg, you should be drinking at least 2 litres of water daily. Your body will thank you. In fact, increased water intake may also assist in improved skin tone, digestion, mood elevation and weight loss.
Kick those bad habits
Smoking has been linked to at least six different types of cancer. It can also result in a variety of health problems including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. If this is not enough reason to quit the habit, research also suggests that smoking can have devastating effects on those around you, and especially pregnant women and unborn children. Protect yourself and your loved ones by eliminating the presence of smoke in your home and working environment altogether.
Excessive alcohol consumption is another habit with severe health repercussions. Over time, extensive alcohol use can lead to chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and liver damage. Besides the physical symptoms, alcohol can also wreak havoc on one’s personal relationships, mental status and even working environments.
Stay active for better health
Every day we consume foods that contain energy-filled calories needed by our bodies to grow and function. When we are active, our bodies quickly burn these calories and release energy and endorphins – the body’s feel good hormone. When we are inactive and unfit, the opposite is true. Instead of burning energy, our bodies store calories and we can literally feel ‘weighed’ down, lethargic and become increasingly unhealthy. An active lifestyle promotes wellbeing as we give our bodies (and minds) a good workout to improve our organ functionality, blood circulation, stamina and general wellbeing.
Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, gender, weight or physical ability. Regular physical exercise can help to control your weight, improve your mood, boost energy and decrease your risk of certain health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and a number of cancers.
It is important to equip yourself with the tools to live a healthy lifestyle. Prepare nutritious meals together as a family, embrace the outdoors and encourage your loved ones to participate in sports and physical activity from a young age. Together you can implement change to give your family the best opportunities to lead healthy, happy and prolonged lives.