NHS Citizen

Easy Ways to Be Healthier

Making simple changes in diet, exercise, and stress management can lead to lifelong good health. You do not have to pay for gym membership or buy expensive foods, you can feel better through some very easy changes that have been proven to help you be healthier. 

Keep it simple. First focus on just a single unhealthy habit and turn it into a healthy, positive habit. If you always have a sugary drink at lunchtime, swap this with water a couple of times a week. On public transport, get off a stop earlier and walk home. These easy changes help the mind to understand that not all change needs to be difficult. Once you start, it’s easier to add other changes too. 

Think positive, practice gratitude

Think positive

Whether your outlook on life is positive or negative, it has an impact on your health. If you are a “glass half empty” personality it is likely the thoughts that run through your head are mostly negative and your outlook on life pessimistic. Writing a daily gratitude list changes perspective from negative to positive. Add 5 new items on your gratitude list each day and feel the optimism that arises. This optimism has positive health benefits including reduced levels of distress and rates of depression, better heart health and better coping skills. Some scientists believe these health benefits come from the reduction of stress on the body. 

Five a day

Eat five servings of vegetables a day to reduce the risk of developing some cancers. Vegetables with the most powerful phytonutrients that protect against cancer are the ones with the boldest colors like broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, grapes and leafy greens. Try to add more whole grains, peas and beans into your meals. Eating these carbohydrate-rich foods with a healthy fat or lean protein will mean you won’t get hungry between meals.

If you struggle with the idea of five a day, try carrot and celery sticks, cherry tomatoes, broccoli florets, grapes, berries, and dried fruits that you can pick at. Alternatively, whizz the vegetables into a blender and mix into a meat dish like cottage pie or a chilli.

Daily exercise

Daily exercise keeps you young, improving your eyesight, keeps blood pressure within normal range, improves muscle strength, lowers cholesterol and improves bone density. Studies show that just ten minutes of exercise by those who are usually sedentary makes a difference. Go for a brisk walk, dance around your living room to your favourite tracks, take your kids to the park or show them how its done by skipping rope, playing hop-scotch or spinning a hula-hoop. Check out our article dedicated on the importance of fitness

Daily exercise

Sleep well

Meditation and yoga can help if you have trouble sleeping. Keep caffeine intake low in the afternoon and create a relaxing room where you want to sleep. This means keeping the room dark, turning off all technical devices. Keep a nightly journal and write down all the things that are worrying you. This gives some perspective and helps to alleviate the worry you feel.  

Don’t over-train

If you’re already at the gym, but still cannot lose the last few pounds, it’s probably because you are overtraining. Your body needs to rest and restore and if there is no time for that, you will begin to feel tired, moody and stressed. Breaking up your routine in a variety of activities can help by building in rest breaks. You might weight train on days one and three, swim on days four and six, cycle on day five and rest the next two days. 

Make changes as a group

Include your family and friends in your new healthy lifestyle. Let them know your plans and ask them to join you or at least support you. You can go for walks together or plan healthier meals together. Not only will you be feeling healthier, you can motivate each other, and this can bring you closer together.

Keep motivated by signing up an event like a sponsored walk, cycle ride or run. Why not set an even higher goal and complete the London Marathon. This gives your exercise routine a purpose and adds to the motivating factor. It’s also a chance to meet up with other people and benefit a charity, which is a good feeling on its own.