Your health is one of the most important things you need to protect over the course of your lifetime. Especially during current times of change, maintaining a healthy body and healthy mind set can make a huge difference in helping you enjoy the little things in life.
Staying active and keeping healthy may not be as difficult as you think. Keep reading to learn five top tips on how you can stay active and healthy during 2021’s challenging times.
Try your best to exercise daily
According to Harvard Health, regular exercise is essential to protecting your body from diseases and health conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure. As a result, it is always helpful to perform aerobic exercises for short periods of time daily, irregular long exercises.
A mix of daily activities, formal workouts and sports can play a role in getting you the cardiometabolic exercise you need for your health. Stretching every day is a must, along with strength and endurance training exercises two or three times a week. Both exercises for recreation and exercises for competition count towards your daily physical activity, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with some non-traditional exercises (such as yoga, dancing or skating) for your day’s worth of physical activity.
Prioritise nutritional food
As tempting as it may be to eat a fast food meal for lunch or skip breakfast for some coffee instead, your nutritional health should be one of your top priorities when aiming to keep healthy. Making sure your body intakes the right nutritional balance everyday will not only help your body feel good, but also freshen up your mind as well.
A few simple tips for nutritional eating recommended by the Australian Institute of Sport include:
- Consuming your protein through the day
- Staying hydrated
- Maintaining good gut health
- Choosing ‘whole foods’ over heavily processed foods.
Get a good night’s rest
Getting a good night’s worth of sleep is one other easiest yet most important step you can take to keep your body and mind healthy. Sleeping keeps your energy levels high and your body productive, even as you age. The Sleep Foundation Organisation recommends adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each day, with school age children ideally sleeping for nine to eleven hours and teens sleeping for eight to ten hours.
Other tips to help you get a good night’s rest include:
- Following a regular sleep schedule. Try your best to go to sleep and wake up at the same times of the day so that your body has an internal schedule to work with.
- Avoiding napping during the day or evening. Naps may keep you awake at night, causing your sleep schedule to change and messing up your body’s internal clock.
- Developing a bedtime routine. Children are taught to sleep with a bedtime routine, and the same strategy can be used on adults to help you get a good night’s rest. For some people, an effective bedtime routine may include reading a book, listening to calm music or drying off from a warm bath.
- Avoiding screens before bed. The light emitted from screens from your phone or tablet can make it difficult for you to fall asleep. As a result, it is best to either set your devices to ‘night mode’ to avoid the glaring screen, or avoid screens completely for half an hour before sleeping.
Avoid harmful substances
Many of us may turn to alcohol or a quick smoke when feeling stressed out. While this is normal behaviour, it is certainly not healthy. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), there is no safe level for drinking alcohol. Consuming alcohol in large amounts regularly can lead to a whole host of health problems such as:
- Mental and behavioural disorders (such as experiencing frequent delusions)
- Alcohol dependence
- The development of liver cirrhosis
- Increased risk of cancers and heart diseases.
Not only that, drinking alcohol irresponsibly can also inadvertently cause serious injuries resulting from violence or road accidents, crashes and collisions.
Smoking is another harmful habit to avoid, especially if you value your long term health. Smoking tobacco is clinically proven to cause non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, lung disease and increases the likelihood of suffering from a stroke. Smoking tobacco not only kills smokers themselves, but also those around them who are forced to inhale the tobacco (such as close family members and friends). Smoking poses a large threat to not only your personal long term health, but also the health of others around you.
Be mindful of the physical activity guidelines for your age group
Sometimes, it may be helpful to have a guide tailored to your personal circumstances to keep you accountable for your physical activity levels and health. The WHO’s physical activity guidelines do just this, by developing different levels of physical activity to individuals based on their ages.
For example, young children and teens aged between five to 17 years are recommended to perform at least one hour of moderate to vigorous activity involving mainly aerobic activities per day. In contrast, adults aged between 18 and 64 are recommended to be active on preferably all days of the week, adding up to 2.5 to 5 hours of moderate physical activity per week. The WHO also recommends different physical activities for individuals living with disabilities or pregnant women.
Your local health practitioner may also provide you with physical activity guidelines specific to your health and circumstances. Local general practitioners as well as complementary and alternative medicine practitioners such as chiropractors may recommend physical activities to perform based on your health goals and your lifestyle.
Staying active and healthy is no easy feat, however doing so is sure to reward you with an enjoyable and fulfilling life. Be sure to apply the top five tips above to help make your journey staying healthy and active easier.
Dr. Paula Basilio (Chiropractor) is the owner and Chiropractor at My Back Relief Clinic Dulwich Hill as well as Associate Supervisor at Macquarie University Chiropractic Clinic (Eastwood student clinic).
Paula studied both her Bachelors of Chiropractic Science (BChiroSc) and Masters of Chiropractic (MChiro) at Sydney’s Macquarie University.