8 Tips to Promote Good Health

health clubOur health is precious. If we are in good health we are more energised, alert, motivated and ready to take action towards our goals. However according to a study carried out by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) which is to be published in June 2009 the number of adults (in America) who follow a healthy lifestyle is actually declining! What happens in America often follows suit in the UK.

MUSC researchers urge people, especially the middle-aged, to adopt healthier lifestyles:…

“Regular physical activity and a prudent diet can reduce the risk of premature death and disability from a variety of conditions including coronary heart disease, and are strongly related to the incidence of obesity.” says Dana King M.D.

Life is going to throw us all sort of things and depending on how we deal with these things and how we look after ourselves we can sink or swim. We can be our own worst enemy or our greatest ally.

About 18 months ago I realised that my health and fitness was not what it should be. I had allowed myself to become overweight, I was still smoking and was easily drinking too much red wine than was good for me. And while I did the occasional yoga based class I really wasn’t doing enough to maintain a good level of fitness or healthy weight.

So I decided to do something about it…I stopped smoking with the help of nicotine substitutes, I started going regularly to the gym, taking it easy to begin with and I have cut down my alcohol intake, having 4 non alcohol days per week and restricting my intake to within the UK government guidelines.

Taking charge of my health has given me a tremendous feeling of accomplishment…and it’s not all hard work. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is filled with fun, delicious and nutritious food and has left me feeling amazing!

If you feel that your health could do with a boost then try these 8 Tips to Promote Good Health. Please note I am not a health expert, these are all things that have worked for me and that I do now.

1) Learn About Nutrition

Make sure you’re meeting all of your bodies nutritional needs by reading up on nutrition.

I think we all know by now that we need to be eating five portions of fruit and veg a day, quit smoking and drink a moderate amount of alcohol but did you know that according to qualified nutritionist Maggie James, of Nutrition To the Rescue, the ‘Recommended Daily Allowance’ of nutrients stated on food packaging is actually the minimum that you need to prevent deficiency diseases in most people.

For low cost e-books on nutrition from Maggie James see here:

Nutrition to The Rescue

2) Check Your Body Mass Index

Find out what is a healthy and appropriate weight for your height by checking your BMI (Body Mass Index). You can do this here:

NHS BMI Calculator

Please note that this is just for a guideline – people who are pregnant or who have a lot of muscle may weigh heavier and still be healthy.

3) Be A Healthy Weight For Your Height

If you are underweight for your height then think healthy, fit and toned and not skinny! The first step would be to see your doctor for a check up.

If you need to lose weight you need to burn more calories than your body needs to maintain it’s current weight.

To lose 1lb of fat per week you need to burn an excess of 3,500 calories on top of your everyday needs. That works out at 500 calories per day. So for example if according to your level of daily activity you need 2000 calories a day to stay the same weight then you will need to eat 500 calories less to lose weight.

4) Check Those ingredients and Count those Calories

When I started to lose weight I was really surprised by how many calories were in some food stuffs that I assumed were low in calories. Low fat does not necessarily mean low in calories – watch out for the sugar content.

Get into the habit of reading labels to check for ingredients and calories. If you are trying to lose weight keep a written record of how many calories you are consuming each day. Even if you only do this for a couple of weeks you will soon be able to keep score in your head.

5) Stop eating when you feel content rather than full.

This is something I am learning to do. I was brought up not to waste any food and it feels somehow wrong to leave food on the plate. I’ve now started to make less and give myself much smaller portions and not piling up my plate. It’s also a matter of being aware while you are eating of how you are feeling and stopping when you feel content.

6) Get Active!

There is loads of evidence to support the benefits of having a regular exercise routine. See what BUPA says here.

Health benefits of exercise

You can start off small and get creative about types of exercising. If you can’t manage or cant stand the gym then getting off the bus a couple of stops earlier all helps. It all adds up!

Exercise really can be fun and can leave you feeling amazing. The trick is to find something that you really enjoy doing so it feels more like play than hard work! Perhaps you enjoy walking the dog, playing with the cat or gardening. Some people enjoy running on a treadmill, while others love dancing, playing team sports or going to gym classes. Don’t be afraid to try new things. I’ve recently, started to attend Body Pump (weight training) and Body Attack (aerobics) at my local gym. Or get a Wi Fit!

If you haven’t exercised for a while, are over or underweight or have any health issues then get yourself checked out by a doctor beforehand.

7) Adopt A Healthy Work/Life Balance

Good self-care is the foundation stone of a rich and fulfilling life. Self-care includes adequate rest and time doing things that bring you joy and energy, and having a balance between work and personal life. Practising self-care can make you feel you are being selfish. But taking care of your precious self is important for your present and future well-being. It also means you are in a better position to be there for others. One analogy is the flight attendant telling adult passengers to put oxygen masks on themselves before their babies in case of emergency, in order to be breathing well enough to care for their children.

8) Have a really good laugh!

Laughter is very powerful and research has shown that it triggers the release of endorphins and can boost the immune system. I make it a point to watch as many comedy shows as I can and spend time with people who make me laugh.

Here’s something to make you smile…

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~ by Sandstorm on June 17, 2009.

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