Making simple changes in diet, regular exercise and managing your stress are the keys to good health and longevity. It’s simple modifications that really matter rather than setting big goals which most people find difficult to stay with. A lot of living healthier has to do with how you think, what you say to yourself each day and the choices you make when stressed for time or under emotional duress. It’s so easy to pick the wrong food, skip a meal or reach out for a snack even when you are not hungry, miss out on exercise, drink excessively, sleep late, blame it on some situation or the other, or assume that there’s always plenty of time to get it right. Your wellbeing is really a lot about you and it shows in your body, your behaviour, and your sense of ease.
Here I have put together a really simple list that may help you live healthier:
Think positive. It sounds really simple but it really isn’t. If you train your mind to catch your thoughts and stay off negativity, you will be building a healthier immune system which will help boost your overall health. It comes with practice and it is really worth it!
Eat vegetables. Raw, steamed and lightly stir fried is the best way to eat your vegetables. Aim for five servings a day. Try to go fully vegetarian 2-3 days a week. A diet high in vegetables reduces your risk of developing several types of cancers. Go for seasonal vegetables, fresh and colourful as these are the ones with most phytonutrients.
Eat small meals often. This is especially true for those who tend to have two heavy meals as done in most Nepali homes and then again indulge in heavy snacks. Instead opt to have five small meals through the day to keep your metabolism and energy levels steadily elevated. This also allows you to manage your weight, reduce cravings, and make healthier food choices. Know what you are putting into your body and you will make better choices.
Exercise every day. You can slow down the ageing process besides improving eye sight, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, improving bone density and lean muscle to name a few benefits of regular and organised exercise. You will not only live longer but also have more energy and better mental wellbeing with exercise. Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day can make a difference. I suggest at least 3-4 days of regular and organised exercise in a week and staying active the remaining days. If nothing, at least walk. Increase the intensity of your walk as you make progress.
Good sleep. It is one of the most essential aspects of wellbeing. We are slowly turning into sleep deprived people, working or socialising late into the night, watching TV, drinking and eating at odd hours that affect the quality of our sleep, etc. Your body needs to feel completely rested to repair and heal. Towards this, you must ensure that you sleep at the same time approximately every night and get 6-8 hours of good sleep on average every day. If you are highly stressed, it is also a good idea to get what is now termed as power naps, 15-20 minutes of shut eye in a relaxed environment in between your hectic schedule while driving or in your office behind closed doors with soothing meditative music on.
Begin with small changes. This will allow you to progress more effectively rather than get you overwhelmed and off track. Make lists that help you with your nutrition and your exercise programme. The written word does help you achieve your goals. Don’t make room for excuses, and even if you do deviate every now and then, accept it and move forward, back on schedule.