By Coach Nadia Popova
How healthy is your lifestyle right now? Which of these habits are you guilty of and what can you do to live better?
Nowadays, it takes deliberate effort to be active enough each day. Everyone seems to be so busy with other things that we have NEVER enough time to get active.
By the end of a week, you should have clocked up 2.5-5 hours of moderate-intensity activity such as a brisk walk, golf game, swimming or mowing the lawn. Alternatively, you could do 1.5-2.5 hours of vigorous activity like jogging, aerobics, fast cycling, soccer or other activities.
If you don’t think you’re doing enough, then try building more activity into each day by:
- Walking or cycling for short journeys
- Parking further away
- Taking the stairs instead of the elevator
- Meeting friends for a walk rather than a meal or a movie (dah)
- Doing more incidental exercise at home by cleaning or gardening.
Start with small changes and build up. A step counter can be a great motivator, encouraging you to reach 10,000 steps a day.
Many chronic diseases (including coronary heart disease, cancer and diabetes) share common lifestyle risk factors such as:
- physical inactivity
- poor nutrition
- risky alcohol consumption.
How to Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes?
Healthy habit formation requires practice and routine. After approximately 21 days, engaging in a new behavior begins to feel natural. This means you could form a healthy habit in just three weeks.
Habit replacement is the most effective method for making lifestyle changes. Instead of just stopping an unhealthy habit or simply starting a healthy one, find a behavior that needs improvement and replace it with something related. For example, the habit of snacking while watching TV can be replaced with basic hand-weight exercises, or walking on a treadmill while watching TV.
There are three primary categories of lifestyle changes. They are:
Psychological changes: This includes changes to your attitude, your mood and the way you manage stress. To make healthy psychological changes, you may find it useful to join a support group or keep a journal.
Behavioral changes: While all lifestyle changes are technically behavior, this category refers to things like your sleeping habits, activity level and planning efforts.
Dietary changes: Making healthy changes to your diet can help you lose weight, balance hormone levels and manage pain. These changes will include controlling portion sizes, drinking more water and following a nutritious diet.
The most effective way to make lasting changes in your life is to start small. This includes approaching each habit you have and evaluating the way it is impacting your lifestyle. Then make simple, realistic changes as needed.
Changing just one behavior at a time can lead to lasting changes in your life, and is much less intimidating than attempting to completely overhaul your current lifestyle.
Maintaining a regular sleeping pattern. Sleep is one of the most important things that we do for our bodies. It is recommended that adults sleep for eight hours every night.
Keeping stress to a minimum. Stress can get in the way of our health as well as our life goals. When we feel overly stressed, it can affect the other elements of health that are important. For example, when we feel stressed we may lose our appetite. It can also affect our sleep and make us feel sluggish, which can lead to us being less active. Everyone will find that they are able to manage their stress in different ways. Finding the way that works for you is really important for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Having fun! Fun is so important for a healthy style. Doing activities that we enjoy, and seeing our friends, can help to boost our mental well-being. This is just as important for a healthy lifestyle as our physical well-being.