ways to feel healthier

There are so many ways you can get a positive health fix, without breaking the bank. Being healthy is all about simplicity. Follow these ten simple steps to rediscover the healthier you…

1. Get close to nature

Ecopsycologists, people that study the relationship between humans and nature, have found that we have a need to be close to our environment on a daily basis. Studies have proven that patients in hospitals with green spaces to look out onto heal faster than patients without the environment around them. Studies have also proven that towns and cities with green spaces also have long-term mental health benefits.

Scientifically, outdoor spaces have more negative ions in the air – these ions help to energize us and make us feel better. The phrase “get some fresh air, it will make you feel better” is almost certainly true. It’s a simple remedy and is completely free! Just step outside or go for a walk, and you will find you feel healthier.

2. Eat more fruit and veg

It sounds obvious, and we are told to do it so often, but most people still don’t eat enough fruit and veg. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 67.5 percent of adults ate fruit less than two times a day in 2009, and 73.7 percent ate vegetables less than three times a day.

A good idea to integrate fruit and vegetables into your diet is to have at least one portion with every meal, and then two additional snacks throughout the day. It is also important to have a variety of fruit and veg, so try to plan your meals to ensure they are varied enough.

3. Stretch

If your flexibility is no longer what it was, you don’t have to resign yourself to aches and pains as part of your daily life, just start stretching! From your 20s onwards your connective tissues naturally stiffen, your muscles shorten and your joints become drier, but with some gentle stretching every day and some mobility exercises, like circling, bending and extending your arms and legs, you can stay flexible and mobile.

4. Slow down

Most of us are guilty of doing everything too fast, rushing from one appointment to the next, impatiently stressing over the smallest of problems. Try stopping, just for a minute, and see the effect it can have. It doesn’t mean doing everything at half the pace, it means stop and look around you, becoming mindful of your surroundings and allow time to do this.

As a rule, try to allow an extra 20 minutes into each of your daily activities, to give yourself time to read the paper before work or chat to your neighbor. You will feel all the better for it.

5. Sleep

When you lead a busy life it’s tempting to cut down on your sleep – but it’s definitely not the healthy solution to your time management issues. A US Government report revealed that around a third of the population do not get enough sleep. Experts say we need between seven to nine hours of sleep per night, and a regular sleeping pattern to stay healthy.

6. Cut out junk food

It’s another obvious, but simple, way to stay healthy. Avoiding processed, highly refined, and artificial foods will go some way to ensuring your body and mind become healthier. Eating fruit and vegetables boosts your immunity, high-fiber meals increase your energy levels, and fish helps maintain your mental functionality.

Make sure you know what you are putting into your mouth – always check the food labels and restrict your intake of harmful fats.

7. Respect the sun

The sun can be helpful, but it can also be incredibly dangerous. Be careful and aware of your exposure to the sun, and stay safe. Ensure you use essential UVA and UVB protective sunscreen and apply regularly, even if the sun is not obvious, it can still cause damage to your skin, including premature aging, cancer, and burning. Never use a factor below 15, avoid the sun between 11 and three, and if you notice anything unusual about your skin (including new moles or abnormal moles) make sure you consult your doctor.

8. Drink more water

Most of us could do with drinking more water, whether you are working out in the gym, going for a relaxing stroll or just sitting at your desk, it’s vital to your wellbeing. If you allow yourself to become even a little dehydrated, you lose energy and mental capacity. Make it easy for yourself and always carry a bottle of water, if it’s there you will drink more. The Dietary Reference Intake for water is between 2.7 liters and 3.7 liters per day.

9. Get active

The US National Institute of Health says that exercise is the most effective anti-aging pill ever discovered, and researchers have linked exercise with mood enhancement, preventing anxiety and providing meaningful activity to aid depression.

The golden rule is to achieve 10,000 steps per day, this will help to aid weight loss, reduce the risk of heart disease and improve musculoskeletal health.

10. Drink less alcohol

Research has shown that adults that drink over the recommended amount per week increase their risk of depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease among just a few health risks associated with drinking too much alcohol. Try to stick to the recommended amount and not drink it all in one go!

By Charlotte H.