For your body to be able to work properly, it needs the balance of a good diet, exercise and enough sleep. Too much of anything is bad, so allow us to help you get that balance right with this guide
With the Christmas and New Year celebrations well and truly gone, many of us are now looking to the future with pragmatism and with a new-found sense of purpose. After all, it wasn’t all that long ago when we made our new year’s resolutions. What did yours involve? A new, healthier lifestyle? How’s that going? Well – whether it’s going badly or brilliantly – this guide can help you remember what the most important factors are when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle. Balance is everything, so fixating on one aspect, such as fully focusing your time and energy on excessive exercise and toning – and therefore neglecting all the other important aspects, probably isn’t the best idea.
Balance work and leisure
Let’s begin dealing with something which far too many people neglect. You need some fun in your life! Of course, you need to work, but you also need to let off some steam and relax – both physically and mentally. After, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Getting the right balance between your work and leisure time is crucial in stabilising your happiness and mental health levels.
If you’re working overtime on any given shift, try to ensure it’s not a regular occurrence, whether that be because your boss is working you like a dog, or you think you’re a machine, limitless with infinite energy. Playing games, socialising, reading, watching films – all these activities can actually help tremendously in keeping your life in balance.
Food and drink
It always has been, and remains to be, very important to eat a balanced and varied diet in order to stay healthy and fit. And fluids are just as important. Fizzy drinks, containing lots of sugar, ideally should be kept down to a minimum. Everything in moderation. Health authorities recommend approximately two litres a day, but don’t forget that fruit and vegetables actually contain water, so it’s perhaps unnecessary to drink exactly that each day. One of the nicest yet healthiest diets we can think of sure does satisfy the soul! Eggs for breakfast, perhaps four, scrambled, with a bit of seasoning. Eggs are fantastic for high-quality proteins, vitamins, minerals and more.
Try a fruit salad for lunch; perhaps apple, mango and pineapple chunks (you can buy fresh fruit these days ready chopped from supermarkets, unfrozen), is a healthy and tasty treat for a midday meal.
For dinner, there are many ways you can vary chicken and rice; almost all vegetables would be a suitable addition to such a meal. Peas, tomatoes, spring onions, leeks would all be delicious ingredients to include in a chicken and rice meal. With a spot of seasoning, you’ll be smiling with every mouthful.
You also need to make sure you exercise regularly to keep your heart, lungs and muscles strong and healthy. If you walk to work – great! If you don’t, next time you need to see John up in IT, take the stairs instead of the lift. Little things like this can help burn off calories throughout the day. Cardio is a great exercise to do at the gym to burn off said undesirables, and we all know that to keep our muscles in shape we need to move them. Cardiovascular exercise – such as running on the treadmill, working the cross-trainer, or banging out a few miles on the rowing machine – makes your muscles stronger; and stronger muscles make for a more efficient and healthy body. Going to the gym immediately or soon after work is a great idea to help release any tension.
The recommended amount of sleep for an adult aged between 26 and 64 is 7-8 hours. Missing the odd night of sleep isn’t going to do you any harm, but if serious lack of sleep becomes a significant part of your life it can affect your overall health and make you prone to serious medical conditions, such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
By the same token, oversleeping is also linked with many of the same health risks, as well as the addition of cognitive issues including difficulty with memory.
This is why it’s important to make sure you have a healthy balance of sleep in your life, to complement the other aspects of your lifestyle. Get a good alarm clock – perhaps one which gradually lights up half an hour or so before the alarm goes off. If you’re dazzled by light when you wake up, you may be more prone to getting out of bed more promptly in the morning.
For teenagers aged between 14 and 17, the recommended amount of sleep is 8-10 hours. For younger adults aged 18 to 25 it’s 7-9 hours, and for older adults aged 65 and over, it’s 7-8 hours.
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