To improve your physical health, it requires more than just an occasional trip to the gym or a fleeting attempt at eating healthy.
It’s about cultivating daily habits that nourish, energise, and sustain you.
This blog aims to guide you through practical strategies to enhance your physical health and wellbeing.
Ways to Improve Your Physical Health
Physical activity is the secret sauce to maintaining and improving your overall health.
Engaging in regular exercise can work wonders, from burning calories to enhancing your mood, and boosting brain function.
It contributes to improved heart health, better sleep, increased energy levels, and decreased risk for chronic diseases.
The beauty of exercise is that it doesn’t need to be overly complex or intense.
How to get started: Start with simple activities.
Aim for 15 minutes of moderate-intensity activity a few times a week.
Start with something simple like walking.
As you build stamina, gradually incorporate more rigorous activities such as weight lifting, high-intensity interval training, or sports.
Dabble in different fitness activities – from yoga classes to hiking trails – to discover what you enjoy.
The key is to make exercise enjoyable, turning it into a regular habit rather than a chore. Consistency is vital in reaping the benefits of physical activity.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Feeding your body with the right nutrients is essential for good health.
A balanced diet ensures that your body gets a variety of nutrients it needs to function optimally.
Eating a range of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats can reduce your risk of chronic diseases, improve longevity, and enhance your mood and energy levels.
How to get started: Begin with educating yourself about different food groups and their nutritional value.
Aim to balance your meals by including portions from each food group.
Contrary to popular belief, a balanced diet doesn’t mean completely eliminating ‘bad’ foods.
It’s about practicing moderation. Indulge in your favourite treats occasionally, but make sure that most of your dietary choices are nutrient-dense.
Meal planning and preparation can go a long way in maintaining a balanced diet.
It allows you to control ingredients, portion sizes, and ensures you always have a healthy meal on hand.
Staying well-hydrated is an essential part of good health.
Water plays a key role in your body’s vital functions, from the digestion and absorption of nutrients to maintaining your body’s temperature and flushing out waste and toxins.
Additionally, it contributes to mental clarity, healthy skin, and aids in weight management.
Dehydration can lead to headaches, fatigue, dry skin, and in severe cases, heat stroke.
How to get started: Start with the general recommendation of 2 litres of water per day.
However, remember that your needs can vary based on your physical activity level, age, and other factors.
Make it a habit to carry a water bottle with you wherever you go.
If you find plain water unappealing, you can enhance its flavour by infusing it with a lemon, lime, or other fruit.
Get Adequate Sleep
Adequate, quality sleep is a cornerstone of health that’s as important as nutritious food and regular exercise.
Good sleep enhances mood, boosts the immune system, sharpens brain function, and can even help control weight.
Chronic lack of sleep can lead to serious health conditions like heart disease, obesity, and diabetes, and negatively impact mental health.
How to get started: Prioritise sleep by setting a regular sleep schedule, aiming for 7-9 hours each night, and try to stick to it, even on weekends.
Ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to good sleep: dark, quiet, and cool.
Establish relaxing bedtime routines like reading a book, listening to calming music, or taking a warm bath.
Limit exposure to screens before bedtime as the blue light emitted can interfere with your sleep cycle.
If you struggle with sleep, consider seeking professional advice.
Limit Alcohol and Avoid Smoking
Limiting alcohol and avoiding smoking are critical steps towards better health.
Excessive alcohol can lead to liver damage, certain cancers, and can negatively impact mental health.
Smoking increases the risk of various diseases, including lung cancer and heart disease.
How to get started: If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation.
Aim to drink less than weekly recommendation of 14 units.
For smoking, the best choice is to quit completely.
Reach out to health professionals or local support groups to help with the quitting process, which can be challenging but immensely beneficial to your health.
Regular Health Check-ups
Regular health check-ups are key to preventing diseases and catching potential issues early.
They can provide a comprehensive overview of your current health status and help you make informed decisions.
How to get started: Schedule regular visits with your primary care physician.
This should include standard blood tests, blood pressure monitoring, and other preventative screenings as recommended based on your age, sex, and family history.
Proactive engagement with your health is far better than reactive healthcare.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your body and mind.
It can lead to various health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, anxiety, and depression.
Learning how to effectively manage stress can improve your overall wellbeing and boost your physical health.
How to get started: Incorporate stress-management techniques into your daily routine.
This could include meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, or simply taking time out for hobbies and activities you enjoy.
Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet can also help manage stress levels.
If your job is the main cause for your stress, ask your company to host wellbeing workshops that help cope with stress and support your wellbeing.
If you feel overwhelmed, consider seeking professional help.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for your overall health.
Being overweight or obese can lead to various health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.
A healthy weight can increase longevity, improve your energy levels, and enhance your overall quality of life.
How to get started: Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight involves a combination of balanced nutrition and regular physical activity.
Seek professional help if necessary.
A dietitian can provide personalised advice on healthy eating habits, and a fitness trainer can create an exercise plan that suits your needs and preferences.
Prioritise Mental Health
Physical health is tightly linked with mental health.
Chronic stress, anxiety, and depression can not only decrease your quality of life but also lead to physical health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and a weakened immune system.
How to get started: Practice mindfulness and relaxation exercises, like meditation or yoga, to alleviate stress and promote mental wellbeing.
Connect with others.
Social interactions can greatly improve your mood and outlook.
Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Therapists and mental health professionals can provide strategies and treatments to improve your mental health, which in turn, will positively impact your physical health.
Get Regular Sunlight
Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which is essential for many body functions, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth, supporting the immune system, and aiding in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
Even when it’s cloudy, the sun can still send out special light (called UV rays) that helps our body make vitamin D.
How to get started: Aim for 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight, several times per week.
The exact time will depend on your skin type, location, and the time of year.
Always remember to protect your skin with sunscreen if you plan on being outside for extended periods to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.