We all want a healthy and fit body. But just like anything in life, it takes some work. But the effort sure is worth the work. So if you are among the few willing to delay gratification to achieve results then this is for you read on.
1. Eat Fruit and Vegetable
Getting enough antioxidants (disease fighting vitamins and minerals) generally means eating enough fruit and vegetables – an acceptable guide being five portions daily. Fruits and vegetables should roughly make up about a third of the food eaten each day. Making sure your main meal is rich in vegetables is a good way towards achieving this, while snacking on fruit is another way to keep intake high.
2. Easy on Saturated Fats
Saturated fat found in foods such as chocolate and cake is one of the major contributors to serious illness such as heart disease. Most of the fats we consume should from unsaturated fat – the good fats that comprise Omega 3, 6 and 9 and are found in foods like oily fish, seeds, nuts, olives and avocados. Several major studies have linked high (two or more portions a day) red meat intake to cancer. The accepted advice is to eat more fish – about 80 g every other day.
3. Take up aerobic exercise
Many people lead overwhelmingly sedentary lives. Investing in your health by walking, cycling or swimming for 30 minutes a day is one of the key ways to stay young. Aerobic exercise – which doesn’t have to be too vigorous – maximizes the amount of oxygen in your blood and releases endorphins, natural painkiller that promote an increased sense of well – being.
4. Get Enough Fibre
Many people don’t eat enough fibre. Recommendations vary, but around 26 grams a day seems to be about right. It’s important to eat enough insoluble fibre (from bread, for example) as well as soluble fibre (the main source being vegetables). A fibre – rich diet is important for a healthy digestive system and hart, as well as protecting against serious disease such as cancer.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
humble H2O is vital for the proper working of all outrogans, from the liver and kidneys to the lymph system and our skin. Estimates vary, but most advice suggests that adults should drink at least 1.5 litres of water a day. This is especially important in hot climates where the risk of dehydration is far greater.
6. Looking after you Skin
As the largest of body’s organs, the skin reveals plenty about our age. Taking care of your skin is one of the key secrets to looking young. Skin that has overdosed on sun can end up looking wrinkled and taut. Be sensible in the sun, particularly during the hottest periods of the day. Cover up with light cloths and a hat, and wear sunscreen – organic if possible.
7. Go easy on the alcohol
Official advice on how much we should drink varies from country to country and can be confusing. In UK government advice is to drink not more than two to three units of alcohol a day. What we do know is that long – term consumption of large quantities of alcohol lead to permanent damage to major organs such as the brain, throat, stomach, intestines and liver.
8. Do not overeat
There is growing evidence that people who do not overeat live longer. In west, obesity is a big problem; in Africa, too, it’s cause of growing concern – almost a fifth of adolescents in South Africa are now overweight. Many of us eat too much without even realizing, and by doing so put on weight while straining the major organs or the body. Try cutting down portion sizes at mealtimes by a third.
9. Get 7 – 8 hours sleep a night
The body does most of its repairing when you’re asleep. Cells regenerate at a faster pace at night and body tissues are repaired. There is even evidence that too little sleep makes people age faster. There is little arguing with the fact that a good night’s sleep makes all the difference to energy and concentration levels the next day.
10. Stay away from cigarettes
Along term smoker increases his or her risk of a grim selection of illnesses that include various cancers, asthma, reduce lung capacity, high blood pressure and heart disease. More that 700 chemical compounds are found in cigarettes, some of which are toxic and not allowed in food. For anyone wanting to stay youthful for as long as possible smoking is no-go zone – on to of the risk of serious illness, a smoking habit ages skin prematurely and yellows skin and nails.
11. Limit caffeine intake
Studies on the effects of drinking too much tea and coffee are always in the news, and many are contradictory. What we do know is that high caffeine intake can adversely affect blood pressure and therefore heart health. Stick to one or two cups of tea or coffee a day, or cultivate a taste for herbal teas.
12. Take supplements
The market for vitamins and mineral supplements has rocketed in recent years. While not everyone agrees that dietary supplements are beneficial, most would agree that there is little harm in boosting your diet with a tablet packed with the vitamins and minerals the body needs to stay fit and healthy. A combined vitamin/mineral tablet is the best, and simplest, format. However, you should always take medical advice before taking supplements, especially if you are on medication.
13. Learn to meditate
No one finds meditation easy. The idea of sitting still and trying to calm the mind sounds far, far easier that it is in real life and demands time, dedication and patience. It is however, one of the best ways of keeping the mind calm and the problems and challenges of life in perspective. Regular meditation improves psychological wellbeing by reducing anxiety and stress levels, helping us to stay more fully in the present and to let go of negative thought processes.
14. Practice yoga regularly
According to yoga philosophy, it’s the flexibility of the spine not how old you are, that determines a person’s age. Introducing yoga into your daily or weekly routine is one of the best things you can do to stay young. Its benefits include improving posture, toning the skin and muscles, eliminating tension from the body, strengthening the core stomach muscles as well as those in the arms and legs.
15. Breathe properly
Yoga’s emphasis on breathing also brings huge emotional and psychological benefits, calming the mind, alleviating stress, anxiety and depression and helping us to focus on the here and now. But you don’t have to be a yoga enthusiast to breathe properly. Get used to breathing from your abdomen, not your chest. Experiment with taking long, slow breathe, with a greater emphasis on exhalation than inhalation. Taking even a minute a day to fill your lungs with oxygen can provide instant benefits.
16. Surround yourself with good friends
Numerous studies show that supportive friendships can provide emotional help during difficult times, as well as improve our health and increase longevity. Women tend to be naturally better at surrounding themselves with friends, but there is no inherent reason why this should be the case. A sense of belonging is crucial for emotional health and wellbeing and those without that network are far more likely to suffer from depression.
17. Find hobbies you enjoy and keep busy
Older people who look and feel young tend to have full busy lives. Make a point of discovering what you enjoy and do it regularly. As well as connecting you to other people, regular participation in a hobby can relieve stress and keep an element of fun high on the agenda. Taking this to its idea, turning a hobby into a career can mean there is no difference between work and play.
18. Remember to laugh often
As children know well, laugher is fun. It is also free and hugely beneficial to health – so much so that a whole industry has grown up around it in recent years in the form of laughter gyms and laughter yoga. Frequent laughter boost mood, improves brain functioning, lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. It connects you to thers, and may even protect against heart disease.
19. Discover massage
Regular massage can decrease anxiety and fatigue, boost energy and improve circulation and sleep. Psychologically, our sense of touch is hugely important and having a massage can immediately boost wellbeing. There are also a host of physical pay-offs, including helping to keep joints flexible. Most of all, it’s fun and versatile – an Indian head massage can feel very different from an aromatherapy treatment or the popular Japanese technique of Shiatsu.
20. Cultivate a positive attitude and enjoy life
Studies has shown that a person’s mental state and attitude can influence how well, and how long, they live. In one study, those who reported high levels of optimism had a 55% lower risk of death from premature causes. Take responsibility for your life and wellbeing. Discover what you enjoy, treat you body with respect and live each day as if it really were your last.
21. Keep stress levels low
Chronic stress in endemic in many societies and work related stress affects one in five people. High cortisol levels in the body, like those associated with chronic stress, can decrease bone density and muscle tissue, raise blood pressure, impair cognitive ability and lower immunity. Stress is generated when the body’s cortisol – infused ‘flight or fight’ response is generated and does not have a chance to return to normal. It is possible, however, to minimize stress through lifestyle.