Seven Tips for staying healthy – young and healthy
by Francis O’Neill
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Here are seven tips for staying healthy…
The chances are as we get older, and particularly when we move into retirement from work (although certainly not retirement from life if the elderly folk I know are anything to go by), we are prone to get less active but also we may more easily over-indulge on our eating, drinking and taking life easy.
All things in moderation though and we know that keeping fit and healthy are equally important for how do we look after ourselves – no matter what our age.
As we say, prevention is better than cure and making a few adjustments in the way we live will help us to prolong our health, avoid getting ill and coming to rely heavily on medical fixes. So here are the seven tips for staying young and healthy, to help maintain a long and good life.
You may find in addition that these will help you to lose weight if you need to.
1. Get Enough Exercise
Get out and go for a 20 minute walk – or cycle ride or a swim. Do it daily.
These days we have come to rely less on our bodies for getting around and more on our motor vehicles. Years ago people relied less on cars and walked or cycled to their nearest shop, school, place of work.
One might add that at work, back then, there was probably more physical movement than today too. Today so many of us can spend the working day sitting down.
Our physical inactivity is one of the main reasons for a host of concerns and diseases. We need to add in exercise into our routine if our normal work does not require us to exert ourselves physically.
Take things gently
If you haven’t exercised for a long time you will need to take things gently and build up – don’t do too much too soon, pace it!
It is not necessary for exercise to be that strenuous either but it does help to have at least one exercise in your routine that causes you to pant a bit – like squats or pushups which are good cardio-vascular exercises and help build muscle too.
Moderate exercise, with the prime example being walking, will be an effective way to exercise, especially if you need to lower your blood pressure, and definitely if you’re just beginning your fitness programme.
Get help if you need it
If you have a medical condition it is wise to see your doctor for his or her advice first. If you are somehow stuck in your home, or disabled, take a look on the Web for exercises you might use to keep yourself fit. Broadly regular physical movement is going to help.
Walking and stretching
If you spend a lot of time sitting down, get up and walk around every 30 minutes or so. Exercise that involves gentle stretching (e.g. touching your toes), getting up and down steps or stairs, sitting down and getting up again off a kitchen chair, then later off an armchair, is all good for building leg muscle and helping you get fit.
Get a routine going
Look to getting a routine together – that you toughen up and develop as you get stronger. Do a number of repetitions on each exercise and build up – try five and build up to ten or more for example.
Exercise such as walking and stretching should be done daily. With more intense exercise consider doing for three or four times a week for around 30 minutes each session, so that your body can also rest and recover. By the way you can expect to ache a bit in the area or muscles you are exercising – that is quite normal, particularly if you haven’t exercised in years.
2. Sleep when you’re sleepy
This may sound self-evident but a great many of us do have a tendency to stay up late even when our body is telling us that it is time to sleep.
Sleep experts remind us that our natural rhythm is to sleep in the night and be active during the day – sounds obvious. However quite a lot of us choose to stay up late into the night.
Some people because of their work have less choice in the matter. Others do have a choice but instead have got into the habit of remaining active at night and sleeping well into the day – or not so well and getting only a few hours sleep. While we can do this for a time, the argument is that it will eventually take a toll on our health.
Holistic health practitioners say that this kind of unnatural living is one of the contributing factors in the causation of cancer and other diseases.
Catnapping is healthy
If you are suffering from a shortage of sleep-time and are able to catnap then do so. This is one sure way of refreshing your system but it shouldn’t be an alternative to regular sleep at a regular time. Twenty minutes catnap is about right. Going over that can leave you drowsy – see also power nap.
3. Wash with cool water before going to bed
Sounds simple enough. After a long day wash with cool — rather than hot — water. The cool water will help to relax you and prepare you for a deep refreshing sleep.
4. Get up early every day
Following on from getting regular sleep, the old proverb, Early to bed, early to rise makes a person healthy, wealthy and wise, is appropriate here.
It may not bring you wealth but it will certainly help you to stay healthy — and bottom line your health is more important than your wealth. Your body needs just enough sleep, not too much and not too little — around 7 to 8 hours but varies from person to person.
5. Eat when you feel hungry
Now this is a tough one to get to grips with because most of us have learnt to eat at set times and we will tend to eat at those times regardless of whether we really need to.
It is actually better for us to eat when we are hungry (taking small portions) as the danger is that we will not digest our food properly eating it when we don’t need it. Acidity and indigestion can begin, and this contributes to the likelihood of other more complex diseases taking root.
6. Do some fasting
Another toughie. It stands to reason that it is good to give our digestive system a rest periodically. Consider refraining from eating anything altogether for one complete day a month — some experts might recommend one day week for this.
Alternatively only eat a small amount of raw food – such as fruit – for one complete day a month. Drink only water. This procedure will both give your digestive organs a rest and also help in the elimination of waste from your body.
I’d suggest you combine the practice with dipping into an inspirational book or follow a spiritual pursuit for that day. Heck everything we take in is part of our diet. I would go further to suggest not watching television for at least one day a month – and that could be the same day. Yes I know the madness of it!
7. Perform meditation on a regular basis
Your body is linked to your mind. Many of the diseases of our time are psychosomatic. Stress and anxiety take their toll on our physical health. Meditation is a mental exercise which, among other things, allows you to detach yourself from the worries of life. Learn a simple technique and do it regularly. Check out the Meditation starter guide for more help on this.