What does ‘healthy lifestyle’ mean to you? I asked a few people what they thought a healthy lifestyle was. These are some of their answers:
- “It’s more than 30 minutes a day exercise”
- “It’s having a career or job where you aren’t sitting down all the time”
- “It’s eating well and not drinking too much alcohol”
- “It’s being active and eating well, doing yoga, meditation and drinking lots of water”
- “It’s not being overweight”
- “It’s looking after yourself”.
My thoughts of what a healthy lifestyle is
My own thoughts on what healthy lifestyle is, and what scientific research seems to be pointing towards, includes:
- eating healthy most of the time – if you need some help check out my healthy eating guide here
- going easy on alcohol, if you drink at all
- moving your body regularly throughout the day
- enjoying some planned exercise everyday
- getting some resistance exercise at least twice a week
- maintaining a healthy weight
- managing your stress levels
- always learning and challenging your brain
- not smoking
- getting enough sleep
- getting some time in nature regularly
- and having social contact with family and friends.
Measure your health and get help
Something we often forget about is measuring our health. See your doctor at least annually for a check up – your GP can measure your blood pressure, do blood tests and a skin check and organise referrals to other health professionals, as needed.
Don’t forget an annual eye check with your optician and six monthly dental checks at the dentist.
If you have any health conditions you might also see specialist doctors and other allied health professionals like a podiatrist or physiotherapist.
If you exercise regularly one your own maybe it’s time to have an assessment by an exercise physiologist or PT to make sure your exercise is achieving what you want it to achieve, whether it is cardiovascular fitness, muscle size or tone, balance or functional fitness.
And, of course, maybe it’s time to see a dietitian or nutritionist for a diet check up. Take the results of your doctor’s assessment as the dietitian can advise on how to increase iron, decrease ‘bad’ cholesterol, increase ‘good’ cholesterol and generally good all the nutrition your body requires while helping you to achieve a healthy weight.
Are you feeling stressed or had a lot of big life events in the past 12 months? Then perhaps asking your GP for a referral to a psychologist is a good idea. A psychologist can help teach you techniques for managing stress and anxiety and help you re-frame experiences for a positive outlook.
Are you a smoker and want to quit? Ask your doctor about quitting smoking or call Quitline on 13 78 48 or check out the Quitline website here.
Everyone is a bit different about what they think a healthy lifestyle is, and what works for one doesn’t always work for another.
The point is that you make an effort to live the healthiest life you can. You won’t always be perfect but that’s okay. Be persistent, if you fall off the wagon today with healthy eating/exercise/smoking/whatever, tomorrow is a new day. Start again. Check out how to set goals here.
What are your thoughts? What helps to make your lifestyle healthy? And what can you do more of to improve your lifestyle? Email me with your suggestions.
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