Your health is largely in your own hands. The food you eat, the habits you cultivate and the lifestyle choices you make all have a direct impact on your physical health and mental well-being.
Some of the main causes of death worldwide are heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. These conditions are all, to some extent, preventable.
Engaging with a healthcare team as dedicated to your health as you are, can help you tailor a lifestyle plan specific to your context.
What Makes A Healthy Diet?
There are so many different diets out there today, that it can be overwhelming to make a choice. The most important factors to consider when making food choices are:
- Feasibility: Will you be able to maintain this diet as a lifestyle, as opposed to the short term?
- Cost: Does your food fit into your budget?
- Balanced Nutrition: Are you consuming a variety of foods from all food groups, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats?
- Portion Control: Do you feel satisfied after your meals? Do you still feel hungry, or are you uncomfortably full?
- Limiting Sugars and Processed Foods: It is a good idea to reduce your consumption of sugary snacks, sugary beverages, and highly processed foods that are often high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories.
- Hydration: Are you drinking plenty of water throughout the day to stay properly hydrated?
Am I Doing Enough Physical Activity?
Physical activity can range from taking a daily walk to intense exercise. Your level of physical activity should match up with your overall life goals. Are you planning a strenuous hike with your family? Then it might be a good idea to do aerobic endurance exercises in preparation. Do you spend long hours after a desk doing a stressful job? Then you might benefit from calming, stretching and strength-building associated with yoga.
Here are the different types of physical activity that you might consider working into your exercise plan:
- Aerobic Exercise: Engaging in activities that elevate your heart rate and improve cardiovascular fitness, such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, or cycling.
- Strength Training: Incorporating exercises that build muscle strength and endurance, like weightlifting or bodyweight exercises.
- Flexibility and Balance: Practicing activities that enhance flexibility, balance, and mobility, such as yoga or tai chi.
How often do we sacrifice our sleep for some task, goal or in-the-moment comfort? New parents know the value of sleep all too well, but we often take its health benefits for granted.
Getting adequate sleep is crucial for physical restoration, immune function, cardiovascular health, cognitive function, blood sugar regulation and emotional well-being. There is almost no aspect of our health not influenced by sleep.
Here are some tips for you to get higher-quality sleep:
- Consistency: Establishing a regular sleep schedule and aiming for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
- Sleep Environment: Creating a comfortable and conducive sleep environment, which includes a dark, quiet, and cool room.
- Time Management: Effectively managing your time so that you don’t sacrifice sleep for productivity.
Stress Management And Avoiding Harmful Habits
Our level of stress is often intertwined with the habits we create to manage said stress. Eating too much or too little, not getting enough physical activity or exercising too much, abusing alcohol or other drugs, or smoking – all are linked to how we deal with the stress of life.
Making healthy choices becomes exponentially more difficult when we are stressed, so it is vital that we have a plan to deal with stress when it arises.
You might have seen these tips before, but that is because they work! Here are some ideas for helping to reduce your stress:
- Relaxation techniques: Incorporating stress-reducing practices like meditation, deep breathing, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation.
- Healthy outlets: Engaging in hobbies, activities, or social interactions that bring joy and relaxation.
- Planning ahead: We might not be able to predict everything life throws at us, but planning your day, week, month and year ahead can help you manage your time and resources and lighten your cognitive load.
Frequently Asked Questions
There really is no one-size-fits-all approach to food. The diet that is best for your health is the one that you can maintain and that aligns with your life goals.