Every day, we’re bombarded with mixed messages regarding our health and wellbeing, with several different remedies and exercise routines promising to be the gateway to better health and improved fitness.
This post, courtesy of the cycling specialists at Start Fitness, aims to cut through the noise and provide some simple steps towards a healthier you, free of jargon and needless complication, breaking things down into easy and actionable segments of advice.
The simplest of lifestyle changes with a big impact, incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is a lot easier than you might previously have been led to believe.
Swapping out a bus or train commute for a leisurely cycle in the mornings will prime your body for a day of work, all while helping you keep fit.
If you’re a regular lift user at your workplace, use the stairs to raise your heart rate a little at intervals through the day, as scientists agree that this is the key to better coronary health.
Of course, combining this with a gym membership or a weekly five-a-side football game will cement these gradual gains over a longer period of time, but starting with small bursts of activity to break up a largely sedentary lifestyle is a small change that can lead to improved health almost instantly.
Conduct a snack audit
Have a think about what you’re eating in between your principal meals, and you might find that you’re filling yourself up with unhealthy snacks that negate whatever benefits you’re gaining from healthy meals.
Swapping crisps for low-fat, high-protein snacks such as Brazil nuts or cottage cheese (great on oatcakes) is a good place to start, but if you crave that salty crunch then vegetable crisps, made of healthier plants such as beetroot and sweet potato, could be the choice for you.
Of course, there are few things better for you than fresh fruit, so keep a fruit bowl to hand throughout the day to get yourself well on your way to your five or even ten-a-day. Remain sufficiently hydrated alongside these snacks and your daily food routine will be cleaner, leaner and greener.
Banish convenience food
If you’re out and about in the middle of the day, you might end up opting for a pre-packaged sandwich or a pasty for lunch.
While there’s nothing wrong with such choices in moderation, these lunch options are high in saturated fat and salt – so you’re doing your body and your bank balance no favours if this is your daily routine.
Consider cooking up a healthy roasted vegetable pasta dish for your evening meal, and set some aside for lunch the next day.
Pack some seasonings in your lunchbox so the flavours aren’t blitzed by the microwave and make this a regular routine with a wide variety of recipes and you’ll feel the health benefits.
You can then restrict the street food and sandwiches to weekly treat status.
We’ve all got them. From mid-week alcohol drinking to smoking or binge eating, most of us have a habit that we’d like to reduce or stop entirely.
Going cold turkey can seem arduous and often results in a relapse, so slowly cutting back is the way to go.
Having one fewer drink each time you go to the pub, or swapping every other beverage for a soft drink is a way to reduce alcohol’s long-term effects on your body.
As a Group 1 carcinogen, it has solid providence as a cause of cancer, so cutting down will always be beneficial for your health.
The same goes for cigarettes. Building a quit plan instead of instantly stopping is recommended by the NHS’ Smokefree service, as this gradual process is a lot easier to adhere to.
So, there we have it. Small nuggets of actionable advice that slice through the buzzwords and fads to get you on your way to a healthier lifestyle. You can do it!