A number of lifestyle factors can impact on your overall health and wellbeing but just a few small changes can have big benefits.
Alcohol is high in calories and low in nutrition. It can also increase your blood pressure and cause liver damage. Women should try not to exceed 2 or 3 units per day. One unit = 10ml of pure alcohol and is equivalent to a single measure of spirits or a small glass (125ml) of wine. Ideally spread your units out through the week and avoid binge drinking.
Exercise lifts your mood and helps maintain muscle and bone health and can reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day for five or more days per week.
Healthy eating will nourish your body. Eating a balanced diet from a wide variety of foods based on starches, fruit and vegetables, with smaller amounts of dairy, oily fish and meat is best. Choose a ‘rainbow’ of coloured fruit and vegetables for a wide range of nutrients. Foods which are high in saturated fat, sugar or salt should be eaten infrequently as treats. Have regular meals to maintain your blood sugar level and keep your energy levels up.
Drink plenty of liquid and, in particular, water which is essential for both mind and body. Watch your caffeine and sugar intake.
Aim for 6 to 8 hours per night to enable your body to renew its energy. Adequate sleep is key for your psychological wellbeing and for your immune system.
Smoking drains the body of essential vitamins and minerals and can affect its ability to absorb them. It also causes cell damage which can lead to illnesses. Give up smoking if you possibly can.
Instead of using our stress hormones just for emergencies, many of us live life at such a pace that they are activated all the time, which can have an adverse effect on your body and mean we are continually bad tempered. Ways to help release your stress : Tackle any problems head on – don’t delay; have a good laugh or cry with friends; practice saying ‘no!’ ; pamper yourself, relax in a bubble bath; ask for help; exercise regularly; eat a balanced diet; and get enough sleep
If you are overweight, aim to lose between 5 and 10% of your body weight through healthy eating
Nigel Denby’s Top Tips for making a difference:
Focus on 2-3 changes at a time
Make each change a contract with yourself
Accept that you may not achieve them all.