With information on any topic now so readily accessible, it has never been easier to educate ourselves on all aspects of achieving good health. Through food blogs that focus on all kinds of lifestyles from general healthy eating to paleo diets or veganism, online health magazines that supply us with new workouts to try every day or holistic sites that educate us on our well-being from a natural perspective – we’ve really never had less of an excuse to not improve our health.
That being said, with the mass of information also comes a certain pressure. Social media has provided us with an army of health gurus that dedicate themselves to educating and improving their follower’s health. However, it can sometimes seem as though we’re fighting a losing battle; there’s always a new miracle tea that promises better benefits, there’s a new food group we should be avoiding or there’s a new type of exercise that is way better than anything we’ve ever tried. In all honesty, it can sometimes feel disheartening.
The important thing to remember about health is that it doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, your approach to health should be the exact opposite: simple, natural and effective. With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 10 essential rules of good health to give you the best shot at achieving optimal health without a drop of guilt.
10 Essential Rule of Good Health
- Be a Quitter
Sounds slightly counter-productive, no? But if you want to give yourself the best shot at reaching your health goals, you have to start with a clean slate. That means kicking any bad habits, beating your vice and breaking free from your addictions. We all have them, whether it’s smoking, alcohol, coffee or sugar, and we’re all aware of the damage they can do. So why keep doing it?
Two of the hardest yet most effective things you can do to improve your health is to stop smoking and cut down your consumption of processed, packaged foods. They are two of the leading causes of heart disease and that’s kind of an important organ.
- Fake It ‘til You Make It
I’m not talking about your attitude here but that gorgeous summer glow. Everyone feels better with a tan and come January the current trend for a year-round glow has people turning to skin-damaging sunbeds in despair. With pale, cold and dry winter skin it’s easy to see the appeal of a quick 10 minute, electric holiday at your favourite spa. What we often forget is the scary amount of damage this quick-fix can have on our biggest organ – our skin. If the fact they’re a leading cause of dangerous skin cancers isn’t enough, they also add to premature ageing! Get your glow in a more skin friendly way: swap your sunbed for a spray tan!
- Taste the Rainbow
Ok so, so far we’ve quit our favourite vices and we have slightly paler skin BUT the doom and gloom has ended. Time to talk food!
We’re constantly inundated with information about what to eat and what not to eat but the biggest things to remember are variety and moderation. Despite being a slogan for sweeties, ‘taste the rainbow’ is on the right track. Aim to eat as many colourful foods as possible including fruits, vegetables and wholemeal but don’t deny yourself that little treat at the end of the week.
- Move it
It’s important to remember that food is fuel and if you’ve got a full tank, you should burn off some energy. There are a million and one fitness trends at any given time and although this can sometimes be overwhelming, it also means that there’s bound to be something you enjoy. Running not your thing? Try pilates. Don’t fancy lifting weights in a gym? Go rock climbing. Don’t have a spare minute in your day? Walk to work instead of sitting in traffic. There’s no correct way to exercise as long as you do it. 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is enough to keep you ticking over and full of energy.
- Family Business
Once you start to see your body as a machine that requires constant upkeep, it becomes clear that check-ups are important. Be aware of health conditions that run in your family and be vigilant about your health check-ups. These appointments shouldn’t make you feel scared, they should make you feel assured that you’re doing the utmost to keep your body as healthy as possible for as long as possible.
Perhaps one of the simplest yet most overlooked rules for good health is to drink more water. Swap your soda for a bottle of water or a green tea and you’ll see and feel benefits that include improved concentration, better skin and improved gut health along with many others, it’s a no brainer!
- Hit the sack
On the other hand, here’s something we all do but probably not nearly enough: sleep. There are many factors which affect our ability to get a good night’s rest including stress, pent up energy and maybe a slight addiction to social media apps… whatever it is, a disrupted sleeping pattern can have disastrous effects on our brains and bodies. The good news is, if you’ve been following the previous 6 rules like exercising regularly and staying hydrated, your sleep should improve as a direct result. Other ways to improve your sleeping pattern include going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, sleeping in complete darkness and dimming lights for a few hours before bedtime.
- Don’t Neglect Your Gums
Or the rest of your mouth for that matter. Oral health is often considered a part from the rest of our body when in reality it’s all connected. New studies show that your mouth can have a direct link to health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and pregnancy issues. Your saliva alone can help ward off infection and disease and that’s a tool you want to keep in tip-top condition.
- Mind Matters
A taboo that is slowly being broken down, mental health is as important as a
ny other aspect of a healthy lifestyle, if not more so. The good thing is that our mind and body are connected in a way that looking after one will have advantageous effects on the other, so if you’re looking after your body properlythe chances are your mind will feel better and vice versa. However it’s always helpful totake time out of your day to work on self-awareness and mindfulness, whether this is through exercise, yoga, meditation or just 5 minutes with a cup of tea.
Nowadays, it can often feel like there’s never enough hours in the day. Between work, family and any other responsibilities we may have, we often don’t get a minute to ourselves and this can really affect our ability to look after ourselves. We start out with the best intentions and then end up having to eat dinner from a fast food restaurant in our cars while rushing from one responsibility to the next. Remember that you are no good to anybody if you are not happy and healthy. Make yourself a priority and you’ll find time to build the lifestyle you want.
Health is a fluid thing and is personal to all of us. We’ll have good days and we’ll have bad days but this is a marathon, not a 100m sprint. So, when considering your health, little and often is the right way to go.