We all know that being healthy is a vital part of a long and happy life. However, actually taking action to stay healthy can sometimes seem like a chore. After a busy day at the office, relaxing with a packet of crisps and a television programme often seems like a more attractive option than an apple and a trip to the gym. However, if you’re keen to stay healthy and but can’t seem muster up the energy to do so, rest assured that there are plenty of ways to keep fit and eat well without completely giving up on the things you love.
When it comes to eating well, a mix of restraint and purchasing the right food can work wonders. For starters, eating a large, healthy breakfast can help. Choose porridge oats or another a cereal that is high in fibre and low in sugar, and pairing it with a piece of slow energy releasing fruit – like a banana – can ensure you remain full until lunch and don’t snack in between meals. If you’re accustomed to buying pre-prepared sandwiches for lunch, try making your own instead as shop-bought sandwiches can have a surprisingly high sugar and fat content. Alternatively, make a little extra food at dinner and have leftovers for lunch. In general, avoid crash dieting and choose foods with a low glycaemic index to boost your overall energy levels. Low GI carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, brown rice and spaghetti, while broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms and frozen peas are all low GI vegetables.
Remember, however, that eating well is only part of the solution to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is important too and doesn’t need to be difficult. For instance, if the idea of a run doesn’t appeal to you and you live within two miles of your workplace, consider a brisk walk to work rather than driving – that should total around one hour’s exercise each day you make the journey by foot. On the other hand, if you’d like to visit a gym but you’re embarrassed about being seen to be a novice, think about hiring a personal trainer to workout with once or twice a week. Yoga is also worth considering. Usually associated with meditation and stress relief, there are many types of yoga to choose from and some can be surprisingly strenuous, aiding respiration and muscle tone. Some yoga instructors may even pay house calls, if you can organise a large enough group to attend.
Nevertheless, no matter how much we try to maintain a balanced lifestyle, it can be hard to banish small – and often unhealthy – everyday comforts. If you’re worried about the state of your health, you may be able to put your mind at ease by having a medical check-up. Such health assessments usually involve a physical test, an examination of medical history and a lengthy consultation with a doctor to determine health strengths and weaknesses. Though they can be expensive, they’re often worth considering in order to gain a realistic picture of your health situation and may even be covered by a cash plan, if you have one. Ultimately, a check-up offers you valuable peace of mind and your results may indicate whether you’re eating the right number of apples and pears, or whether you should cut back on a few more chips each week.