How can you stay Healthy and Active?
Disclaimer: We are not qualified medical professionals. All information stated from this article has been taken from reputable sources. Please find links to all sources at the bottom of the page.
It’s time to take a break from our usual injury-related blogs in order to take a look at some other topics! In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at some different ways you can keep yourself healthy and active. Staying healthy is not only a good way to improve your recovery time when suffering from an injury, but in some cases, being healthy and active can prevent injuries and illnesses from happening in the first place!
Keep your Diet Healthy and Balanced
The first thing to think of when it comes to health is maintaining a balanced diet. We’ve all heard of the Food Chart (also referred to as the Eat-well Guide) at some point, it’s the chart that shows us how much of each food group we should be eating in order to stay healthy. These food groups include Fruit and Veg, Carbohydrates, Protein, Dairy and Fats.
Fruit and Vegetables is the largest food group in this chart, making up roughly a third of what we should be eating. We should be aiming to eat roughly 5-7 portions of a variety of different fruits and vegetables each day. There are many different ways you can increase the amount of fruit and veg in your diet; a common method is to just include more fruit and veg into your pre-existing recipes. Instead of eating deep fried fish and chips, substitute the meal for unbuttered Cod with a jacket potato, green beans and garden peas for example.
Then there’s carbohydrates, which also take up about a third of the chart. These include foods like pasta, bread, potatoes and other starchy foods. Although these foods are a great source of energy, it can be unhealthy to eat to many, as doing so can cause you to gain more weight. You can increase the healthiness of the carbohydrates you eat by switching to wholegrain, unrefined alternatives such as wholegrain pasta and bread.
Proteins take up about 12% of your diet, and are commonly found in animal meat, beans and many grains. Protein is used to help maintain the strength of your muscles, as well as create different chemicals such as enzymes and hormones. As well as having high amounts of protein, these foods also provide you with vitamins and minerals. When eating meat, you should try to minimise the amount meats that have higher amounts of fat such as bacon and sausages, as they can be a lot less healthy than more lean cuts of meat like chicken, pork and lamb. if your diets commands that you avoid the consumption animal meats or produce, then there are many alternative, protein rich foods you can choose from such as tofu and seitan.
Next is dairy foods (or its alternatives, this includes things like milk, yoghurt and cheese. These foods take up about 15% of your diet, and are a great source of calcium, which helps to keep your bones strong, however, they also contain a lot of fat. If you want to resolve this issue, you could try switching to low-fat alternatives, such as 1% fat milk. Again, if your lifestyle choices mean you avoid the consumption of animal produce, there are still other foods that can be a good source of calcium, such as white beans, sardines and oranges.
The last of the food groups is fats, taking up just 7% of your diet. This includes things like cheese, Nuts and avocados. Many people have the misconception that the consumption of junk food primary fills this group, however these saturated fats provide no use to the body and are difficult to digest. Our bodies require a small amount of healthy fat to be used as stored energy and to protect our vital organs. Be sure to get your recommended fat intake and aim to get it from natural sources such as nuts, avocados and meat.
Outside of the food groups, it is also very important to stay well hydrated. Water helps to keep your body cool and maintain your blood volume (amount of blood in your body), so making sure your body has enough water is essential. According to the NHS, the government recommends that you drink between 6 and 8 cups of fluid every day.
Exercise is a great way to keep your body active and build your muscles. In many cases, it can also help to improve your mood too. This is because exercise helps your body to produce endorphins, which help to reduce pain and stress, making you feel more upbeat. An easy way to stay active on a regular basis is to make a walk or run a part of your daily routine. Many people will go out for a 30-minute run to start of their day, as it can help to wake them up. According to the NHS, adults should aim to do about 150 minutes of exercise per week, or 30 minutes across five days. Others invest in a gym membership and set up a workout plan, so that they can get a consistent amount of regular exercise.
If you want to put a focus on building your muscles, then strength training might be a good option. Strength training is when you do a variety of different muscle exercises like push-ups and sit-ups in order to strengthen specific muscle groups. Muscles can slowly lose strength over time if not regularly used, so strength training is a great way to keep your muscles strong.
Swimming is also a good exercise choice. The buoyancy of the swimming pool water can help to take the strain off of any painful joints in your body, helping you to feel more relaxed. Water-acrobatics can help to burn calories, helping you to lose weight.
All of us take shortcuts on a daily basis. For example, when we want to go somewhere, we’ll often drive there, even if our destination is within a reasonable walking distance. In order to stay health and active, you should avoid these shortcuts whenever possible. If you can walk to your destination, don’t take the car. If it’s a bit too far to walk, perhaps you can cycle there.
Some other good examples of shortcuts we take include:
Getting a good night’s sleep is essential. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, it can affect your energy levels during the day, as well as your mood. You’ll end up finding tasks which would usually be easy enough to do more challenging, and you will struggle to stay focused.
The optimal amount of sleep you should be getting per night varies on your age. For example, whilst children may need about 11 hours of sleep, adults may only need around 9 hours. On average, most people should aim for around 8 hours of sleep per day.
There are many different techniques you can try in order to improve your sleeping habits. For example, it is often a good idea for there to be a period of time when you are not looking at any screens before you go to sleep, as the light from screens can trick your brain into thinking that you need to stay awake, and reduces the amount of melatonin (a chemical which helps you to feel relaxed) your body produces.
Having a consistent bedtime routine is also very useful, you should aim to go to sleep and get up at roughly the same time every day. This is known as your Circadian Rhythm, a system in your body which affects which points of the day you feel the most energised. If you keep your body clock consistent, you’ll notice that you will often feel drowsy around the time you usually go to bed. However, if you go to bed at a different time every day, you will often feel drowsy during the day, which will affect your concentration and alertness.
It may sound silly, but a good way to stay healthy is to just smile, laugh and stay in a positive mood. Health is just as much about your mental well-being as it is your physical, (although the two can often go hand-in-hand) so it’s important to stay positive and avoid negative thinking.
Positive thinking can help with a lot of things. It can help to reduce your stress levels, as well as your ability to cope with future stress. It can also help to improve your immune system, and in some cases, it can even increase your lifespan!
So, there you have it! These are just a few ways you can stay healthy and active. We hope this blog as encouraged you to try some of these tactics out, and hopefully you’ll be on your way to a healthier, happier lifestyle!