So with that in mind, here are my top ten tips to leading a healthier lifestyle.
1. Drink only filtered or bottled water, and drink it from a BPA-free plastic bottle, or from a stainless steel or glass bottle. The plastic bottles that most people use leach plastic into your drink, and if you can taste plastic – you’re drinking plastic! This, and the amount of crap that’s in tap water (see video below) might not kill you – after all, it hasn’t up til now – but it WILL have an adverse effect on your health, and you may have problems that you haven’t even thought could be down to the water you’re drinking.
If you drink this EVERY day, the effects of it will build up over time and could cause all sorts of problems.
2. Drink at least 1 litre of water per 50lbs body weight. For most people this is 2-3litres. Carry a large bottle around with you and make sure you drink from it regularly to meet your quota!
If you’re not used to adequately hydrating yourself, you may find yourself rushing to the toilet every ten minutes when you start. Add a pinch of sea salt to your water. Just a pinch (if you can taste it you’ve added too much. And no, table salt won’t do!). This will help with electrolyte balance and you won’t be rushing to the loo quite so often.
3. Choose the HEALTHIER option. You don’t have to eat like a rabbit to be slim and healthy. Just make sure that when you’re choosing your meals, you choose the healthier option. It’s not rocket science, but if you consistently choose the healthier option, you’re saving yourself from a LOT of extra, unnecessary carbs/fat/toxins.
4. Take nutritional supplements. This isn’t a replacement for food, and doesn’t mean you can stop eating your greens, it’s just an extra boost to your diet that will help keep you healthy. A good quality multi-vitamin, fish oil/Omega-3, and a green drink will go a LONG way to keeping you fighting fit. But don’t be cheap - you get what you pay for with supplements so get the most expensive one you can afford – this is your health we’re talking about after all!
5. Get enough sleep. Sounds simple, but all sorts of chemical and hormonal processes go on while you sleep that are essential for balancing out your body and everything that’s gone on during the day. Make sure you get enough quality sleep. Go to bed earlier, and get up at the same time every morning (even at weekends if possible) – this will help to get your body clock into a rhythm and will help your sleep patterns no end. Also, make sure you sleep in a dark room, NO light whatsoever – that little standby light on your telly – cover it! Got an alarm clock that lights up or flashes – change it! And, this is very important, don’t take your phone to bed with you! – the electro-magnetic signals and radiation given off by your phone disrupt your sleep pattern, AND, subconsciously, leaving your phone on tells your mind that you’re expecting a call/text and your mind won’t fully rest.
If you use your phone as an alarm, BUY AN ALARM CLOCK! (Or most phones now will allow you to turn them off, and the alarm will still go off).
6. Exercise daily. This doesn’t have to be a 10 mile run, or a 2 hour workout in the gym. It all adds up. Even if you only have 15 minutes spare, use it effectively. It might not seem worth it, but if you’re doing it EVERY day, it’ll soon add up and make a BIG difference to your health and fitness.
If you are short on time and want some intense 15-minute workouts that’ll boost your metabolism and leave you burning calories all day, you can check out my book Fab In 15 Minutes – it’s got 20 workouts, all 15-20 minutes long, that you can do at home with little or no equipment.
Check it out here: www.FabIn15Minutes.com
7. Get some sun! Not only will the fresh air do you the world of good – getting away from the false, air-conditioned environment many of us work in – but sunlight is essential for health.
Get at least an hour or so of sunlight every day. And if you really can’t (but seriously – can you really not go outside for your lunch break? (and NOT for a cigarette!)), then take a good vitamin D supplement. This would also be a good idea in the winter months when the sun isn’t so forthcoming!
Sunbed’s DO NOT count and have been proven time and again to be bad for you. AVOID THEM! Get some real sunlight.
8. Take time for yourself. This may sound strange, but stress is one of the biggest causes of disease. A body without stress won’t get sick. If you can take any amount of time out to just relax, take your mind off things and appreciate all that you have, then you’ll be on your way to relieving stress.
Meditation, yoga, tai chi, breathing exercises are all good. Or you could just take 30 minutes out to sit and relax, go for a walk, listen to some relaxing music... ANYTHING that relaxes you.
This is so powerful, yet consistently overlooked by 99% of people. Whether you believe it or not, give it a go for a week or two and see what happens... I dare you.
9. Cut back on watching TV. Not only will the extra time you have enable you to exercise, enjoy more time with family and friends, prepare healthier meals and a million other things, but it will also save you from mind-numbing TV shows which really don’t do you any favours or stimulate your brain.
Select the main programmes that you really can’t miss, and scrap the rest. You could read a book instead!
10. Laugh! You’ve heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine. Well it really is! Laughing has many effects on the body including stress relief, improving immune function, strengthening core muscles and your diaphragm...
To see more of the effects laughter has on our bodies, take a look here:
And a bonus number 11 - Take your shoes off. There are so many benefits to walking barefoot. Our feet have evolved without shoes! I’m not saying take a stroll down the high street barefoot, but when you’re at home, in the garden, in the park, or anywhere that’s safe to take your shoes off.
Not only will this strengthen your feet, ankles, knees, hips and back, but it could also help alleviate knee, hip and back problems.
I personally do ALL of my training barefoot, inside or outside (when the gym don’t moan at me), and if I do wear shoes, I wear the thinnest, least supportive ones I can find (such as Vibram FiveFingers, or some cheap water shoes – very thin, flexible soles, no support or cushioning etc.)
To read more on going barefoot, you can read an article I wrote a couple of years ago (called Barefoot Is Best) here:
If you can do all of these things I assure you you’ll feel ten times better than you do now (unless you’re already doing them, in which case I congratulate you!).
To your Health!