Keeping fit and healthy has never been so popular! Each day more and more of us start a diet or a detox, promise to drop our unwholesome habits or begin dedicated exercise regimes.
But staying healthy, happy and fit doesn’t always require a lifestyle overhaul. From eliminating bloating by drinking more water and avoiding injury by improving your posture, here are a few small health tips that can make a big difference.
- Eat More to Weigh Less
The first thing most people think they should do when they’re trying to lose weight is to eat less, but this doesn’t necessarily work. Eating more frequently can actually be one of the best ways to lose weight – provided you are eating the right things, of course.
The downfall of many dieters are the often overpowering hunger pangs from restricting food intake. This can be helped by eating small and healthy snacks throughout the day (on top of your regular meals), which will keep you feeling full. Choose healthy, protein-rich foods such as nuts and yogurt with fruit. Peanut butter spread onto an apple is a perfect, delicious, mid-afternoon snack to keep you going until dinner.
- Don’t Sleep Too Much
We all know how important it is to get enough sleep – but equally important is not getting too much sleep. A study by researchers at the University Of Birmingham found that people who slept more than eight hours a day were 15% more likely to have metabolic syndrome than people who slept for less.
Metabolic syndrome is a combination of diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure and it raises your risk of heart disease, stroke and other conditions. Though the study couldn’t wholly conclude whether more than eight hours sleep was the cause or the effect of metabolic syndrome, it seems apparent that the optimum amount of sleep is mostly between seven and eight hours, and anything more may be detrimental.
- Have a Coffee Nap
Drinking coffee before a nap may seem contradictory, but it isn’t anywhere near as crazy as it sounds. A recent study found that a ‘coffee nap’ (drinking one to two cups of coffee before immediately having a 20 minute nap) was more profitable than a ‘non-coffee’ nap, and participants felt more alert afterwards too.
Napping for 20 minutes after a coffee means that by the time the caffeine hits your system you are beginning to wake up. Caffeine clears the brain of adenosine, a molecule which makes you tired. The more adenosine in your system, the more tired you become. Napping after a coffee means that the restful effects of a nap are enhanced, due to the caffeine from the coffee and the lack of adenosine in your body.
- Drink More Water When Bloated
If you’re bloated, the last thing you’ll feel like doing is drinking a pint of water, but it can actually prove very beneficial. First off, bloating is a common side effect of not drinking enough – when you don’t drink enough, your body clings to the water still in your system, causing you to swell up.
Aside from counteracting the effects of dehydration, drinking water also averts constipation, which is another common cause of bloating. Diets that are high in fiber can also cause bloating, and if that’s the case drinking water is again the best remedy. Water mixes with the fiber and turns it into a gel-like matter, which in turn affects the maneuverability of the gut and eases any bloating.
- Watch Your Stance
As adults, most of us believe we are fully capable of sitting, standing and lifting – but we’re not quite as good at it as we think. Statistics say that each year around 650,000 painful, lasting musculoskeletal disorders occur as a result of incorrectly lifting, pushing and pulling – and that’s just in the workplace.
To remain strong and healthy and avoid causing yourself unnecessary injury, always ensure you use your leg muscles to power yourself when you’re lifting an object, holding the object as close to your body as you can. Back and shoulder pains can be a minefield: the average shoulder injury costs $20,000 per year not including surgery, so it really is worth spending the extra time ensuring your stance is correct!