You can learn all the clever strategies you can find for ways to make your life better for yourself but if you are not in the peak of good health and fitness, you’ll not be able to fully enjoy everything that life has to offer. First and foremost, you need to take good care of you, in order to make your life better.
Now, I don’t need to talk to you about those things that everyone knows are bad for you, like smoking and misusing alcohol or drugs. These will definitely impact on the quality of your life in a really negative way, so if you are trying to make your life better, you must stop. If you can’t stop on your own, seek help; there is all kinds of assistance available these days to help overcome addictions.
What I am going to talk about are the lifestyle choices we make every day concerning diet and exercise. The human body is a finely tuned machine and has certain needs to keep it functioning properly. If it doesn’t get the correct fuel, it starts to break down; and nothing messes up the quality of your life more than illness. The body was made for movement; that’s why we have muscles and joints. If there isn’t enough regular movement, these moving parts start to seize up and the quality of life is affected again.
So, what fuel do you choose to put in your body every day? I’m sure you know the basics but I’m going to go over them again. The body needs proteins for muscles and metabolism, carbohydrates for energy and fiber and some fats for vitamin accessibility, every day, to function efficiently. It works best when the foods are as close to nature as possible. Fluids are an important additive with water being the best for regular consumption. I know this is really simplified but if you want to know more detail, it’s easy enough to research.
The best place to prepare your food is your own kitchen, so you have more control over what goes into your meals. The majority of your meals should be prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients, preferably in season. By cooking at home you save money, eat a more balanced and nutritional diet and get the enjoyment of being in control of creating what you and your family eat.
When you serve up the main meal of the day, the protein portion of meat, chicken, fish or tofu should be no more than the size of your palm. Fresh or steamed vegetables, in a wide variety of different colors, should take up half the plate and some type of carbohydrate like rice, pasta or potato in the final quarter of the plate. Food doesn’t have to be bland and boring; spice it up with curries, sauces and condiments. Experiment with some international dishes for variety; they are often very healthy alternatives.
Many people like to have six smaller meals or snacks through the day instead of three big meals and there’s lots of research to show that this is the best way to eat. Include proteins, fresh produce and low GI carbohydrates in every meal for a balanced diet that helps you feel fuller for longer. Drink six to eight glasses of water every day to keep your body hydrated and lubricated.
I haven’t mentioned anything about processed, packaged, fatty or take-out food, have I? It’s not that I’m against these types of foods, it’s just that they really don’t form a regular part of a healthy diet. As occasional treats, these are OK, but any more than that and they start to affect how your body functions. They just give you empty calories without any nutrition and are the main causes of obesity.
We haven’t always eaten in the most healthy manner; after all, we are just an average family. When we decided to change our diet to a better balanced one, there was some resistance and more than a bit of struggle. Here are some tips on how we finally managed to improve our diet – make small changes rather than trying to change everything all at once. We have a rule that new foods have to be tried three times before anyone can say they don’t like it. We plan the week’s menu, with input from all family members, and include one new dish each week. There’s not just one cook in our kitchen; we have several family members who love to be responsible for creating meals. We have eat-out nights about twice a month and alternate the different varieties. Variety is the spice of life and we find there has been less resistance to the new food because we were determined to try different things.
So much for the eating side of a healthy lifestyle that will help to make your life better; the other half of the equation is physical activity. As I said, the human body was built to move and activity is necessary to feel on top of your game. Again, start slowly, especially if you have been inactive for a while. Walking is the best exercise there is – it’s free, you can do it anywhere and everyone has the right equipment for it. Start with just ten or fifteen minutes a day and gradually work up to forty minutes on at least six days a week.
Once your fitness increases, vary your activity a bit and try cycling or swimming or a class at the local gym. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you move for around 30 to 40 minutes, 6 days a week, break a sweat and breathe a little harder. Mind you, it is addictive though; once you start being physically active on a regular basis, you’ll probably want more. You will find you have more energy, you will feel happier, you will be more productive and your life will start to look a whole lot better.
As well as a healthy diet and regular activity, you also need rest, relaxation and recreation for a healthy lifestyle. Time out for yourself, to indulge in a hobby and to socialize with family and friends is a vital part of making your life better.
This article is just a small snapshot of what a healthy lifestyle looks like. There’s heaps of free information available online for you to fill in the detail. The important thing to remember is that adopting a healthier lifestyle is definitely going to make your life a whole lot better.