As we are getting to the end of January you may be reaping the benefits of sticking to your new year’s resolutions or like many others, you may have given up on them and the ‘new you’ never materialised. Adopting new good habits and dropping bad ones isn’t easy, especially if it involves making big changes. If you’re daunted or defeated by a big life style overhaul you may want to try some of these little things that you can do to improve your health. These measures are easy to try and not costly, but can make a big difference to your health and wellbeing. Pick one that appeals to you most and see if it makes a difference to you. If it doesn’t, try another one. If it did make you feel better, feel inspired to add another one. It takes around 28 days to create a habit so persistence will pay off.
Start the day with warm water with lemon, honey, cinnamon and turmeric (or just lemon and honey if you’re not into the spices).
Add 1 tsp of honey, juice of half a lemon, ½ tsp cinnamon, ½ tsp of turmeric to a mug. Add some boiling water and stir to dissolve the honey. Top up with cold water and stir.
Keeps you regular (warm water stimulates bowel movement, stimulates intestinal mucous production, hydrates colon)
Improves digestion (lemon stimulates bile production)
Cleanses urinary tract (honey is antibacterial, lemon and water act as diuretics)
Improves oral health and bad breath (lemon activates salivary glands and removes white film caused by rotting food and bacteria)
Cinnamon stabilises blood sugar levels
Turmeric is anti-inflammaton
Improve your posture.
Bad posture is a major cause of shoulder and back aches (and it makes you look like a loser)
Assess. See an osteopath to get advice. I recommend Matt Stanford (http://osteopathtunbridgewells.co.uk )
Put weight on balls of feet, not heels. Pull shoulders back and down. Align ears with shoulders, shoulders with hips. Keep your back in neutral position when sitting down.
Exercises to improve posture (align ears with shoulders): (1) Arms wide, bring lower arms down behind back to touch shoulder blades, (2) Penguin: touch both shoulders, elbows up and down
Sleep at least 7 hours per night
There is a link between insufficient sleep and serious health problems
Lack of sleep affects sex life (too tired, reduced testosterone in men)
Insufficient sleep lowers pain threshold
Sleep increases your safety (destruction of space shuttle Challenger and grounding of Exxon Valdez were linked to sleep deprivation)
Sleep helps control weight
Sleep improves mood
Sleep deficiency impairs cognition, attention and decision making
Better memory. Memories are consolidated and stored while we sleep. Sleep deficiency can cause false memories
Lack of sleep affects immune system (decrease in production of cytokines, messengers of the immune system)
Move every 45 minutes
Sedentary people have increased risk of cancer and heart disease
Sedentary people have higher risk of obesity
Sedentary people have higher blood sugar and insulin levels
Increased inflexibility, especially in later life
Decreased LPL (liporotein lipase), enzyme that breaks down fat
Ditch the sugar
Sugar affects the skin by the process of glycation: Sugar attaches to proteins to form AGEs (advanced glycation end products). Sugar damages collagen and elastin.
Energy levels improve when sugar intake is reduced.
Excessive blood sugar/insulin production is detrimental to health
Write down 3 things you are grateful for every day. This practice has shown to shift focus to positive aspects of life, improve mood and reduce stress
Aim to walk 10,000 steps per day.
Walking keeps the glutes (buttocks) engaged. Glute inactivity and atrophy can cause back problems.
Walking doesn’t make you ripped but it does reduce body fat
Walking stabilises blood sugar levels
It’s all-inclusive, most people can walk
Walking boosts the immune system
It prevents falls for older people
It has shown to promote ‘good genes’ expression
Breathe deeply into the abdomen to activate the parasympathetic nervous system to reduce stress. Shallow chest breathing activates the sympathetic nervous system, which promotes production of stress hormones. 6-10 abdominal, slow breaths will immediately slow down heart rate and lower blood pressure. You will feel calmer.
These are foreign chemical compounds that disrupt normal development and balance of lipid metabolism, which in some cases, can lead to hormonal balance and obesity. Obesogens are found in:
BPA in plastics
Pesticides (buy organic vegetables if you are eating the skin)
Non-stick coating in pans
I hope you are inspired to try one or more of these and I would love to hear how you get on!