10 Tips for a Healthy Life
We've all heard the mantra, prevention is better than a cure, before but how often do we really take this advice. It always seems to be when something goes wrong like if we get injured, sick or run down that we make changes. The problem with this strategy is, it means you are generally completely out of action for a period of time whether this be from work, the gym or life in general.
Let's instead make the change to look after our bodies before anything bad happens!
We asked Candida Wong, a co-founder of Health-a-Porter, what her top 10 tips for health prevention that we can easily add to our daily routine. The purpose of Health-a-Porter is to do just that, acting as a portal for health prevention that cuts through the clinical jargon to bring you straightforward advice you can easily incorporate to the daily life.
1. Dress Up
When it comes to protecting your skin against the sun’s UV radiation, physical barriers like a shirt and hat are more effective than chemical barriers like sunscreen. So to prevent premature signs of aging, wrinkles, brown spots, and most importantly, skin cancer, slip into your favourite kaftan, sunnies and hat before heading for a day outdoors.
2. Get Up, Stand Up
If you are desk bound at work, chances are you spend 10+ hours sitting each day. Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism and research shows that, after only one hour of sitting, the production of enzymes that burn fat declines by as much as 90 percent. A handy tip to avoid sitting for too long is setting up a timer to make sure you stand up for a least one minute every 30 minutes (most fitness wristbands have one), or only keeping a small glass of water at your desk, so that you need to stand up and walk to the water fountain each time you need a refill.
3. You Are What You Eat
In my job, I have been lucky to have the chance to speak to amazing dietitians, nutritionists and naturopaths. Even though each have their own view and approach to health eating, what they all say is that the least processed your food is, the better it is for you. So avoid packaged snacks and pack up some fresh fruit, plain yogurt or raw nuts and seeds to keep snacking healthy.
4. Check Yourself Out
No seriously, checking your skin and breasts, regularly at home is a simple and free way to prevent two of most common cancers in Australia, yet many women feel uncomfortable checking themselves in the mirror. There is no recommended method or frequency for self-checks, so don’t worry about getting it ‘right’. The most important thing is to be familiar with what feels normal for your body and recognise if something looks of feel unusual. Changes on your breasts during the menstrual cycle are normal, so it is ok to wait for a couple of weeks before seeing your doctor. Your GP is the first port of call if you if you have any concerns.
5. Hug Your Friends Often
When we embrace, we immediately reduce the amount of the stress hormone cortisol produced in our bodies, release tension and send calming messages to the brain. Good for you and for your bestie!
6. Take Time Out And Chill
This one is something easier said than done, I get it. But relaxation is so important to reduce stress symptoms, muscle tension and chronic pain, and improve your concentration and mood. Relaxation can be learned and it is about finding what works for you and creating a routine. Meditation, yoga, mindfulness exercises, or even a warm bath at the end of the day, make it a routine to take a few minutes for yourself each day.
Sleeping is the time mind and body assimilate what happened during the day and restore the energy for another day. Lack of sleep has serious impacts on your physical and mental health. To get better sleep, the general advice is to establish a sleep routine by going to bed at the same time each night if you can, and making sure your room is dark and quiet. However, experts advice the opposite for anyone who can’t control when they go to sleep (think parents of a newborn baby), forget about routine and get sleep when you can.
8. Get A Checkup
You do your exercises right, eat well, meditate, but do you remember to do a yearly checkup? Regular checkups at your GP and dentist will ensure you stay up to date with the recommended preventive tests for your age and personal profile, and that you identify and treat any issues as early as possible. Once a year is generally recommended, but ask your health practitioner about what is right for you.
9. Remind Your Mum And Dad
Show your folks some love and nudge them to get checked as well. Bowel cancer and breast cancer are some of the most treatable cancers if identified early, and there are free screening programs available for people over 50, so why not remind them to get checked?
10. Ditch The Cigarette
If the awful looking pictures on cigarette packets haven't put you off yet, remember that smoking is not just bad for your health, it damages your looks too. The nicotine in cigarettes can stain teeth and fingers over time, and dermatologists agree that smoking accelerates aging and wrinkling, even in younger smokers.