February is Healthy Lifestyle Awareness Month, encouraging us to live our best life! In 1946 The World Health Organisation defined health as “A complete state of mental, physical and social well-being not merely the absence of disease”. So, what is a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle is about taking responsibility for your decisions and making smart health choices that not only benefit you for today but also for your future.
The basic fundamentals of healthy living
- Regular Exercise (150 min moderate/75 min vigorous per week)
- Healthy eating
- Healthy lifestyle choices
Daily exercise, good nutrition and getting sufficient sleep are the foundations upon which good health and well-being are built. In today’s’ fast-paced lifestyle, it is also important to manage your stress levels in healthy ways. It is better to mitigate the effects of stress by doing some light exercise rather than using less favourable options like alcohol, drugs or cigarettes.
Establish new habits
According to Dr Craig Nossel, Head of Wellness at Discovery Vitality: “The trick to making your lifestyle healthier is to make small healthy changes every day, such as taking the stairs instead of the lifts, increasing your fruit by one, drinking one extra glass of water or quitting smoking.” Sounds easy enough right? I would generally recommend trying one new healthy habit each week/month… Making too many changes all at once can be quite overwhelming, leading to anxiety and apprehension which can then lead to an attitude of “Forget it, it’s not working for me anyway!”. However, if you make one small change and only focus on that one change until it becomes a habit, it is easier to adopt it into your regular daily health routine.
Prevention is better than the cure
We are all so distracted and under pressure, leading busy and chaotic lives, that we often forget to take care of our own health. We tend to ignore the early warning signs or put off doing anything about them until a later stage when we have more “free time”. However, this can lead to a major health problem that could have been prevented. It may seem silly, but we need to be reminded to be proactive about looking after our health. At Fish and Field Biokinetics, we believe in the old saying “Prevention is better than cure!” It is important to know your health status. Going for regular check-ups helps to keep us up to date with our current health levels and lets us know what areas we can improve on. Here are some useful figures to help give an indication of your current health:
Blood Pressure: Should be below 120/80
BMI (Body Mass Index): Should be between the range of 18.5 – 24.9
This is calculated by dividing your weight, in kilograms, by your height in meters squared ie. weight Kg/ height m2.
Cholesterol: Total cholesterol value of less than 5mmol/L
If it’s above 5, it’s advisable to speak to your GP. They might suggest doing a fasting cholesterol test to find out what your HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol) levels are.
Blood Sugar: Ideal between 4.1 and 6.1mmol/L
If it is above 7, it’s advisable to speak to your GP.
Waist circumference: A waist circumference of less than 80cm for ladies and less than 94cm for men is deemed to be satisfactory.
Most Biokineticists are able to do these basic screening tests or your nearest pharmacy will usually have a nurse who can do these health checks for you.
Healthy lifestyle through exercise
Doing regular exercise will help to keep the above figures in the healthy range. Here are some easy ways to get more movement into your daily life:
- Walking to a colleagues’ desk rather than sending an e-mail
- Parking furthest from the building and walking in
- Taking the stairs instead of the lift
- Doing house cleaning or gardening
- Taking the dog for a walk or cycling with the kids instead of watching TV
Alternately, you are welcome to join us for our general wellness aqua classes at either San Sereno or Off Nicol Health & Wellness, to get moving again and back on the path to a healthy lifestyle. Visit www.ffbiokinetics.co.za for more information about our classes and other Biokinetic services.
Healthy lifestyle through food
Eating a balanced diet low on saturated fats, sugar and salt is a good place to start when it comes to food lifestyle. Here are some handy tips for controlling the quality and quantity of what you eat:
- Consume whole food instead of processed to get more nutrients from your meals.
- Dish onto a smaller plate to trick your brain into thinking you are having a normal size portion if you are trying to eat less.
- Eat slowly to give your brain the 20 minutes it needs to register that you are full.
- Drink water instead of other beverages to reduce your calorie intake and encourage better digestion.
- Cook at home, besides controlling what is in your food and entering your body, it is easier on the budget and creates a sense of community in your home.
- Grow your own to discover a new found relationship with your food.