There’s never been a more important time to keep yourself healthy. The explosion in computer-based office jobs and high-speed internet means that more people than ever spend the majority of their working life sat at a computer, with very little physical activity required. Because our jobs require us to be less active it can seem almost impossible to stay healthy, keep fit and lose weight. Written by a qualified Personal Trainer, here are 5 quick and simple health hacks:
15 MINUTE WORKOUTS
Credit for this one is largely down to Joe Wicks lean in 15. His 15 to 20 minute workouts are capturing the nation for their convenience and effectiveness. These quick workouts are called HITT (high intensity interval training). With HIIT, you not only burn a lot of calories during the workout, but because of the high intensity you continue to burn calories as your body replaces energy and repairs muscle proteins after you finish exercising. Another well-established benefit of interval training is the increase in cardio-respiratory health.
You don’t need to spend hours in the gym to see results—you simply need to make sure that the time you do spend exercising is as efficient and effective as possible. Exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The health benefits of exercise include reduced risk of heart disease, regulation of blood sugar and insulin levels, and improve your mental health and mood.
EAT MORE FAT
Fat has a bad reputation. Now don’t get me wrong, some fat deserves its bad reputation. But there are some fats that are full of goodness. As with any food, it’s important to seek balance. Here are 10 high-fat foods that are healthy and nutritious:
- Dark Chocolate.
- Whole Eggs.
- Fatty Fish.
- Chia Seeds
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Coconut and coconut oil.
Ever since fat was demonised, people are eating more sugar, refined carbs and processed foods while avoiding ‘fat’. Where possible you should look to make small, healthier swaps.
WATER, WATER, WATER
It’s crazy to think that this wonder drug can be accessed for free in every restaurant, bar and home in the UK! By drinking water and staying hydrated you’re helping your body to fight infections, flush out toxins, and can help prevent overeating (we often mistake thirst for hunger). Studies show that prolonged dehydration can have the following effects:
- Skin disorders and premature wrinkling.
- Digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach (increasing the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers).
- Cause blood to become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
- Cause kidney stones.
- Problems with thinking and reasoning (water cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues).
- Reduce the joints’ shock-absorbing ability, leading to joint pain.
To help you increase your water intake you could consider carrying a reusable water bottle with you on your commute and at work. Or try drinking lemon water to give it some flavour. Only order water when you eat out (your wallet will thank you too!). You should also look to increase your intake of foods that are high in water including: lettuce, cabbage, watermelon, cucumber, and tomatoes. Green tea is also a great option to hydrate your body.
GET QUALITY SLEEP
A good night’s sleep is just as important as regular exercise and a healthy diet. Sleep is really important for our physical and mental health. The health benefits of sleep include regulating the chemicals in our brain that manages our moods and emotions.
A key component in getting a good nights sleep is your bedroom set up. Consider how you can improve your bedroom environment; try to minimise external noise & light. It’s also recommended that you upgrade your bedding at least every 5–8 years. Make sure that your bedroom is a relaxing, clean, and comfy space that you enjoy being in.
Here are some more things you should consider to increase your sleeping quality:
- Aim to eat your last meal 4 hours before bed
- Try to not drink any fluids 1–2 hours before going to bed (consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can also significantly worsened sleep quality)
- Exercise regularly — but not before bed
- Relax – listen to relaxing music, read a book, take a hot bath
- Meditating, breathing exercises, and visualisation may assist in better sleep. People of all walks of life have found numerous benefits from meditating.
- Avoid alcohol – Alcohol is known to increase symptoms of sleep apnea, snoring, and disrupted sleep patterns.
- Try to be consistent with your sleeping pattern.
SMALL LIFESTYLE CHANGES
Making small manageable changes are far more likely to result in long term habits. While popular fad diets may give you short-term results, rapid weight loss usually always ends up being temporary. These quick fix diets have also shown to be be potentially dangerous and bad for your health.
Instead, aim to make small, manageable lifestyle changes. The best way to do this is to create an exercise and diet journal. Note down everything you eat, drink and any type of exercise that you do on a daily basis. Once you’ve capture all your lifestyle habits, look over them for areas where you can make small improvements.
Start with breakfast, is there a low sugar alternative to what you’re currently eating? Now lunch, could you prepare something healthy the night before? Could you make your daily commute more active? Walk or cycle to work? Take the stairs instead of the lift? Swap that chocolate bar for a piece of fruit? Trade red meat for white meat?
This life hack is all about what will be manageable for you and your circumstances.