Adopting good life habits for a healthier you
Social networks and news sites are bursting with information on healthy lifestyle habits and how to adopt them. And yet, 62% of men and 46% of women are still considered overweight. Here are some tips to adopt healthier life habits to ensure better health and wellness over the long term.
Choose healthy and balanced foods
Good nutrition reduces your risks for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, as well as cancer and osteoarthritis. It also promotes optimal energy and helps boost self-esteem.
Nutrition can also be a powerful ally in rehabilitating and preventing injuries; some foods increase blood flow, which supports metabolic processes during physical effort. In addition, good hydration limits muscle fatigue, which also reduces injury risk.
To promote healthy eating:
- Read food labels
- Select fresh, non-processed foods
- Practice portion control
- Drink plenty of water
- Listen to your body’s hunger and satiety signals
- Take time to enjoy your meals
- Eat a wide variety of foods
Practice a physical activity
Research has shown that physical activity leads to a lower risk of developing a range of serious chronic illnesses, helps to manage weight, and contributes to psychological well-being.
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity per week.
Here are a few tips on safely starting a physical activity routine:
- Start slowly and gradually increase the frequency of the activity
- Create a plan, select an activity you enjoy, and add it to your routine
- Consult a healthcare professional if you have a specific condition or concern that could impact your physical activity.
Develop good sleep hygiene
Getting enough rest provides you with the energy you need to engage in a physical activity, thus enhancing your overall wellness. Conversely, lack of sleep is associated with undesirable behaviours such as overeating and craving fatty foods; in addition, the resulting fatigue and sub-optimal physical recovery may even increase your risk of injury. Follow these tips to ensure a good night’s sleep:
- Adopt a bedtime routine with a regular schedule
- Limit naps to 15-20 minutes
- Engage in a relaxing activity before bedtime, and limit screen time
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine
- Engage in physical activity
- Eat lightly at dinnertime
Stress negatively affects your health (trouble sleeping, fatigue, musculoskeletal issues) which can result in behaviour that puts you at high risk of injury. There are many strategies to effectively manage stress:
- Prioritize your goals and manage your time
- Regularly engage in physical activity
- Try relaxation techniques, meditation, or deep breathing exercises
- Identify your stressors to gain better insight
- Practice good sleep hygiene
- Add enjoyable, meaningful activities to your routine
- Let go of perfectionism, in yourself and in others
Stop smoking: get the support you need
Smoking’s detrimental effects on your health are undeniable. After numerous decades of public health policies and advertising campaigns, most people are generally well-aware of the associated risks. It’s not easy to quit smoking on your own, and you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to organizations that are there to help you:
Ask your healthcare professional to help you adopt healthy life habits!