Are you looking forward to a summer vacation? If so, you may be thinking about shaping up and getting healthy as well as packing and planning days out. Our health is something we should never take for granted, and often, making simple changes makes a huge difference. Here are some ways to boost your health in time for the vacation of a lifetime.
Your diet is a great place to start if you want to get healthy. Even if you’re a healthy, stable weight, there are probably changes you could make to your diet. Do you hit your 5-a-day target every day? Could you eat more whole grains? Do you consume too much sugar on a regular basis? If you’re not sure how well you’re doing when it comes to your diet, keep a food diary. You can use an app to show you how many calories you’re consuming each day. Your diary will also highlight any deficiencies and show you a breakdown of where your calories are coming from. If you’ve got too much fat or sugar in your diet, make an effort to reduce your intake and eat more protein and complex carbohydrates.
If you miss your fruit and veg target on a regular basis, start making packed lunches for work and add vegetables to your dinner. Go for soups, salads and wraps for lunch followed by a fresh fruit salad. Add peppers, onions and courgette to pasta sauces. Throw mushrooms, celery and carrots into a casserole. Snack on raw vegetables and hummus or have an apple or a banana. You may find your new diet takes a little getting used to, but you’ll soon notice a positive difference.
Try to avoid processed meals and fast food. They often have little nutritional value and contain a lot of salt and sugar. By all means, have a takeout as a treat once every month, but make an effort to eat healthily the majority of the time.
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Exercise is essential for your physical health, but it also offers many benefits for your mind. Working out regularly is important for your cardiovascular system. It also helps to improve fitness and stamina and build strength. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which are a natural mood booster. This is why you feel great after you’ve worked hard and cooled down.
If you’re not used to exercise, it’s best to increase the intensity of sessions gradually. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise regime. This is especially important if you have underlying health problems.
If you’re not a gym bunny, don’t panic. Not all of us love to slave away on the machines for hours every day. Go for a jog after work or take the dog for a long walk. Join a local tennis club, go for a swim or get your bike out. Sign up for yoga classes or learn how to salsa dance.
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It’s essential to keep up to date with health checks. If you’re going away, this is the perfect time to book an appointment with your doctor and check that everything is ok. It’s a good idea to get your BMI, blood pressure and blood sugar levels checked on a regular basis. Problems like high blood pressure or diabetes may not cause any noticeable symptoms until they become advanced. If you do have high blood pressure, it’s important to address it, and your doctor may recommend some lifestyle changes or treatments. It may be possible to control blood pressure by doing more exercise and eating a healthy diet. Giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol can also be beneficial. If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can have serious implications. You may be at risk of strokes and cardiac disorders such as atrial fibrillation. This affects the heart rhythm and causes the heart to beat too fast. You can find more information about atrial fibrillation at www.AbbottEP.com. If you are at risk of serious health problems, your doctor will be able to discuss treatment options with you. There may be changes you can make or you may need to consider treatments such as medication.
If you have existing health problems, make sure you attend review appointments and follow your doctor’s advice. If you’ve noticed changes in your general health, dental health or vision, make the relevant appointments before you go away. If you’re planning an extended break, don’t forget to order enough medication to keep your going until you return.
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Stress is something that affects us all at some point in our lives. Often, stress is manageable. But if it starts to take over your life, it’s important to take action. There are lots of different causes of stress. Possible triggers may include divorce, moving house, work pressure and dealing with bills.
If you feel stressed, there are various self-help techniques you can try. Exercise is often a fantastic way of tackling stress and reducing tension. When you work out, you can expend energy in a constructive way and channel anger and aggression. Other methods you may want to try include massage therapy, aromatherapy and meditation. You can find out more about stress management methods at http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm.
If you’re finding it hard to cope with stress, speak to your doctor. You may also find it beneficial to take some time out. A holiday may be just what’s needed, but if you can’t wait until then, ask your boss about taking a couple of days off.
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Most of us struggle to function properly after a restless night. While it’s normal to have a bad night from time to time, persistent sleep problems are not normal. If you’re having trouble sleeping, this can put you off kilter at work and affect your physical and mental health.
If you’ve been having difficulty sleeping for a while, now is the time to do something about it. Think about your sleeping environment and your routine. Are you going to bed too late? Are you struggling to get to sleep because of noise outside? Is your phone constantly beeping or are you checking emails in bed? Make sure your bedroom is a peaceful haven free from anything that could stress you out. Block out noise with earplugs and leave phones and tablets downstairs. Try to get into the habit of going to bed at the same time each night. Don’t wait until you’re falling asleep on the sofa to hit the hay. Once your body adjusts to your new timetable, you should find it easier to sleep. Exercising on a regular basis can also help to improve sleep patterns.
Before you go to bed each night, take time to chill out and let your body and mind wind down.
If you’re still not getting enough sleep, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor for advice. It’s really important that you get sufficient sleep each night to enable your body to recover.
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Are you a smoker? If you are, giving up smoking is the best thing you can do to boost your health before the holidays. It’s not easy to quit, but it is possible. Smoking is often linked to lung cancer and respiratory diseases. But it can also increase your risk of heart attacks, strokes and lots of other different types of cancer.
If you want to try and quit smoking, you don’t have to go it alone. Research suggests that those who quit with others are more successful. Get your friends or family members involved or join a local support group. Talk to your doctor about nicotine replacement therapy. Write down a list of reasons why you want to give up, and carry it around with you. If you have an urge to smoke, read the list, and hopefully, it will put you off. It’s also a good idea to avoid other smokers for the first couple of weeks and to swerve any of your normal smoking hangouts.
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If you’ve got a summer vacation planned, you’re probably desperate to be in tip-top shape. If you’re looking and feeling healthy, you can make the most of a well-earned break. Make an effort with your diet and try and exercise on a regular basis. Keep up to date with health checks and see your doctor if you notice any changes in your health. The chances are that there’s nothing to worry about. But if there are problems, the earlier they are treated, the better. Prioritize your health and wellbeing and try and ensure that you get enough sleep. Learn to recognize stress triggers and practice some coping techniques. If you’re a smoker, what better way to celebrate quitting than with a vacation? Use your departure date to spur you on and hang on in there if times get tough. Lean on others for support and talk to your doctor about treatments.
Often, making minor changes to your day to day life can have a dramatic impact. Follow these simple rules and you’ll be amazed at the difference. Be happy, be healthy, and have a fantastic holiday.