Improve your health

Feel and look better with these 5 easy wellbeing tips.

If you want to see a noticeable improvement in your health in the next 12 months, then follow this five step guide.

  1. Do strength training

    Most Australians miss out on one of the biggest breakthroughs in exercise research in the last decade! Traditionally, people have focused on aerobic, or “cardio” exercise (primarily due to advice from heath professionals), however this is only part of the picture. To maximize our health, we all need to do regular resistance training. Not only is resistance training fantastic for most of us, it also helps to prevent and treat a myriad of chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and hypertension.

    Staying strong

    So what is resistance training? Also known as weight or strength training, resistance training is any type of exercise where your muscles contract strongly against a force, e.g. standing up out of a chair, lifting a weight or doing a push-up. Some people think that resistance training can only be done in a gym, however resistance training can be done practically anywhere such as a park, during your daily walk or in the comfort of your home.

  2. Sleep more

    According to a recent survey conducted by Blackmore’s more than half of us just aren’t getting the sleep we need. Nearly 1 in 2 Australians have suffered from insomnia in the last six months and in sixty percent of these cases the insomnia lasted for more than two weeks. Difficulty sleeping whether for a few nights or longer can be caused by stress and anxiety, a change of time zone, depression and poor bedtime habits. There are some simple lifestyle changes we can make to encourage a good night’s sleep.

    Eight sleep savers

    1. Cut down on caffeine especially after 3pm.
    2. Avoid drinking alcohol for two hours before sleeping.
    3. Have a regular bedtime.
    4. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
    5. Spend time winding down before going to bed, read a light, entertaining book, listen to relaxing music. Avoid mental stimulation.
    6. Reserve your bedroom for sleep and intimacy, don’t watch TV or use your computer in there.
    7. Switch your brain off. Deep breathing can be a good way to do this. If you find yourself trying to work your life out under the doona give yourself clear instructions to stop – it’s neither the time nor the place.
    8. If you smoke quitting will help you sleep better otherwise avoid smoking at least two hours before bed.
  3. Play brain games

    Did you know it is possible to keep you brain healthy just by keeping it active and stimulated? Dr Michael Valenzuela from the School of Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales says there is strong evidence that people who keep working their brains and are more socially and physically active have a lower risk of developing dementia. “We’ve done a few systematic reviews or formal analysis of the results from a number of different trials and those results indicate that brain training in that context can be effective,” he said.

  4. Eat superfoods

    Not all foods are created equal. Some have extraordinary health properties. A superfood is the word for natural, plant based, unprocessed food that is considered to be nutritionally powerful because it delivers multiple health benefits and because of the high levels of nutrients it contains.

    Superfoods are said to be so healthy that they can help protect the body against and improve the condition of, common chronic illnesses and diseases.

  5. Practice portion control

    Current research also shows that the more food we put on our plates, the more we will eat. In fact, the research shows that the larger the plate the more we eat; the larger the spoon the more we eat, the larger the packet or serving bowl the more we eat, the greater the variety on offer, the more we eat – all without really noticing the increase.

    What’s even more interesting is research shows, that when we are served food on a smaller plate, we still leave the table feeling full. So less doesn’t not necessarily equal hungry. If you want to lose weight or stay the same weight, use portion control.

By Julie Hamilton

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