Maintaining your health is important for your overall lifestyle. Often, we take our health for granted, but without proper care and nurture, it can quickly begin to fade, and you may experience health issues, pain, discomfort and other problems as a result. So, what can you do to keep your overall health in good condition? Here are a few key areas that you can focus on starting out!
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet
Nowadays, many of us have an unhealthy relationship with food. What we need to remember is that, while food is enjoyable and should be something that you look forward to, it does serve the function of providing our bodies with fuel. We need to make sure that we’re putting the right fuel into our body to make sure that it keeps working at optimum capacity. Instead, many of us fail to achieve this. Some of us follow unhealthy, fad diets to try to lose weight at an unreasonable speed. Some of us overeat, leading to us being overweight or obese, and the consequent health problems that come hand in hand with this. Some of us don’t eat enough, depriving our body of the energy it requires. On top of this, we have problems such as junk food and fast food that fill us up with empty calories and low quality ingredients. Creating a balanced diet can feel like a challenge at first, but once you achieve this, you will get into a habit and it will become natural to you!
Managing Your Calories
Let’s start by talking about calories. Calories are simply a unit of measurement that we use to determine how much energy certain foods contain and what they will provide our bodies with when we consume them. If you are already a healthy weight, there are a recommended number of calories that you should consume per day to maintain this weight, These are outlined in the guide below, and can differ according to your age, sex, activity levels and other individual factors. If you are overweight, you may see that you need to reduce the amount of calories you eat. If you are underweight, you may need to increase them. Talk to your doctor about this, as they will be able to make unique recommendations according to your individual needs.
- Children aged 2 to 8 – 1000 to 1400 calories
- Girls aged 9 to 13 – 1400 to 1600 calories
- Boys aged 9 to 13 – 1600 to 2000 calories
- Active women aged 14 to 30 – 2400 calories
- Sedentary women aged 14 to 30 – 1800 to 2000 calories
- Active men aged 14 to 30 – 2800 to 3200 calories
- Sedentary men aged 14 to 30 – 2000 to 2600 calories
- Active adults over 30 – 2000 to 3000 calories
- Sedentary adults over 30 – 1600 to 2400 calories
Cutting Out Poor Quality Foods
Nowadays, we eat too much junk. Junk foods, ready meals, fast food, takeaways… the list goes on. The appeal of these foods is simple to see. They taste good. They are convenient. They mean that you don’t have to spend a long time prepping ingredients and cooking. For some, you don’t even have to wash up after yourself. But these foods are also often bad for you. They contain high levels of saturated fats. They’re processed. They contain excess amounts of salt and sugar. They are also often devoid of many quality vegetables or other ingredients that contain nutrients that your body needs. It’s time to cut these foods out of your diet. Sure, they will be fine as a very occasional meal or snack. But you shouldn’t be eating them on a regular basis. Instead, where possible, create your own, healthy and balanced meals.
You need to exercise to keep your body in good shape too. It’s recommended that you get 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. Achieving this can feel difficult. After all, we all have busy schedules and you may want to spend your time doing other things. But finding 150 minutes each week shouldn’t be too difficult and your body will thank you for it. Maintaining a good exercise routine can do everything from improving your cardiovascular health to boosting your stamina, burning excess fat, building muscle, improving balance, maximising flexibility and more.
Choosing Your Exercise
Remember that you don’t necessarily have to go to the gym to exercise. Sure, this may suit many people, but it’s not the only option. You could get some ice skates, pickleball accessories, a basketball hoop, swimming goggles or anything else you need to engage in some more unique and alternative forms of fitness too!
Routine is Important
It’s much better to work out once a week every week than to work out every day for a week and not go back to it. Routine is important when it comes to maintaining fitness levels, so make sure to be moderate with your exercise rather than overdoing it and burning yourself out.
Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
It’s important to remember that your mental health needs to be monitored too. Sure, when we talk about health and wellbeing, our minds may automatically jump to the body. But we have to take care of our minds too. In the past, there has undeniably been stigma and taboo surrounding the topic of mental health. This could be blamed on the fact that mental health is elusive and we didn’t really understand it too well. However, thanks to significant developments in the fields of medicine, science and technology, we’re growing to understand mental health better and we are growing increasingly aware that mental health issues and mental health conditions are much more common than we may have originally thought. So, pay attention to your mental health. It can significantly help you in the long run!
Be Aware of Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions
First and foremost, it’s important to familiarise yourself with different symptoms of common mental health conditions. Not only is this important to raise general awareness of mental health conditions, but it can also help you to identify warning signs of symptoms or existing symptoms within yourself. If you are feeling different in yourself, take some time to research how you’re feeling and determine whether you could be experiencing mental health difficulties.
Seek Medical Help
If you are concerned that you may have a mental health condition, or are struggling with your mental health, it’s absolutely essential that you reach out for help and support from a medical professional. This will help you significantly. By contacting a doctor, they will be able to survey your symptoms and determine if you have a mental health condition. If you have, they can then guide you on the right path to management or recovery. This could range from prescribed medication to therapy or a combination of the two approaches. They will also be able to provide or recommend supportive sources or information.
Understand What Is Causing or Contributing to Your Symptoms
If you attend therapy, you may take a deeper dive into what is causing your mental health symptoms or conditions. There are countless potential causes of mental health issues, and if you are suffering from a mental health problem, it’s likely that there may have been a number of contributing factors that have resulted in your symptoms. Each individual is different and this list isn’t conclusive, but some common contributing factors to the development of mental health conditions can include:
- Childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect
- Adult abuse, trauma, or neglect
- Social isolation
- Experiences of discrimination
- Social disadvantage (such as poverty)
- Severe stress or chronic stress
- Long-term physical health conditions or pain
- Drug and alcohol misuse
- Physical causes (such as head injury or trauma)
Understanding the causes or triggers of your mental health condition can help you to understand it and manage it.
Use Alternative Sources of Support
Remember that there are countless sources of support out there besides your doctor. You should reach out to these if you feel the need. They will help you in what ways they can and could make all the difference to your day to day life. Some examples include mental health charities, helplines, support groups and more. Remember that you are never alone in this experience.
While mindfulness will not resolve mental health conditions, it can help to contribute to better mental health in general. Mindfulness is a practice that focuses on helping you to be aware of everything that’s going on around you. It also teaches you to simply observe things, allowing them to pass without judgement. This can increase a sense of serenity and contentedness. There are plenty of apps that will guide you through mindfulness.
As you can see, there are a significant number of areas of focus for you when you decide to start looking after your overall health and wellbeing. Of course, the information listed above isn’t conclusive. There are various other areas that you can work on. But hopefully, this will help you to get off to a good start!