How to Lead a Healthy Lifestyle

HOW TO LEAD A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

There really are no miracle foods or workouts that will permanently improve your health as much as making Healthy Lifestyle Changes (despite what the adverts tell you!).

Leading a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle really doesn’t have to be that complicated.  Yes, you do have to make some initial changes, but after a while all these changes should become second nature to you and will most definitely be worth it!

So, how do you start to lead a Healthy Lifestyle?

Drink more Water

Drinking enough water to keep your body fully hydrated is the no.1 change you can make that will improve your overall health.  A body that’s fully hydrated will function at its best.  That means you’ll have more energy,  your brain will be more alert and your body will be far more efficient at burning fat and building muscle.

Eat more Fruit and Vegetables

Increasing your intake of Fruit and Vegetables will feed your body vital vitamins and minerals it needs to be able to perform at its best.  The majority of fruit and veg is low in calories too, which means you can fill your plate with it!

Exercise

Keeping active on a daily basis is vital to improve your overall health, fitness and well-being.  Exercise is not only good for the body, it’s also great for the mind.  It can massively improve your mood as it releases Endorphins (Happy Hormones).  You don’t have to do hours at the gym day in and day out – even just a 20-minute walk will suffice, as long as you get your body moving!

Sleep Better

Getting enough sleep (although not always easy) is vital to get your body functioning at its best.  When you sleep your body recovers, repairs and re-charges.  Don’t skip this lifestyle change as something that you can’t control – if you struggle with sleep, try your best to establish a bedtime routine, address the factors that are causing any sleep problems and make it just as much a priority as your diet and exercise.

Stress Less

Again, this may be another difficult step to change as it’s not always in your control. But there are changes you can make to help you deal with this that can improve your stress levels.  Learn to relax more – deep breathing, meditation, yoga or even just thinking calming thoughts can help!

Yes, I’m afraid YOU DO have to put some initial effort in, but the longer you stay consistent with your efforts, the less of a chore it will seem.  Gradually those bad habits become good habits and you’ll finally be leading a Fit and Healthy Lifestyle that will bring you permanent results.

Rest and Recovery

Rest and Recovery

No matter how extensive your fitness program may be, the time you spend working out is only a part of the process necessary to achieve your fitness goals. If you’re planning your training but not your recovery, you’re not going to fully reap the rewards from your Workouts.

One thing that is often misunderstood is the fact that your body becomes stronger AFTER you exercise and NOT during the actual workout itself.  The real secret to getting results depends on what happens during the recovery period following the workout.  This is why the correct recovery and rest is so important.

There are different types of recovery – Short-term (which happens immediately after a workout set) and Long-term (the period of time between workout sessions).

Short-term recovery can be anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes and it’s important to replace energy stores within this period. But the longer recovery period between workouts is the one to focus on, because it’s the time after the workout when the body adapts to the training session.  The correct care of your muscles and connective tissue, eating the right type of post workout nutrition, the quality and quantity of sleep and, even the types of clothes you wear, can all promote the post-workout recovery that’s necessary to help you maximise the results from your time spent exercising.

Post-workout Nutrition
During exercise, your muscles expend energy and experience stress. After exercise, the body needs to replenish energy with carbohydrates and repair tissue with protein so having a post-workout snack with the correct ratio of carbohydrate and protein can help massively. The correct nutrition also assists the release of the muscle-building hormones to repair and build new muscle tissue.

Stretching and Myofascial Release
Stretching, Massage, Foam rollers, Compression balls and Rolling sticks can all help to reduce muscle tightness. If a muscle doesn’t cool-down properly, the collagen fibres (which are part of the connective tissue surrounding each muscle) can create knots. Massage works by manipulating muscle tissue to break up knots and can help reduce muscle tightness and improve joint movement.

Sleep

Sleep is probably one of the most important factors that can help improve your overall health and fitness. Your body produces most of the hormones needed for tissue repair during sleep so it’s vital to get enough to assist in the recovery process.

Ice, Cold Baths and Cryotherapy
Cold treatments are extremely effective for recovery as they can help cool down the body’s core temperature, reduce inflammation and promote healing in tissue that was used during the workout. The cold temperature brings increased blood to the area, which brings nutrients and oxygen to help promote healing.

Sauna or Hot Tub
The heat from a sauna or hot tub increases the body’s circulation, which removes metabolic waste products while also carrying oxygen and other nutrients necessary to help repair tissue used during the workout.

Training Periodisation
Alternating between high and low intensity workouts (muscle confusion) either daily, weekly or monthly and taking a few days off every few weeks to allow the body to rest and recover fully.
Compression Clothing
Wearing Compression clothing before and after a workout is a relatively new form of recovery treatment that may also be effective. The pressure from the tight clothing can improve circulation which will help remove metabolic waste and promote blood flow to help the tissue repair and rebuild.

Too much exercise without enough rest and recovery can lead to injury or illness, both of which could prevent your regular workouts.  There are dangers to overtraining without the correct recovery periods between and If you don’t take enough R&R for your muscles to adapt this will certainly affect your ability to achieve your fitness goals.

NEVER forget to include RECOVERY into your Fitness programme!

The Importance of Sleep

Getting enough Sleep is just as important for your Health as Exercise and Good Nutrition.

Sleep deprivation can not only lead to a higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and stroke, but it also plays a vital role in any fitness and weightloss goals you may have.

For example, if your goal is to lose weight, lack of Sleep can cause your cortisol levels to rise – this is the stress hormone that is frequently associated with fat gain and activates your brain to feel hungry which can affect your diet and eating habits. .

If you’re wanting to gain muscle, not getting enough Sleep decreases protein synthesis (your body’s ability to make muscle) and can lead to a higher risk of injuries as your recovery from exercise is also impacted – without enough quality sleep, your body cannot fully recover.

To be able to train at your optimum fitness level, its also very important as while you are asleep, your body is busy recharging and gives your mind and body the rest it needs to perform at it’s best.

While sleep requirements vary from person to person, most healthy adults need between 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best.

Time to dim those lights, switch off your phone, snuggle into a cosy bed and get some zzzzzzzz………