Eight Really Obvious Ways to Improve Your Health Today


If you've decided to be healthier this year but aren't sure where to start, there are a few things you can do straight away to kick start you on your way. These are the basic things you should be doing to live a healthy life - so before you jump into a gruelling fitness regime or anything just as drastic, here are eight simple things you can do first which will improve your health immediately.

1. Stop smoking
This is at the top of the list because it's the most important thing you can do to improve your health. Stubbing out that ciggie will significantly reduce your risk of developing cancer, heart disease and stroke, amongst other things. See your GP if you need help giving up.

2. Cut out refined sugar
Swap sugary snacks like biscuits and chocolate for fresh fruit, nuts and seeds, and make as many of your meals from scratch as possible, rather than reaching for microwave meals which can be extremely high in sugar (and salt, coincidentally). Also cut out fizzy drinks - the NHS recommends we consume no more than 30g of sugar daily; however one can of Coke alone contains 35g!

3. Load up on vegetables
We've all heard that we should be eating our way through 5-a-day, but five portions of fruit and vegetables is actually the minimum we should be having - in fact, experts are now recommending we get ten. Cutting down on meat and processed foods and making most of your meals plant-based is the easiest way to do this.

4. Exercise
You should do at least 30 minutes of exercise per day, three times a week. If you're new to exercise, start off with some gentle cardio such as walking and build up from there.

5. Drink water
Guzzle it down like it's going out of fashion! Carry a water bottle around with you all day and sip it at regular intervals. Aim to drink two litres by the end of the day. Being well hydrated increases your energy levels and makes you feel more alert.

6. Get enough sleep
Everyone knows they should get around eight hours' sleep every night, but how many of us actually do it? You need to make sleep a priority if you want to keep your body and brain at their healthiest - a lack of sleep can cause all kinds of health problems in the long run. Read my post about Seven Ways to Have a Perfect Night's Sleep for some tips.

7. Ditch the diet
Don't try to improve your health or lose weight by restricting your food intake or cutting out certain food groups such as carbs, wheat or dairy (unless you have an intolerance). Follow my advice above about loading up on vegetables, drinking more water and getting some exercise and the weight will start coming off naturally. It may be slower than if you embark on a crash diet, but it's a lot safer and you're more likely to keep it off in the long term.

8. Spend time outside
Nature gives us a sense of wellbeing so it's great for our mental health. Studies show that even a ten-minute walk outside can significantly improve your mood. As well as topping up your vitamin D levels, it clears your head and gives you a double hit of the happy hormone serotonin - one from the exercise and one from the sunshine.

Do you have anything to add to this list? Let me know in the comments!






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Comments

  1. Love that you included tips for mental health not just physical health here :)

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    1. Thanks, Laura - mental health is just as important as physical!

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  2. Love this list! They are all obvious but easy to overlook. For me sleep is the biggest one, it can make such a difference!

    Take care,
    Hayley x
    educatinghayley.com

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  3. Definitely all obvious, but all important. Sleeping enough is something I constantly have to work on! x

    Sophie
    www.glowsteady.co.uk

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  4. This is deffo a great list! I know for sure I don’t drink enough water so that’s going to be on my list! Love how this is written in a “ways to improve” rather than some articles that demand you do it now. Brilliant!

    X

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  5. I can't think of anything else to add to this list I think you've covered all of the important bases! The thing is although all of these are so obvious a lot of us neglect to do them anyway. I'm not a big fan of vegetables but I do make up for it with fruit because I eat loads of that, I really need to start eating healthier and hopefully by following some more of these tips I'll be able to lose some weight!

    Jess // foundationsandfairytales.wordpress.com
    xx

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  6. These are all super important and this post is definatly a great reminder! I have started to drink more water and I enjoy excersing everyday

    Mel // www.moonlightmel.co.uk

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  7. I need to work on Sleep, I think that is where am not doing enough. Thanks for sharing these health tips with us.

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  8. Your blog is always so inspiring Nicola! Thank you for sharing these helpful tips. I agree, healthy eating and exercise is so much more effective than a quick crash diet. Recently, I've been drinking more water (and adding fresh lemon to make it taste better) and I feel so much more energized! I'm so glad the weather is looking brighter too, going for walks on a sunny day is such a healthy mood booster. Fab post as always lovely! <3 xx

    Bexa | www.hellobexa.com

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  9. I love these habits you've pointed out that can make a big difference with your health. YES on the smoking part. I've seen experimental videos of what happens to cotton when a cigarette is consumed through the jar. Exercise is good for the soul. Getting your body moving activates those muscles. Thanks for sharing these tips!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

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  10. Sleeping enough is so important! I never thought it would make such a difference to stick to a night time routine...

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