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The simple tips to improve your health

Published : Monday, 31 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 212

The simple tips to improve your health

The simple tips to improve your health

Building self-awareness, through things like meditation, can boost our mental and physical wellbeing
If you are contemplating a new year's health kick, you could be forgiven for feeling a little overwhelmed.
Do yoga, run, lift weights, cut the carbs, or the fat (depending on the particular diet that's in vogue), ditch the booze, reduce your stress.
It is easy to feel like your life needs to be overhauled in order to be a healthy, happy human being.
But what if you were to make only one change?
We asked experts what single thing they would recommend people should do to improve their health, assuming they are an adult who is otherwise healthy and not a smoker.
But according to Dr Nadine Sammy, associate lecturer for sport and exercise sciences at the University of Exeter, we should also be focusing on improving our minds by building self-awareness.
You might think of this as something that prevents us from embarrassing ourselves, but, according to Dr Sammy, it is much more than this.
Self-awareness is the ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives, and building it can play a crucial role in improving mental and physical wellbeing over time.
"By understanding your feelings, motivations and behaviours in more depth, you can begin to act more consciously in order to make better choices for yourself," she says.
"For instance, what is your motivation to exercise? When are you most - and when are you least - likely to stick to your exercise routine and why?"
There are many ways to do this, she says, including journaling, meditating, practicing mindfulness or simply making time for self-reflection after certain activities or at the end of the day.
"Better understanding ourselves allows us to play to our strengths and build on our weaknesses, thereby spurring us on to be our best self," she adds.
Adopt a dog A gym membership, a pilates class, or a morning run - just some of the things that might come to mind when we think of becoming physically more active.
But though going to the gym works for some of us, many will quit after a month or two, says Dr Rhys Thatcher, a reader in exercise physiology at Aberystwyth University.
Instead, he recommends finding ways to routinely incorporate exercise into our daily lives.
There are plenty of ways to do this, from avoiding the lifts at work to parking on the far side of a supermarket car park when you are doing the shopping.
But there are particular benefits to adopting a dog, he says.
If you make sure to walk it for at least 30 minutes twice a day, you will be boosting your activity while also getting the emotional benefits of dog adoption.
"This way you get to spend time outside, you get to exercise, you get a loyal companion and at the same time you get to improve the life of another living thing, all of which have been shown to improve physical and mental health," says Dr Thatcher.
We have all heard about getting our five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
But according to Dr Megan Rossi, a research fellow at King's College London's department of nutritional sciences, it is not only quantity we should be striving for, but also diversity.
We should aim for at least 30 different plant-based foods per week, she says.
That is because plant-based diversity is thought to have a key role in good gut health.
The bacteria in our gut - collectively known as the microbiome - have a profound role in our health.
Allergies, obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's, and even depression have all been linked to the bacteria in our gut.    -BBC















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