OK, the title to today’s article might be a bit of an exaggeration and one disclaimer might be to ignore the advice about ditching the gym. In short, this is obviously going to help you, but the message we are trying to portray is that the following advice is also going to assist you no-end.
That’s right, staying or getting healthy isn’t just about running on the treadmill for hours on end. There is far more to the equation than that, and this is why we have penned today’s guide.
Bearing this in mind, we will now delve into six ways that can make you get healthier – without sometimes even getting up off your armchair.
You can do it all whilst sleeping
We said some of today’s advice would be relaxing, didn’t we? Well, this first tip should highlight the relax-factor down to a tee. Whilst modern-day life might sometimes get in the way, don’t forget the importance of a solid sleep schedule.
Some experts advise that eight hours per night is enough, but really this total is going to vary by person. A good way to gauge whether or not you fall into this category is to just listen to your body; do you feel tired the next day? If you do, it might be a sign that you haven’t had enough sleep.
Why is this important? Research has highlighted that those individuals who don’t sleep enough are more likely to have higher blood sugar levels. This is because a lack of sleep creates an imbalance with your hunger and satiety hormones, meaning that you never quite feel full (even after eating). The upshot is that you will always be a bit too hungry, prompting an increase in cravings.
Ditch the alcohol
Next on the list is alcohol. As you will probably know by now, this is the downfall for a lot of people. Hangovers are just the tip of the iceberg, and there are all sorts of studies which correlate this substance with things like high blood pressure and even cancer.
In truth, we could pen a whole essay on why you shouldn’t be turning to alcohol. For a start, many of the drinks contain excess sugar, which has a direct effect on your waistline and blood sugar levels.
However, there is more. It can cause poor quality sleep (see the above), while it can impact the hormone leptin. An imbalance of this hormone can make you more likely to turn to greasy foods the following day; which obviously has its own repercussions.
So, should you cut out alcohol entirely? In an ideal world, you probably would. However, as we all know, turning to a drink every now and again is more than socially acceptable. It means that you should at least be looking to stick within the recommended amount, which is classed as one drink per day for females and two per day for males.
Take your time during meals
Again, it sounds simple advice, but an easy “hack” is to just take your time during eating. Simply making sure that you chew food properly (the experts recommend up to thirty times before swallowing) can ensure that more is absorbed in the intestine.
Think of it like this, if you chew less, you are giving your stomach and intestine a whole lot more to do. This can increase the chances of bloating, constipation plus a whole host of other problems.
If you can pace yourself accordingly during mealtimes, your body is much more likely to feel full and the chances of you binging later diminish.
So, what’s an easy tip to help you along your way here? If you can set yourself a time goal for finishing your meal, it can help you a lot. For example, state that it will take you twenty minutes to clear your plate. This isn’t a finger in the air number either; it has been found that this is the optimum time for the brain to register that your gut is full. Ultimately, you are less likely to turn to more food once you have reached this point.
Combat your stress levels
Fortunately, we are now in an era where stress is much more understood. While there are certain types of stress which are fine, there are others which cause endless problems. Depression and anxiety are just two of these issues, but there have also been links with stress and cardiovascular disease.
It means that you need to find a way to get over your stress levels. While we promised at the start of this article that you wouldn’t have to exercise, one of the best ways to alleviate your body of stress is actually to start moving. This is a proven way to relieve stress, but there are others such as mediating or even chatting to a friend. It all helps.
Avoid processed foods
Hopefully, you are already fully aware of this next piece of advice. After all, processed foods have been in the media a lot over the last few years and unfortunately, it has been all for the wrong reasons.
The drawbacks of these foods are absolutely endless. They contain huge amounts of sugars and sodium, while their list of ingredients is excessively long and many of these just aren’t going to do your general health any good whatsoever. For example, if you were to research many of these individual ingredients, you would find that many have all sorts of fillers and thickeners which actually hinder your usual bodily functions. Your body will suddenly struggle to absorb the “real” elements from foods, and this just isn’t going to help you with your overall health goals.
Instead, turn to whole foods. By this, we are referring to the likes of fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, seeds and nuts. All of these can make the world of difference to your overall health.
Cut down on the distractions at meal times
Finally, let’s talk about distractions. There is a common theme with a lot of the topics that have been discussed through today’s article; many of them can be overcome very easily. This can most certainly be said about this next point, which is all about how (and where) you consume your food.
A study has shown that half of Americans will eat their lunch at their desk. This isn’t a one-off occurrence either; it’s something that usually happens every day.
Unfortunately, this isn’t doing your general health any favours in the slightest. It has been found that digestion is usually sent to the back of the priorities list when your stress levels kick in. Suffice to say, when you are sat at your desk eating away, you are much more likely to be distracted by things which are ultimately causing you to be stressed. Not only this, but the hormone cortisol has been found to hinder the digestion of nutrients.
There are further elements to this scenario as well. When you are eating at your desk, you aren’t really focussing on the food. It means that you can become prone to overeating, and as we all know, this is something that isn’t going to do your overall health any favours whatsoever.
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