Seven steps to a healthier you

Improving your wellbeing starts with a few easy steps.

By Donna Fleming

Many of us think being healthy is hard work and requires lots of extra effort – but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are numerous easy things you can do that will have ongoing effects on your wellbeing.

1 Move it

You don’t have to go to the gym or jog every day to stay healthy. While those things are good for you, just making sure you move throughout the day will have health benefits, especially if you spend a lot of time sitting. Set an alarm on your phone and get up for just one minute every half hour. While a bit of strenuous exercise during that minute is good (try star jumps, jogging on the spot or running up and down a short flight of stairs), even just walking around the room uses your muscles, boosts metabolism and improves the levels of glucose in your blood.

2 Get out the fruit

We tend to hide the fruit and vege away in the fridge crisper drawer and forget it’s there when we’re looking for a snacks. Keep fruit somewhere you can see and access easily, such as on the table or kitchen bench, and make it the first place you head when you’re peckish. Put fruit and vege that needs to be refrigerated at eye level and at the front of the fridge, so when you open the door, they are the first thing you see.

3 Don’t buy treats

This might seem obvious, but when there is junk food in the fridge or kitchen cupboards, it is very hard to resist the temptation to eat it, so don’t rely on willpower. Even those of us with great determination to eat well can give in to cravings. If it is not in the house, then you can’t eat it.

4 Use bowls

If you like to treat yourself to snacks occasionally, such as potato chips or biscuits, always put a small amount in a bowl or on a plate, rather than eating straight out of the box or bag. That’s just asking for trouble – you’re likely to consume far more than you realise.

5 Eat a rainbow

Try filling at least half your dinner plate with vegetables before adding the rest of the food – and also think about getting a variety of coloured veges in your diet. Different colours contain other types of phytonutrients, which all
do different things, so it is important to get a good mix. If you find vegetables totally unappetising, try new ways of cooking and serving them, such as with a garlic dressing or a squeeze of lemon or lime.

6 Darken your room

It’s vital to get adequate sleep (around seven to eight hours a night), and if your room is light, that can make it harder to drop off at night. It may also mean that you wake up earlier in the morning, so invest in blackout blinds or thick curtains. If that is beyond your budget, even hanging a blanket over the curtain rail can make a real difference to how much shuteye you get.

7 Use the stairs

We should be taking 10,000 steps a day, and many of us do nowhere near that. Taking the stairs instead of getting in a lift can help you to lose weight and improve general fitness.

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