Ever wondered how healthy you actually are? It's not just about how many spin classes you make every week, or how many vegetables you manage to cram into every meal. Obviously these are important, but you've got to think about every aspect of your health; physically and mentally. Have a look at this list and see how healthy you truly are (the more you do on a regular basis, the better!):
You Drink Water... And Lots Of It.
This is one of the most important things you can do for your body. The average human body is around 75% water, so it makes sense that to keep it running well you need to stay hydrated. And I don't mean by just drinking tons of tea and coffee throughout the day. Although these drinks do count towards your daily fluid intake, you've got to drink actual, normal, plain water too. Aim for an absolute minimum of two litres a day, and if you're exercising, even more. It helps to increase your metabolism, clear your skin, aid your digestion, improve your concentration and better your general health.
You Exercise Regularly.
It doesn't matter how you exercise; what's more important is to keep active and get your body moving. Recommendations suggest aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity (i.e. walking or cycling) and strength training (sessions that work your muscles) twice a week. If you exercise regularly you'll have up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke, up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes, you'll have better mental health and you'll keep your bones healthy too.
You Eat Your Fruit & Veg.
We don't even need to tell you why this is so important. A healthy, balanced diet is simply not healthy if you're not consuming plenty (and we mean PLENTY) of fruit and veg. Whether you're keeping your calories down, your sugar low or your fat intake controlled, your diet isn't good if you're not eating your greens. End of.
You Limit How Much Junk Food You Eat.
Another obvious one. The odd takeaway or ready meal really isn't going to hurt you; and who doesn't love a Friday fast food feast with your girls? Just remember that processed and fast food is rammed full of salt, sugar, fat and other nasties, so it really should be an occasional treat. And another thing; you'll enjoy it much more if you only have it now and then! You'll be healthier for it too.
Going on from the above, a healthy person prepares as many meals as possible from scratch. Your body needs real, whole foods to keep it running as it should; think plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit, lots of protein, essential fats and complex carbohydrates. Not only will cooking for yourself keep your meals healthy and balanced (and not full of crap like a lot of pre-made, processed food is), it will also help you to destress, calming your mind - and body - down. It's good for the soul!
You Don't Drink Too Much Alcohol.
Again, there's nothing wrong with enjoying the odd night out on the cocktails or a few glasses of prosecco with lunch. But if it's more of a daily occurrence than an odd treat, it's not a healthy habit. Overdoing the booze on a regular basis can lead to many health problems, like weight gain, liver and kidney issues, and difficulty sleeping.
You Use Suncream.
We all know how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, and yet so many of us skip the SPF, even on a sunny day. It's so important for your body to create a barrier to those UVA/UVB rays; sun damage causes premature aging, blemishes and of course, could lead to cancer in some cases. So not healthy. And don't forget to protect your eyes too; a pair of good-quality sunglasses will block those damaging rays and help preserve your eyesight for longer.
Or, at least you take some time to relax quietly with no other distractions on a regular basis. We're talking just five minutes to slow down your breathing, focus on clearing your mind and relaxing your whole body. Taking time to do this will reduce your stress, improve your self-awareness, makes you happier, benefits your immune system and can even slow down aging. Keep your body healthy by taking time for you.
You Get Enough Sleep.
A lack of sleep can reduce your lifespan, increase your stress levels, cause weight gain, affect your memory and attention span, and mess with your mental health too. It's important to get the recommended seven to nine hours a night. We know it can be difficult at times, especially if you've got kids or a busy work life. But it's so important for your body, your soul and therefore your general health to get as much good quality sleep as you personally need.
You Look After Yourself.
You make it to those regular dentist and opticians check-ups. You get your smear test when it's due. It's easy to think you're too busy and to put it off, but little things like this aren't so little; it's so important for your health to keep your body in tip-top condition and get to the bottom of any niggles or issues your body might be having that you're not aware of yet.
You Listen To Your Body.
If something hurts, stop doing it. Obviously with things like exercise, a little discomfort is normal (and good for your body; it's good to get out of your comfort zone). But know what's normal for you and if you feel like something's not quite right, do something about it; see a doctor to put your mind right. If you're feeling down or miserable, ask yourself why and speak to a trusted friend and help put whatever it is right again. Maybe you keep just feeling a little bit 'meh' and you're not sure what's causing it. Trust your instincts and speak to someone, like your GP, about it. Listening to your body and knowing yourself better will benefit not only your body, but your mind too.
You Love Yourself.
One of the most important things a healthy woman can do is to love herself. Yes, at times it's easier said than done. Accept yourself, come to terms with any mistakes you may have made, and learn to let them go. Smile more (for yourself or for others), appreciate what you have, and don't compare yourself to others. It's completely normal to not absolutely love yourself all the time. But thinking positively about yourself (and others too) will lower your stress levels, make you happier, soothe your mind and make you healthier - physically and mentally.
Don't make excuses, you're amazing - so tell yourself so.
Written by Samantha Neades / Personal Trainer / Cheltenham Women's Fitness
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay