There are many contributors to good physical, emotional and mental fitness, and exercise is just one of them. Whenever I talk about health and fitness, I use the term healthspan rather than lifespan because that’s what we’re all striving for. We want to be healthy and able to live useful and remarkable lives for as long as possible and that’s healthspan. This month I’ll give you five top tips about how to keep yourself fit, healthy and energised for the demands of a busy life.
Watch your stress levels
Too much stress can profoundly change your body, affecting the immune system, your digestion and the overall performance of your body down to a cellular level. Managing your stress is possible, and you can do something about it if you’re willing to prioritise your health and take a few simple steps towards regaining control. Move, dance, rest, explore, indulge, create – don’t let life rule you, you’re in charge!
Booking yourself a massage is a wonderful gift to your body and will help relieve tension and encourage blood flow which helps rejuvenate your cells. For a really indulgent experience, I recommend the Hammam on Forest Hill Road if you like being pampered; I came out of there last week feeling amazing and it’s very clean, quiet and hygienic. They’ve really brought the Turkish Spa to South East London.
Prioritise your sleep
We all know the importance of sleep but too few people make it a priority. There are a few simple lifestyle hacks that you can implement to improve your sleep; avoid screens for 90 minutes before bed, leave your phone in another room, use blackout curtains and avoid sugar, alcohol and caffeine several hours before retiring. Use the evening to wind down from your day and quieten the mind, ready for a restful sleep.
Think about your journeys and consider if you could walk instead. You burn approximately 120 calories for every mile you walk, you’re moving your muscles, tendons and joints and getting blood flowing through the body. We were not designed to sit; our bodies are meant to move, and if you walk regularly you will be prolonged your healthspan. Try leaving the car at home for at least one day a week and see what difference it makes to your activity levels and wellbeing.
Laugh with friends
This one is very important! A healthy body is a happy body, and nothing beats a good laugh with friends. Do you regularly prioritise a night out with pals? Do you make time to watch comedy or just have fun, whether that’s playing games, cinema, a night out? It’s easy to get caught up in the seriousness of life, particularly if you read the news which is rarely cheerful. Try looking up and smiling more, and prioritise having fun!
This article first appeared in the August 2016 issue of SE22 magazine.