Health is wealth. So staying healthy should not be seen as a second job. To some people, keeping a positive outlook, taking necessary vitamins, exercising and eating right may seem a huge task, but this is vital to ones health.
Of course, staying healthy by eating nutritious meals may require some cost, but there are simple measures which one can adopt in order to avoid preventable illnesses. Experts advise that everyone should try other simple and practical ways to get an extra health boost in order to be productive when necessary. Below are some simple practical steps to help you stay healthy, according to professionals:
Wash your hands regularly
Of course, this sounds simple, and that may be the reason people seldom take it seriously. Global Hand Washing Day, a day set aside to create awareness on the importance of washing one’s hands regularly, was recently celebrated in order to make people adopt the culture of hand washing. The Territorial Manager, Society for Family Health, Lagos, Dr. Yinka Goodman, while speaking at an event commemorating the GHWD in Lagos, noted that washing hands frequently is one of the best ways to protect yourself from infectious diseases.
Experts say since many infections are transmitted by touching things – doorknobs, other people’s hands, railings, telephones, desktops, and other objects that carry disease – hand-washing is important for people of all ages, especially children. Studies have shown that hand-washing cut children’s risk of pneumonia and diarrhoea in half. Soap and running water are all you need, and if those are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers also are effective.
It is not a bad idea to spend money in order to feed properly. As a matter of fact, volumes of books have been written about diets. Experts say the best diet is one that has a balance of nutrients measured by calorie intake. Therefore, it’s been recommended that you eat more fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, lean protein. Experts say that to stay healthy, you should consume less fats and sugar, refined grains, sodium, dietary cholesterol and alcohol.
However, while these guidelines are useful, it’s hard to abide by them in our day-to-day life. The most important thing is how to moderate all you eat. Don’t indulge in excess eating, but eat a variety of foods. Balance your intake. Experts say another important practice is to eat breakfast regularly. They note that studies show that skipping breakfast triggers the body to eat more later in the day and store calories which may build up fats. Other hints are to eat smaller quantities in each of the three main meals with healthy, small intakes in between.
Having achieved a balanced diet and limited your intake of calories, you need to balance your calorie expenditure. Experts say calories in and calories out is a good focus. If you burn more calories than you consume, weight will drop. If you eat more calories than you burn, usually you will gain weight as the body stores the excess. With this in mind, the next thing is to get out and do some exercise. Anaerobic exercise (weight or strength training) helps form bone density and builds muscle that more efficiently burns calories, experts say.
On the other hand, aerobic exercise also burns calories, helps with endurance, heart health, lung capacity, and strength. Studies show that metabolism increases during exercise but also continues at an elevated rate for hours afterwards. But in doing this, you have to be careful; don’t go from a sedentary life to full throttle. Make sure your doctor says you’re healthy enough, and then start slow and work your way up to an exercise regimen. Be sure also to drink enough water as you increase your exercise. You can walk outside your home for some time, or better still, go to a shopping mall and walk inside in inclement weather.
Driving less also could give you extra time for healthier behaviours, such as walking. Experts say you should try to give up driving one day a week (or at least one day a month). Walk to at least one place you might normally drive to. This has a way of impacting on your health positively.
Get enough sleep
This is very important. However, too much of it may lead to poverty. After eating right and exercising, you need to sleep. The average adult needs about eight hours of sleep per night, experts say. Sleep is the great cure-all. It is a time when your body recovers, and when your immune system is improved. A survey conducted by the American Cancer Society concluded that people who sleep less than six or more than nine hours per night had a death rate 30 per cent higher than those who regularly slept seven to eight hours. Even those who slept six hours or less who otherwise had no health problems had death rates 1.8 times higher than those who slept normal hours. So get enough sleep.
Don’t neglect medical check-ups
Experts say an ounce of prevention is always the best medicine, so don’t neglect your annual checkup. Avoid putting off important screening tests like mammogram (for women), bone-density test, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other blood work. Prevention means being proactive, so invest this small amount of time in your health and stay healthy for your family, friends and country.