We’re now well on way through 2013, and New Year’s resolutions have almost certainly been broken already – although if you’re keeping yours going, well done! Many people will have been focusing on their health and fitness for the year ahead, attempting to get fit or lose weight so they can feel better about themselves.
The aim may be to look better, or improve self esteem, perhaps by getting into the bikini that no longer fits in time for the summer holiday! Whatever the purpose, improving your health isn’t easy. You have to put the work in.
There is an easy way of improving your eye-health and looks at the same time – Intralase laser eye surgery for example is something you can save up for and quickly dispose of the glasses you hate so much.
A lot of people hate going to gyms – the muscle-bound men in the corner pumping the iron; the fitness-obsessed women on the cross trainer with their perfect stomachs – it’s no surprise you’re put off, but you don’t even have to go to the gym to improve a lot of factors of your health. Here are five examples of activities that can help you achieve your health and fitness goals for 2013:
On average we all breathe 20,000 times a day, so you may wonder how this could improve your health, as it is a basic human necessity. However, many of us take breaths that are too shallow or even too quick, resulting in us feeling stressed. This can also lead to depression and insomnia, due to the lack of oxygen, so it really is important to consider how you breathe.
Physiologically, by breathing correctly you are enabling your body to feel rested, calm and able to deal with any situation, which can only be a positive improvement! To breathe properly you need to use your diaphragm (the muscle at the bottom of the chest cavity). The best way to feel your diaphragm is to lay on the floor and place your left hand on your upper chest and your right hand on your abdomen in the space between your ribcage. When you breathe in, and then out (which is one cycle) only your left hand should move. If your right hand is moving it is an indication that your breathing is too shallow.
Make more of a concerted effort to slow your breathing down to eight to ten cycles per minute and this will ease anxiety as well as ensure the optimum amount of nutrients are carried around the body.
2. New Mattress
It is common knowledge that getting a good night sleep is beneficial to us all, however I bet you didn’t know how essential a good quality mattress is to that. Considering we spend on average 10 days per month in bed spending a little extra on yours and your families’ mattresses is worth considering. Regardless of the amount of sleep you need the quality can be improved by your comfort whilst in bed.
Research shows that deep, undisturbed sleep means we wake up and are more efficient, productive and better equipped to deal with our friends and family as well as any issues that may arise. Human nature is that we magnetize to things by how they look visually, so if a mattress appears to be soft and squidgy we trust our instincts and buy it. However, as with a car or even with clothing items a test drive or ‘try on’ of the mattress is essential before buying.
‘Laughter is the best medicine’ is not only a well-known idiom but turns out to be actually true. Laughter triggers healthy changes within the body such as a boost in the immune system, increasing energy release whilst protecting you from stress.
It is reported that nothing works more dependably than laughter to improve your mood as well as the mood of those around you. With an enormous power to keep you alert, uplifted and focused laughter is the simplest free way to keep your mind and body healthy.
In recent studies houseplants have been proven to drastically reduce indoor pollution, which in turn helps those suffering with asthma as well as those that don’t. The Chinese have long been implementing the benefits of plants, as they believe they create a ‘living energy’ in their homes and workplaces.
Unbelievably plants affect us physically, emotionally and psychologically so are a great way to make the environment more comfortable and naturally have a positive atmosphere. Choosing feathery ferns or trailing plants soften harsh lines within a room or office so they’re perfect in an office full of shelving.
The colour of the plants you choose will also have different effects, for example greens are meant to promote harmony whereas a plant with red flowers generally means ‘go’ so is good for portraying a motivating environment. In our over- populated cities, apartments and offices it is rare we can get out and enjoy open green space so bringing nature into our homes and working areas helps satisfy a similar human requirement to outdoor gardening and our need to our need to be in touch with nature. Overall, plants are a cheap and easy but very effective way to improve your health and those around you.
Walking is usually recommended for fitness and general health, and can also aid weight loss. This is one good reason to get your walking boots on and put your best foot forward but there appears to be more to it than just trimming down.
A brisk walk doesn’t only evoke relaxing feelings but also boosts the immune system and raises the heart rate. As well as combating physical illnesses such as diabetes and osteoporosis, making the time to have a short walk every day also decreases the risk of depression and dementia as you get older. No matter how hectic our modern lives become, making time to have a wander should be made a priority somewhere in your day as ultimately it could drastically improve your physical and mental well- being.