Last week we released part 1 of a two part series highlighting how simple it can be to lead a healthy lifestyle. In spite of the time and effort often considered necessary to maintain good health, we promised to avoid inclusion of any activities that could be considered ‘extreme’.
Let the record state that if you want to wake up at 6am and run five days a week it’s not going to do any harm! The focus here, however, is on maximizing efficiency and finding healthy alternatives to the ways we’re currently doing things. Whether it’s walking instead of driving, or reducing your caffeine intake, the following are sure to leave you feeling fine with little extra time/effort/equipment required.
Walk when possible
Travelling a short distance? Ditch the car and walk it! Have some free time on a weekend afternoon? Go for a stroll! Walking more is arguably THE starting point for making your lifestyle more healthy. Walking up stairs in particular has been well linked to significant health improvements, so at the very least you might consider taking the stairs instead of the escalator next time.
Practice breathing exercises
Last week we mentioned meditation and this one is akin to that. Taking a moment to focus on the immediacy of your breath and not on whatever stressors are present right now can have an enormously positive effect on mental health. The fabled mind/body connection is real: To take care of one is to take care of the other!
Reduce caffeine consumption
We wrote an entire blog post on this one a few months ago. Caffeine causes an increase in blood pressure and, subsequently, stiffness in the aorta, which when allowed to persist can lead to heart and brain disease down the line. Limiting caffeine intake to less than 2 cups of coffee per day could be hugely beneficial to a frequent coffee drinker, although everybody reacts differently and any reduction at all is a good one!
This is about as close to ‘extreme’ as we’re going to get here, which is not in reference to the activity itself so much as the fact that it does require a small time commitment.
iHeart is focused on measuring aortic stiffness and, unsurprisingly, Yoga has been shown to have a very positive effect on that. As with muscles, the aorta is made more supple and flexible when core-focused Yoga poses are practiced. Work Yoga into your routine a few times a week and you’ll witness your Internal Age plummeting as you stretch your way to better health!
Reduce alcohol consumption
It goes without saying that there are health benefits in store for all those who reduce or eliminate their consumption of alcohol. Another great example of the mind/body connection, the results here include healthier looking skin, better emotional regulation, weight loss, and an increase in energy levels. It’s a miracle that alcohol is not heavier regulated given the criminal consequences involved with other comparatively-harmful substances, but that's a can of worms we won't be opening today or ever!