A New You - Right Now

Each new year brings 365 opportunities to put down the burger, walk more or smoke less. Will 2019 be your year to adopt a healthier lifestyle? A healthy, balanced lifestyle is not only about the food you put in your body or the exercise you do. Limiting your stress or looking at your phone less could also have a positive impact on your health.

Dr Vernon Wessels, Doctor: ER24 Site Based Medical Services, advises on why it’s essential for you to live a healthy lifestyle. “For the human body to sustain us for a long lifespan, we need to look after it (there are very few machines that can last as long as the human body). Health is a precious commodity and not something we can take for granted. Although we will all suffer from illness and injuries within our lifespan, our body’s ability to recover well from these is directly related to how well the body has been maintained. Also, abuse of the body through unhealthy actions can by itself cause the body to age prematurely.”

Get out and get moving

Nowadays weekends are filled to the brim with park runs, as well as other types of sporting events. Not everyone might want to do a 10km run, but it is vital to get out and get moving.

Craig Grix, a personal trainer, also advises on why you should get active. “There are so many benefits to a healthy and active lifestyle, and with proper nutrition, you’ll have more energy throughout the day, nicer looking skin, etc. Exercise also improves muscle tone and keeps your body flexible and your bone density in top condition.”

He also notes that his clients change in more ways than one. “I not only see their bodies changing, but also their outlook on life. They tend to be more confident, energetic and positive,” said Craig.

Start Wednesday

Although new year’s resolutions are set with the best intentions, how many do you follow through? One shouldn’t only try to make healthy changes at the beginning of a new year or think “I’ll start Monday”. Start now. Look at the bigger picture and all the things that could affect your health.

“We need to aim to prevent or at least limit our exposure to anything that has a negative impact on our body and provide it with the necessary environment to function well and recover from unpreventable onslaughts (e.g. infections and injuries). This includes eating the correct foods in the right quantities, getting sufficient rest, exercising appropriately, and creating balance within our lives for emotional well-being. Avoid things that can be harmful to your body and do everything else in moderation. Even good things can be overdone and have negative consequences,” said Dr Wessels.

Social media cleanse

Do you find yourself spending too much time on your phone or your computer? This can also take a toll on your body and mind. Many of us wake up checking our smartphones and go to sleep doing the same. Why not follow a schedule where between 20H00 and 06H00 you do not check your phone or computer? Dedicate the time to spending it with your family or friends or do something that relaxes you. Other than using electronics, of course.

“Electronics can be positive with regard to access to information on healthy living and allowing us to manage daily issues with fewer challenges (imagine arranging a meeting or having to collect something if cell phones and computers were not there to make the necessary arrangements). However, technology can also have a negative impact with regard to interpersonal relations, eye strain and other body overuse injuries due to excessive computer use and failure to have adequate balance in a person’s life,” said Dr Wessels.

More recommendations on how to live a healthy lifestyle:

  • Lower your salt intake
  • Limit your alcohol intake
  • A balanced diet (everything in moderation)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Stop smoking
  • Drink more water
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables
  • Spend time with family and friends
  • Spend time outdoors
  • Try and manage your stress
  • Get a good night’s sleep (6-8 hours)