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12.3.16

Six life changes that make a big impact to your overall health

If you’re unhappy in life there’s never been a better time to make some positive changes that will change your state of wellbeing. These six alterations will give a lot more than they cost – and the effects could be beneficial for many years.

Giving up smoking
For those who do rely on tobacco, giving up will be one of the biggest decisions they can ever make, and certainly one of the toughest. However, the effects on your psychological, physiological, social and financial wellbeing are massive. From improved lung, heart and brain efficiency, to better breathing and improved taste buds, your life will practically change. There are a number of ways to progress, such as self-help groups and videos, nicotine patches and swapping the tobacco for electronic cigarettes.

Exercise
Even an extra 10-minute walk a day can boost the immune system but upgrading to half an hour will really show results within just a few weeks on your entire body. It will also improve sexual function and improve your mood and sleep.
Gradual steps are the key; get up slightly earlier and follow an online video, or have a brief job. Once you’ve spent a month or so adjusting to the new routine you might consider joining a fitness class or sports group, where you’ll add new friends to the ‘reasons to feel good about life’ list.

More sleep   
Most of us need 6-8 hours of sleep every night to function properly, although some immortals seem to function on far less. The problem is that many people seem to put barriers in place to stop themselves having a good night’s kip: factors could include too much caffeine, out partying, staying up with children; worrying, and addictiveness to Netflix and mobile devices. The latter in particular is a real issue, with no fewer than 91% of the so-called YouTube generation sleeping next to a smartphone. Get some more hours of shuteye and you’ll soon feel the benefits.

Healthier food
Heavily fried and/or starchy, carb-laden food will have a number of effects on the human body, none of them good. A surplus of calories will manifest itself in arteries, bellies hips, cheeks and other parts of the body, slowing us down and making us feel less good about ourselves. Blood pressure rises, we’re more likely to feel aches and pains around the body, and the risk of diabetes is higher. Dropping these foods in favour of high-fibre, high vitamin foods will soon reverse the process – and lead to rapid results.

Cutting down on alcohol
There’s a wide range of evidence to suggest that drinking one or two glasses of red wine a day can cut the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, these studies never seem to show the same effect for beer or spirits, which are packed full of sugar and starch. Drinking five pints of lager adds up to 44,200 calories a year, the equivalent of 221 doughnuts – one can imagine the effect that such carnage would wreak on the body. Drinking in moderation and not every day is the way forward.

Diversity
Complacency, monotony, and boredom are self-destructive. So here’s a spring resolution: change your life. Ask for more or different tasks at work. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read; start saving up for that car, holiday, or piece of technology; take up a new hobby; visit a new bar or restaurant; take a course. None of these may apply, or all of them may. Whatever, change your life and a change in positive feeling should soon follow.