One of the great things about the modern world is how much knowledge we have access to. The smartphone in our pockets can answer any question we ask it. We’ve never been so empowered to be healthy, so why is society getting progressively more unhealthy?
Obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are increasing. In 2019, almost 40% of adults were classed as obese (Source: National Center For Health Statistics). Mental health issues are on the rise too with 1 in 5 adults experiencing some form of mental illness in 2019 (Source: National Alliance On Mental Illness).
The reasons are complex. There are certain genetic factors, which we have no control over, but there is also the sedentary pace of modern life. This, coupled with poor will power and the overabundance of unhealthy food, takes its toll on our health.
With so much information out there on which foods to eat and which exercises to do, not to mention a host of scams regarding dietary supplements and procedures. It’s all just too much to try and wade through, it’s easier to reach for a bag of chips and watch TV.
The way to better health is surprisingly simple but sounds quite boring among all the media hype around diet and lifestyle.
Reducing our exposure to chemicals and hazardous substances is important. It doesn’t mean you have to throw every cleaning item out an make your own organic ones. After all, our exposure can come from many places, recently, there has been a scare surrounding NDMA in Zantac dangers or BPA in plastics.
Try and reduce your exposure to chemicals where possible. Store food in suitable containers, reduce air fresheners in your home, and try to use natural fertilizers in your garden.
There are so many diets out there, it’s easy to think that you have to take an all or nothing approach to the food you eat. Should you do Keto, Paleo, fasting, vegetarian, flexitarian?
The truth is, you don’t have to follow a specific type of diet, or exclude foods completely. In fact, the world’s healthiest diet if the ‘Mediterranean diet’ which is rich in fish, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruit.
Unless you’re cutting out animal products (in which case alter your diet accordingly), then a balanced diet rich in vegetables, fruit, and lean protein and low in red meat, fried foods, processed foods, and sugar.
Again, the amount and type of exercise we should be doing is confusing. Strength training? Cardio? If we can’t train 6 times a week should we even bother?
If you can go to the gym five times a week, great. Most people can’t or don’t want to. The best type of exercise to do is the type you can stick to. It is recommended that adults do 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise.
If you currently only move between your home, car, and desk, then find ways to add movement into your day. Simple things such as taking the stairs, or walking short journeys. Take a walk on your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk. You don’t need to go from 0 -100 too fast. Build up the amount of exercise you do so that it becomes a way of life, not a chore to be avoided.