*This is a collaborative guest post
With so much to squeeze into everyday life it can be easy to order junk food, skip the gym (particularly after a busy day at work), lounge in front of the TV on your days off and generally forget about your health and wellbeing. This, of course, can lead to obesity, diabetes, fatigue and a wealth of other problems, so here’s how to improve your family’s overall health in 2016.
Take out health insurance
Firstly, it’s a good idea to have all the paperwork in place so that if you’re ever taken ill you can be treated privately (if necessary) without having to foot a huge bill. There are all kinds of policies available from the likes of Howden which are sure to come in useful if you have an accident, need an urgent scan or require specialist treatment. While the paperwork might seem a bit laborious, it’s a small price to pay for having a financial safety net for health worries.
Most of us know that things like chocolate and crisps are bad for our health, but that doesn’t stop us tucking into them. While the rare treat is somewhat acceptable, it’s best to stay away from high-fat, high-salt products and to eat a more natural diet consisting of plenty of fruit and vegetables. There are many wonderful healthy recipes you can try including vegetarian casseroles, fish soups and pasta salads, so it’s all about being creative in the kitchen.
When eating healthily, it’s also important to avoid heavily processed foods such as white bread and grains as the more they’ve been tampered with the less nutrients they tend to have. Frozen or pre-made meals such as pizza are also not recommended as they can contain hidden sugar, salt, fat and preservatives that you might not be aware you’re eating. Always read the ingredients before buying certain items and make sure you read the nutritional breakdown on packaging to get a better understanding of how healthy the product is.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone up or simply improve your fitness, the trick is to move more. It might sound simple, but many of us don’t actually reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day target meaning that we’re not burning off as many calories as we think we are. So, if you’re up for a challenge, why not buy yourself a pedometer or one of the many wearable technology gadgets on the market these days and set personal fitness goals for you and your family? With devices such as Fitbits you can actually send each other messages of encouragement, compete against family members and compare your fitness stats at the end of the day. You’ll even be awarded badges if you reach certain targets or milestone, which all help to make exercise fun.
Look after your mental health
There’s still a stigma surrounding mental health, but as anyone can suffer bouts of depression, anxiety and other conditions, it’s essential to look after your mind as well as your physical fitness. You can do this by taking up a new hobby or sport to keep your brain focussed, going for drinks with friends, talking through your problems with a professional or family member or blogging about your feelings. Dealing with stressful thoughts as and when they occur will stop them from manifesting into something much harder to cope with, so be open and honest about what’s on your mind.
Improving your overall health is a great goal to have in 2016 and it’s often more achievable if the whole family gets involved – so go ahead and give it a go.