The start of the year is a time when so many of us turn our attention to getting fitter and healthier – so here are 50 different ways to do that without paying for gym classes you’ll never attend (or at least not for long).
There are hundreds of simple ways to shape up, feel better and look younger. We’ve compiled a list of 50 taken from either official health advice and guidance, or academic research. So with a few simple updates to your daily routine, you can feel fitter in almost no time at all.
1 — Stretch it out every morning. Take just a few minutes each morning to stretch the major muscle groups – stretching is the body’s way of waking up by getting circulation going and encouraging flexibility.
2 — Stay on top of your doctor’s appointments. The NHS loses more than £200m a year to missed GP appointments – not only is it bad for doctors but it’s bad for you. Too many missed appointments may see you removed from your surgery’s list. A 2017 study found that risk for each disease and death – other than cancer – was reduced with each 200g a day increase in fruit and vegetables (Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty)
3 — Up your vitamin D. You can do this by simply enjoying a healthy amount of sunshine. Just 15 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight daily is important for nutrition and mental health, bone density, vitamin D production, and other health benefits, experts say. Ask your doctor to check your vitamin D level and take a vitamin D3 supplement in winter.
4 — Eat breakfast. Make the first meal of the day your biggest. Not only will eating something healthy first thing help keep energy levels up throughout the day, but a 2014 study published in Nutrition Journal found it also keeps snack cravings in check. 5 — Repair your gut. Gut health plays a big role in overall physical and mental health. Some digestive disease specialists are recommending probiotic supplements or drinks for disorders that frustrate conventional medicine, such as irritable bowel syndrome.
6 — Take a cold shower. Cold showers have lots of health benefits, including improved circulation, faster muscle recovery, enhanced skin and hair and increased energy. Try it for one to two minutes.
7 — Learn a new skill. Our brain needs to be stimulated to keep all the synapses firing. Like a muscle, it needs a work-out. Studies have shown that learning a foreign language helps improve memory.
8 — Eat your fruits and veg. A 2017 study found that risk for each disease and death – other than cancer – was reduced with each 200g a day increase in fruit and vegetables, up to 800g a day.
9 — Take vitamins. As you age, it can be harder to get all the vitamins and nutrients you need from your diet alone. A daily multivitamin. could help keep bones strong and your energy levels up. 10 — Eat spices that boost circulation. Cayenne pepper, turmeric and cinnamon help promote better blood flow, increasing mobility.
11 — Check your bones. As you age, you begin to lose bone mass and density, so it’s important to get your status checked. Calcium and vitamin D3 are great for bone and immune support if a blood or saliva test indicates a supplement is necessary.
‘Keeping active reduces your risk of having a heart attack or stroke and cuts your chances of an early death. As the old mantra goes, if exercise were a pill it would be hailed as a wonder drug’ (Photo: MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty)
12 — Get off the couch. A sedentary lifestyle is not only ageing, but it could decrease your life-span by more than a decade. Inactivity has become a major public health issue as it increases risk of heart disease, diabetes, certain types of cancer and more.
13 — Drink water. When dehydrated, your skin can look dry and dull, making you look older. Health authorities commonly recommend eight eight-ounce glasses a day (equal to about 2 litres).
14 — Adrenaline rush. Doing something that thrills you will instantly give you a jolt of energy that makes you feel half your age, whether you’re finally checking skydiving off your bucket list, watching a horror movie or going to an escape room. 15 — Eat healthy fats. Like carbs, some fats are better than others. The fat in pizza? Bad. The fat in an avocado? Good. The main fatty acid in an avocado is a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid. This is also the predominant fatty acid in olive oil, associated with health benefits.
Avocado among the foods more popular with children than their parents (Photo: Getty)
16 — Eat fibre. Fibre helps you to maintain healthy digestion and it also helps keep your cholesterol levels healthy. Eating fibre-boosting foods – such as whole grains like brown rice, plant proteins like beans and edamame and vegetables such as spinach and asparagus – can help prevent constipation. 17 — Go outdoors. According to Harvard Medical School, getting outside dramatically alters your mental health for the better. By changing scenery, you can change your perspective and banish pent-up stress.
18 — Karaoke kick. Simple acts such as singing and dancing to your favourite music can keep you young. Singing also strengthens muscles in the airway, which improves lung function and mental alertness by delivering more oxygen to the brain. Plus, it’s just fun.
19 — Relieve adrenal fatigue. A lot of people who are over-stressed, constantly fatigued, and experiencing problems such as insulin resistance, difficulty losing weight, and hormonal imbalance experience adrenal fatigue – when your adrenal glands are working too hard due to chronic periods of elevated and imbalanced cortisol levels. Try to find more time to relax each day, even for just a few minutes. Stress has many negative effects on physical and mental health, from headaches and chest pain to anxiety (Photo: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)
20 — Exhale your stress. Stress has many negative effects on physical and mental health, from headaches […]