6 habits of highly healthy people
Posted on 15 January 2018
The secret behind health resolutions that actually last? They’re realistic.
More energy, better sleeping patterns, a clearer mind, and a natural zest for life. All of these benefits come with the change to a healthier lifestyle. But for good habits to stick, they need to become a natural, easy-to-follow part of your daily routine. Dr Mary-Anne Semenya, a general practitioner at Mediclinic Tzaneen, outlines six habits that will improve your health all year long.
Your body is capable of adapting to illness, says Dr Semenya. Even if you feel fine, small symptoms can build into serious conditions. Regular screenings will pick up markers of diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, prostate and cervical cancer, hypertension and high cholesterol, that you may miss. “Trust your GP with your medical history and follow their advice.”
Smoking and drinking too much alcohol can have a catastrophic effect on your overall health, warns Dr Semenya. Harmful habits like these can scupper healthier ones, leading to poor eating choices and too much time on the couch. “Try go without them this holiday season – you’ll notice major, and immediate, mind and body benefits.”
“Portion control is a big part of healthier eating,” says Dr Semenya. “Swallowing enormous portions of even the most nutritious foods can cause digestion issues, and will ensure you take in a lot of unnecessary calories. Keep your portions in check by using a smaller plate, and chewing slower.”
Physical activity increases your energy, says Dr Semenya. But don’t sign up at your nearest CrossFit box just yet: “Cleaning, taking the stairs, walking instead of driving, and playing in the park with the kids – these are all sustainable ways of exercising.”
“Adults should get seven to eight hours of sleep each night,” Dr Semenya advises, “but we all have different sleep requirements, depending on our age and level of activity.” The key: listen to your body. “Get into bed and close your eyes. Allow your mind and body to be still. It may sound too simple to be true, but this is the first step in improving your sleep patterns.”
It might not be the best medicine, but laughter is very beneficial, says Dr Semenya. Surround yourself with people who make you smile. “Happy people smile 40 to 50 times a day. The act of smiling stimulates our brain in much the same way as chocolate and sex.”