It is common knowledge that improving your diet, taking exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol are all factors in achieving optimum health.
However, there are a few other lifestyle changes that could give your wellness a boost, too, some many people might not have ever heard of. In fact, someone who might consider themselves pretty healthy may never have given a thought to some of the items on this list.
So, whether you believe you have achieved peak fitness or not, read on and discover how you can give your wellbeing a boost in the most surprising of ways.
There is increasing interest in the power of laughter and the many ways it can have a positive impact on your health. In fact, some studies are already showing laughter does offer health benefits, both in the moment of merriment and long term.
First of all, a good old belly laugh releases the happy hormones endorphins into the body, which lowers stress levels and is a natural pain killer.
At the same time, it also lowers stress hormones in your body so has a double relaxation effect.
In addition to this, it also gets your heart rate up to the level of a brisk walk and gives your abs a workout at the same time.
Overall, laughter just makes you feel good. It is the perfect way to lift your mood and make you feel energized.
Whether you are watching your favorite stand-up comedy act, spending time with your funniest friends, reading witty literature or bingeing on sitcoms, as long as it is making you chuckle, it should be having a positive impact on your health.
Who knew the lie-in you felt guilty about this weekend probably gave your health a boost?
Of course, being active is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle and spending all day in bed is absolutely not a good thing, but it is also essential you get the recommended amount of sleep each night.
One late night or early morning won’t make a difference, but if you consistently lose out on essential rest, burning the candle at both ends, it will have a hugely detrimental effect on your wellness.
Adults generally need an average of seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but there are all sorts of things that can affect the amount of sleep a person needs to wake refreshed, these include age, medical conditions and activity levels while awake.
To get a good rest, stick to a regular sleep schedule. Have a set bedtime you adhere to every day of the week, even at the weekends, and create a wind-down routine that you follow each night, which might involve reading in bed, a relaxing skincare routine or meditating for example.
Avoid caffeine, alcohol and screen time before bedtime as all of these can negatively affect your sleep.
The quality of sleep you get is important, too so make sure your sleep space is comfortable, calming and as free from disturbance as possible to make sure your sleep rhythms are not being disturbed.
Being frequently stressed out not only impacts on your quality of life, but it can also negatively affect your physical health too.
The amount of energy that goes into keeping your body in a state of high alert means you might feel tired a lot of the time. As well as this, you might suffer headaches and muscle pain, too.
Long term, stress can cause blood pressure and heart problems, mental health issues and eating disorders, which is why if you are leading a stressful life, it needs to be addressed pronto.
First of all, tackle the things that can be changed such as working conditions and family life, to take some pressure off you and alleviate some of the stress.
Next, consider if any of the stress is simply in your head, perhaps caused by anxiety issues. If you think that could be the case, seeking professional help to reduce anxiety will have a positive effect on your physical health as well.
Incorporate some de-stressing activities into your days such as calming exercises like yoga or tai chi and take time out of each day to just sit peacefully and take a pause away from noise and responsibilities.
Frequent visits to medical professionals does not sound like a habit a healthy person would form, however, making sure you get regular checkups is extremely important for maintaining optimum health.
That could be ensuring you visit your optician at least every two years, getting recommended cancer screening carried out, and visiting your physician or Family Nurse Practitioner for health check-ups.
If you aren’t familiar with Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP), they have taken over many of the duties formerly carried out by a physician. They will have completed a Master of Science in Nursing known as an MSN-FNP Program, or equivalent, to qualify them to take on this role and they often support their patients in taking control of their own health and wellbeing.
Professionals will be able to spot things you may have missed and can recognize early warning signs you may not even consider.
Working hard might seem like a positive attribute, and often it can be, but making sure that hard work doesn’t tip the balance into being overworked is essential.
If your job involves sitting down a lot, it’s important to take regular breaks to move your body and stretch. Research is showing that an hour of physical activity, cannot undo the negative effects of being inactive the rest of the day so move frequently is the only answer.
Along with this, if you find your work is putting too much pressure on you, you are working long hours or taking work home with you, you could be heading for burnout.
This can have a hugely harmful impact on your mental and physical wellbeing, such as contributing to cardiovascular disorders, diabetes, gastrointestinal and respiratory issues.
So, whether you choose to slow down at work, give yourself some “me time” at home or find a way to make laugher a daily exercise, you should start to notice your choice having a positive impact on your health and wellbeing.