WHAT IS A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE?
As February approaches, and we make progress on our 2023 goals and aspirations, what better way to celebrate Healthy Lifestyle Awareness month? Changing our habits and following a healthy lifestyle isn’t always easy. Adapting your lifestyle will fall into the “as-hard-as-it-gets” category. However, making small, easily sustainable adjustments for you and your family can be easily achieved. A healthy lifestyle is multifaceted, encompassing many aspects of our lifestyles. Here are four habits of healthy people:
1. Getting Enough Sleep to Start Your Day Right
Sleep is an essential part of good human health. It is important to have the proper quantity and quality of sleep to maintain our brain, immune and heart health. Sleep requirements vary based on your age. The recommended duration of sleep for adolescents is 9 hours per night and adults need 7–8 hours.1 Starting your weekly morning routine without snoozing the alarm 5 times is a great way to kick start a healthy lifestyle. Getting up and showing up for yourself and your family is probably the most important thing that you will do tomorrow or have done today.
Exercise is a crucial component of a healthy lifestyle. But what motivates you to get active? Not only does exercise strengthen your muscles and bones but it has been shown that exercise is linked with improved mental health and reduces the risk of some cancers.2
But how much exercise do we need to do? The World Health Organisation recommends that children and adolescents (5-17 years) should partake in moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise (mostly aerobic, physical activity) for an average of 60 minutes a day 3. This doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym or joining a running club. If you spend most of your day sitting at a desk in an office, take the stairs and park further away from the entrance to help you reach your daily activity goals. Every little bit of activity that you do during the day helps.
How active are you?
|Moderate physical activity||Strenuous physical activity||Very strenuous physical activity|
|Walking 1.5km in 15-20 min||Walking or jogging > 30 min||Jogging > 40 min|
|Treading water||Swimming laps (light effort)||Swimming laps vigorous effort)|
|Bicycling (16 km/h)||Bicycling (20 km/h)||Bicycling (>22 km/h)|
|Dancing||High Impact aerobics||Step aerobics|
|Yard work/gardening||Mowing lawn with handmower||Digging a ditch|
|Hiking||Playing doubles tennis||Playing singles tennis|
|Vacuuming||Moving Furniture||Playing basketball or soccer|
|Playing actively with children||Weightlifting||Hiking up a mountain|
Exercise should become a habit and part of your daily routine. JUST DO IT, try it, I dare you!
3. Every Meal Counts
I’m sure you know the statement “I will start on Monday or tomorrow” all too well. Every day, every meal, is one new opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. Consider this; 3 meals a day over 10 years is 11 000 opportunities to positively affect your health through nutrition. Not only does every meal count for you but it does for the entire family, this includes our kids too! Good nutrition during childhood is vital for both physical and mental growth and development 4. So, where do we start? Here are 10 easy principles that can be used in any household to help the family follow a healthier lifestyle:
- Portion control is important: The Plate Model is a great tool in assisting here (½ plate salad/vegetables, ¼ plate starch, ¼ plate protein).
- Aim for small changes. Small changes are more feasible and sustainable.
- Increase fibre intake by eating more legumes, fruits and vegetables. Fibre increases your sense of fullness and is great for digestive health.
- Reduce intake of added sugar, such as in your daily tea, coffee and that found in fizzy cold drinks and juices.
- Avoid take-aways as these tend to be energy-dense and come in large portions.
- A low GI diet can keep you fuller for longer, reduce cravings and subsequently reduce excess energy intake.
- Choose high protein options, this will lower the GI of a meal and assist in sustaining energy.
- Include healthy fats (like avocados, nuts, olives and raw olive oil), in moderation.
- Watch meal additions: sauces, soups, gravies, creams. These are often laden with hidden fat and salt.
- Eat breakfast: Breakfast helps control our blood glucose levels and can prevent snacking on less nutritious foods or overeating later in the day. Kickstart every morning with a healthy balanced meal, which includes protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Why not let the family try FUTURELIFE® Smart food™, which is a nutritionally complete and balanced low GI meal that is high in energy, protein, omega 3 fatty acids and dietary fibre. Making sure your little ones eat breakfast and start their day smart is essential.
Have you heard about the FUTURELIFE® Start Smart Competition? Because FUTURELIFE® is passionate about good nutrition during childhood, in the months of December 2022 - February 2023, you could win R50 000 in school fees for 2023*! All you have to do is purchase 3 of the specified FUTURELIFE® products and WhatsApp START SMART to 087 240 7120 to enter.
A balanced lifestyle includes main meals as well as snacks. Enjoying healthy snacks on-the-go should no longer be a headache for anyone. Smart snacking should be nutritious, tasty and convenient. It should provide you with enough energy to keep you going and something with a bit of protein and fibre will always be a plus. Running out of creative ideas to make the families snacks fun and yummy, why not try some of these healthy snack options:
- Fruit: Fresh, whole fruit, dried fruit, fruit rolls (no added sugar).
- Nuts: 30g roasted, unsalted.
- Smoothie: Apples, peanut butter, low fat milk, 50g FUTURELIFE® Smart food™.
- Lean biltong: 30-50g.
- Air popped popcorn: a handful.
- A muffin: Bran or carrot (Did you know that you can use FUTURELIFE® Smart food™ as a flour substitute when baking?).
- FUTURELIFE® High Protein Lite bars.
4. Drink water
Last but certainly not least, we need to consume sufficient water throughout the day. Skimping on water can leave you feeling drowsy and can contribute to headaches, difficulty in concentrating and a worsened mood. Always have a water bottle and sip when feeling thirsty. Take note that thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger, so if you’re reaching in the fridge try first quenching your thirst.
A healthy lifestyle is not a diet or something you do for a week or two. It encompasses many components, not just your eating habits. We need to get enough rest, drink enough water, and get up and be active too. A healthy lifestyle should be sustainable, affordable and health enhancing. Let’s kick off healthy awareness month with a positive attitude towards healthy change, in the end, these changes are for you! Sure, life can be stressful, but our nutrition shouldn’t be. Every day we are faced with so many choices, so let’s make sure that when it comes to our health, we make the right ones.
FUTURELIFE® Start Smart Competition Details:
- [Online] Vasey C, McBride J, Penta K. Circadian Rhythm Dysregulation and Restoration: The Role of Melatonin. Nutrients. 2021;13(10):3480. Published 2021 Sep 30. doi:10.3390/nu13103480
- [Online] https://www.heartfoundation.co.za/get-active/
- [Online] https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity
* T’s and C’s Apply. Stand a chance to be 1 of 3 winners of R50 000 towards your school fees for 2023. Competition dates 27 December 2022- 28 February 2023. Standard Rates Apply. Selected stores have limited range. Visit www.futurelife.com for full T’s and C’s.