5 ways to take care of your health
Taking daily care of your health is important—especially in light of the last year. Here’s a gentle reminder about adopting healthy lifestyle habits.
1. Eat a healthy diet
It can never be said too often: You are what you eat! Eating well gives you energy all day long while reducing the risk of vitamin or fibre deficiencies. Eating a healthy diet also cuts down the risk of all sorts of illnesses. Canada's Food Guide recommends preparing a budget and a plan to ensure you have a healthy diet. Here’s a few ideas for eating well.
- Buy fruits and vegetables in bulk and freeze them.
- Avoid highly processed meals, which often contain too much salt and lack nutrients, vitamins and minerals.
- Check the quantity of carbohydrates per portion on the label.
- Eat less food that is fried or contains white sugar (carbohydrates).
- Choose good fats such as olive oil, avocados, walnuts, almonds, etc.
Canada's Food Guide also recommends filling at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables . One trick is to include some in your recipes or prepare them in advance to save time. And why not have oranges, peaches or strawberries for dessert?
A healthy diet strengthens your immune system and helps fight various types of cancer.
2. Sleep well
According to Statistics Canada guidelines, adults age 18 to 64 should get an average of 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. The number of required hours varies also for children and seniors. Some factors that might be preventing you from sleeping well are:
- Artificial light from screens at night
- Consuming caffeine
- Work duties
- Social commitments
- Family dynamics
You need sufficient rest to be in good physical condition. Are you having difficulty getting a good night’s sleep? Try mobile apps designed to promote relaxation. There are also several types of smart watches that calculate the quality of your sleep. According to Protégez-vous (French only), the data is based on the length of your sleep, body movements and breathing, among other factors. Buy some essential oil diffusers to promote sleep. Leave behind the TV and your mobile devices before going to bed.
3. Do 30 minutes of physical activity every day
According to the Institut de cardiologie de Montréal, being physically active at least 30 minutes per day improves and maintains your health. Three sessions of 10 minutes are just as beneficial as one single session. A simple walk will do, or you can do more intense activity such as jogging or cycling.
Practise various sports according to your preferences or the season. Some people like group activities, while others prefer individual sports. Do you like fresh air? Play games outside with your family. Do you prefer going to the gym? Exercising indoors is just as beneficial. Do activities that you enjoy! Here are the benefits you’ll notice when you become more active:
- Increased energy
- Reduced stress
- Extended physical independence as you get older
- Prevention of several diseases such as cancer, obesity, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
4. Drink water
This natural drink has many advantages. It hydrates you and quenches your thirst. Replace the water that your body eliminates through sweat, respiration and urine. Hélène Laurendeau, a nutritionist, explains that we need to drink approximately two litres of liquids per day (French only). This quantity includes what is found in foods such as fruits and vegetables.
To encourage yourself to drink enough water:
- Keep a bottle with you all day.
- Add various fruits or fragrant herbs to enhance the flavour.
- Drink water with every meal.
- Drink some before, during and after exercise.
Choose this drink over other liquids that contain too much sugar, sodium, saturated fat or caffeine.
5. Look after your mental health
The most important thing: Simply take time for yourself to do the things you like to do. Disconnect from work or other obligations by giving yourself moments of relaxation. Need some ideas? Here’s a short list that might inspire you:
- Find a peaceful place to read.
- Take a walk in nature.
- Spend quality time with your family and friends.
- Name at least three things for which you are grateful.
In short, many factors influence your health. These are just a few ideas for improving your overall physical, psychological and emotional well-being every day.