While staying healthy is a conscious decision with a seemingly long list of dos and don’ts to comply with,it’s sometimes not as hard as you think. To stay healthy, you can infuse your life with the power of prevention incrementally and fairly painlessly, and yes, doing something, no matter hows mall, is infinitely better for you than doing nothing.
From your morning shower to the evening news, from your work commute to your household chores, there are at least 2,400 ways to sneak healthy activities into daily living.
If you make small changes,they will add up to meaningful changes in the quality of your diet, your physical activity pattern, your capacity to deal with stress, and in your sleep quality – and those four things comprise an enormously powerful health promotion that can change your life. In essence, this strategy is called Stealth Health, according to Dr David Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Centre.
Tempted to give “Stealth Health” a try? It is recommended that you pick any three of the following 12 changes and incorporate them into your life for four days. When you feel comfortable with those changes, pick three others. Once you’ve incorporated all dozen changes, you should start to feel a difference within a couple of weeks.
To Improve Nutrition:
1. Buy whole foods — whether frozen, or fresh from the farm – and use them in place of processed foods whenever possible.
2. Reject foods and drinks made with corn syrup, a calorie-dense, nutritionally empty sweetener that many believe is worse for the body than sugar.
3. Start each dinner with a mixed green salad. Not only will it help reduce your appetite for more caloric foods, but it also will automatically add veggies to your meal.
To Improve Physical Fitness:
1. Do a squat every time you pick something up. Instead of bending over in the usual way, which stresses the lower back, bend your knees and squat. This forces you to use your leg muscles and will build strength.
2. Every time you stop at a traffic light (or the bus does), tighten your thighs and butt muscles and release as many times as you can. (Don’t worry, no one will see it!) This will firm leg and buttock muscles, improve blood flow – and keep you mildly amused!
3. Whenever you’re standing on a line, lift one foot a half-inch off the ground. The extra stress on your opposite foot, ankle, calf and thigh, plus your buttocks, will help firm and tone muscles. Switch feet every few minutes.
To Improve Stress Control:
1. Give your partner a hug every day before work. Studies show this simple act can help you remain calm when the hustle ensues during your day.
2. Have a good cry or let out emotional steam the best way you can. It can boost your immune system, reduce levels of stress hormones, eliminate depression, and help you think more clearly.
3. Twice a day, breathe deeply for three to five minutes
To Improve Sleep:
1. Sprinkle just-washed sheets and pillow cases with lavender water. The scent has been shown in studies to promote relaxation, which can lead to better sleep.
2. Buy a new pillow. Studies show that pillows with an indent in the centre can enhance sleep quality and reduce neck pain. Also, try a “cool” pillow — one containing either all-natural fibres or a combination of sodium sulphate and ceramic fibres that help keep your head cool.
3. Eat a handful of walnuts before bed. You’ll be giving yourself a boost of fibre and essential fatty acids along with the amino acid tryptophan — a natural sleep-inducer.
With stealth health, you can make some gains with little or no pain, and that’s infinitely better than no gain at all.