In honour of World Health Day (April 7), here are five simple health tips to follow if you’re wondering how to be healthier. They take very minimal effort, but can make all the difference!
#1 Go for a walk
If you’re juggling work and kid commitments, fitting in even 15 minutes to exercise can be a challenge. However, regular exercise is important for a healthy body and mind.
If you’re wondering how to be healthier, going for a walk is certainly a good place to start. And, if you can’t seem to fit it into your morning or evening, take a walk during your lunch break. It’s a super simple way to incorporate some physical activity into your day, and provide a mental break.
Or, why not work a walk into your social schedule? Grab a friend for a good catchup sesh and choose a route that works for you – even if it means your destination is a cool, new bar! There are tons of great places to walk here in Singapore; keep things interesting by choosing a new setting every time.
Of course, there are many other ways to squeeze exercise into your daily routine – even with a packed schedule. Taking the stairs instead of the lift is a great way to get some extra cardio in, as is ditching the MRT for a walk instead. Another good way to get some walking in? Walk around the house while you’re on the phone!
#2 Make sure to move from (or at) your desk
Many of us make our living sitting at a desk or in front of a computer. Then, we spend the nights binge-watching shows on the sofa.
Another health tip? Make yourself step away from the desk during the workday, or at least move at your desk every hour. Here are some ideas on how:
- Don’t make it convenient: Get up to grab a coffee from the machine down the hall, or water from the water cooler.
- Use a smaller cup: You’ll need to go for a refill more often, which will force you to get up and move!
- Drink more: Of course, staying hydrated is essential to your health; but drinking more also means getting up more frequently to walk to the loo!
- Move while you microwave: If you heat your lunch at work, move around while you do it. Whether that means going for a walk down the hall, doing a few squats in your office or marching in place for five minutes, it’s up to you!
Here are some simple exercises you can do at your desk to get the blood flowing:
- Seated with both feet on the floor in front of you, raise both heels and hold for three seconds.
- Repeat 10 or more times.
- Repeat the lifts, but raise the toes of both feet this time.
- Sitting down with both feet on the floor, stretch one leg out in front of you.
- Lift your toes toward you and bend your ankle. Hold the stretch for three to five seconds, then lower your foot back to the floor.
- Repeat a dozen times or more.
- Then, repeat with the other leg.
Don’t underestimate the power of stretching! Stretch when you get out of bed in the morning, and stretch when you’re at your desk. It’s simple, but crucial. Stretching regularly can help increase flexibility, improve your posture and help with blood circulation. It can also help reduce stress and back pain, according to recent studies.
#3 “Check in” with yourself
While mental health problems were already common beforehand, the pandemic has introduced all kinds of new triggers for many people. These include financial uncertainty, fear of infection, blurring of the boundaries between home, school and work, and prolonged separation from friends and family.
It’s important to regularly check in with yourself to access how you’re feeling, and check in with loved ones to do the same. Doing so can help you spot any signs that could point to depression symptoms or other mental health problems. You can read more about how to identify if you or a family member is just having a “bad period” or actually may be depressed or suffering from a mental illness, here.
#4 Unplug an hour before bedtime
Quality sleep is essential to optimal health. And, while there are many different causes of sleep disturbance, studies have shown a strong correlation between increased stimulation through electronic devices and sleep disruption.
So, if you’re wondering how to be healthier, try ditching your phone, tablet or laptop before bedtime. They can all distract and keep you awake, stimulating your brain and keeping you from that quality sleep you so desperately need. Therefore, it’s important to establish a relaxing bedtime routine that avoids any activities that can lead to anxiety. (Don’t lie to yourself; there’s always a Facebook post that’s sure to do it!)
#5 Wear sunscreen every single day
Yes, even when you’re not by the pool, and even when it’s cloudy outside.
Though there are other risk factors for skin cancer, excessive sun exposure – particularly for those with lighter skin tones – is the biggest risk factor by far. In fact, the primary cause of melanoma is UV light exposure in those with low levels of skin pigment – which is why melanoma is more common in Caucasian people.
So, if you’re asking how to be healthier, here’s a biggie! Not only will sunscreen protect you from skin cancer but it will also minimise photo-ageing and other forms of sun damage. It only takes about 10 seconds, and can save you from suffering more wrinkles and sun spots than you need to have, not to mention reduce your risk of skin cancer.
For more health tips and articles like this, head to our Health & Fitness section!