Live your best life with a healthy lifestyle

What does health mean to you? Good health can mean different things to different people. For some people, health may not even feature on their list of priorities. For others, health may be a daily struggle due to their personal circumstances.

The decision to live your best life based on a healthy lifestyle could be for health reasons, or to get your body back in shape after a period of neglect. Whatever good health means to you, and whichever path you may follow to reach your goals, try to find a strong motivation to keep you on track when life gets in the way or you begin to lose interest.

If you’re not quite sure why to start, here are five drivers to help get you on the road to better health.

1. Diabetes

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), skipping breakfast and going without that morning meal can increase blood sugar after both lunch and dinner. CDC adds that dehydration or less water in your body means a higher blood sugar concentration. The pointers to take home here are:

  • Don’t skip meals;
  • Eat regularly; and
  • Maintain a healthy intake of water.

2. Heart Health

The Heart Foundation lists 10 controllable risk factors that you have the power to change. They say even small improvements in each of these can make a big difference!

  • Pollution
  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Nutrition
  • Diabetes
  • Alcohol use
  • Body weight
  • Physical activity
  • Cholesterol
  • Blood pressure

3. Blood Pressure

According to The Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, high blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most serious risk factors for death from heart diseases and strokes. There are rarely any symptoms or visible signs to warn that blood pressure is high, so make sure to have your blood pressure checked regularly at either your local pharmacist or healthcare practitioner.  “In some cases, typically with very high blood pressure, symptoms such as headaches, visual disturbances, nose bleeds, nausea, vomiting, facial flushing and sleepiness may be experienced.”

4. Stress

The South African Department of Health (DoH) cautions against prolonged stress as it can lead to illness and physical and emotional exhaustion. However, unless we live totally off the grid, we cannot avoid stress. It sneaks in to every aspect of our lives – from financial worries and relationships woes to catastrophic world events. The upside is that we can counter the damaging effects of stress through these helpful tips from our DoH.

  • Take time out when you start feeling upset or angry.
  • Relax your muscles and calm yourself down with deep, slow breathing.
  • Sort out those stressors that are within your control.
  • Cut down on smoking and drinking.
  • Exercise is very effective in relieving stress.
  • Take time to relax.
  • Bring some fun into your life

Other treatments for stress include self-help techniques, counselling, cognitive behaviour therapy, anger management and support groups, the DoH advises.

5. Hand Hygiene

“Keeping hands clean through improved hand hygiene is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They offer this valuable advice: Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. If clean, running water is not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.

Living your best, healthy life does not always require drastic measures. Sometimes, as little as keeping your hands germ-free can make all the difference between health and sickness. Focus on what is important to you and start there.

In the words of C.S. Lewis: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” You may also be surprised about who you inspire along the way by setting a healthy example for others to live by too.

Visit your local Link pharmacy or healthcare professional to discuss what concerns you have about your health and how you can get back on the road to healthy living.