Winter is a great reminder to take better care of ourselves, as we dodge colds and flus.
The good news is looking after your health doesn’t have to be a drag.
With a little care and an understanding of how your body works, we can all take steps to improve our everyday wellbeing.
1. Check your mood
Nearly one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition during their lifetime, with depression affecting almost 1 million Aussie adults in 2019. So, it’s important to know the signs or symptoms, and always seek help if you need it.
While feeling down some days is completely normal, losing your appetite, interest in your hobbies, sleep or feeling unhappy for many weeks may all be signs that you need a hand.
Reaching out to a friend or family member is a great step, but never be afraid to chat with your GP or call a professional.
2. Manage screen time
From anxiety to neck pain, and even weight gain, spending too much time on your phone might come with a whole host of health risks.My week without the internetWe took the internet away from a millennial, and it almost broke him.Read more
If you think you might be using your phone too much, try monitoring screen time each week using the tools on your device.
Make sure you’re not online during mealtimes (it can distract you from your food and lead to overeating), family time or just before bed (the blue screen light can disrupt your circadian rhythm when you’re trying to fall asleep).
You might even try one day without tech each week!
3. Go alcohol-free most days
Keep most days alcohol-free and try to avoid drinking more than two drinks on any single day. And when you do drink, space drinks out with water.
Remember, the safest level of drinking is none at all.The more you drink, the greater the risk to your health.
4. Limit coffee
While some science suggests a few cups can bring health benefits, coffee is a stimulant. This means it will increase your heart rate and can even make you feel on edge.
There are no clear recommendations for how much you should have but if you’re a nervous person, or high blood pressure runs in your family, I would recommend sticking to just one cup or less each day.
For the rest of us, up to four teas or coffees are likely to be safe. But don’t forget, those sugar-packed energy drinks also have a whopping dose of caffeine (as much as two or three cups of coffee), so be sure not to double or triple up!
5. Look after your skin
Ageing is a part of life, but as a guy I want to age well. Taking care of my skin has recently become a top priority and it comes in three steps.Habits that help you age wellYou’ll age better if you focus on these habits at different stages of your life, Dr Sandro Demaio says.Read more
First, I’ve found a simple set of products that I use to clean and protect my skin each morning.
Second, I include a sunscreen in my daily routine to reduce ageing and the risks of skin cancer.
Finally, I head to my GP every year or two to have my skin checked for any worrying changes or risky moles.
6. Stay hydrated
Put simply, most of us don’t drink enough water. You can check the colour of your pee (it should be a light straw yellow), or wait until you feel thirsty — but for most of us, we’ll already be dry by the time we reach for water.
You should be drinking about 2 litres each day and more in hot weather.
So pack a water bottle for work or uni, and if you need something to entice you to guzzle, throw in a slice of fresh orange or a sprig of mint to add some flavour.
7. Move more
We should all be getting about an hour of movement in each day — but this doesn’t have to be on a treadmill or at the gym.
You can build some exercise into your routine, and add things to make it enjoyable.
Jog to work with a friend, learn to love tennis at a nearby club, or take a brisk stroll in the evening with your favourite podcast. Get out into the garden on a weekend, or pack a snack and head for the hills!
8. Eat meat with purpose
When it comes to red meat in particular, it’s better for our bodies and our planet to be more conscious of what and how much we consume.
Pack your diet with whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds to increase your intakes of protein and healthy fats.
Choose sustainable seafood, lean white meat and when you do serve meat… enjoy it, buy the best quality you can afford, and let’s waste none!
9. Bulk up your veg
A common mistake many of us make is thinking we can’t be healthy — or fit — on veg.How much protein do you need?A diverse diet of protein-packed plants and the occasional serve of healthy meat or fish is probably all the protein your body needs to maintain health — and even bulk up.Read more
Getting more fruit and veg into your diet is probably the single best thing you can do for your health.
Let’s start each meal plan with veggies, and make sure that fresh veg in all their colours take up at least half of our dinner plates.
10. Get your Z’s
At the end of the day — each day — getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for your body and mind.
Sleep is when your brain restores and rejuvenates, and evidence suggests that any less than seven hours comes with a host of health risks.
Aim for around eight hours each night and be sure to have a dark bedroom, a regular sleep routine and keep the hours before bed a screen-free period!
Dr Sandro Demaio is a doctor and researcher with a passion for disease prevention, nutrition and global health. He also loves to cook and recently published a cookbook.