Making these small changes to your daily life will significantly improve your well-being and put you on the road to better health.
Give up smoking
It is never too late to quit smoking, and there are many benefits to be gained no matter what your age is when you give up.
Using tobacco puts you on a collision course with cancer.
Even if you don’t use tobacco, exposure to secondhand smoke might increase your risk of lung cancer.
Tobacco smoke is made up of thousands of chemicals, and many of them are very harmful.
The poisons in tobacco smoke include:
Carbon monoxide: Fatal in large doses, this poisonous gas, is found in car exhaust fumes. It takes the place of oxygen in your blood, starving your lungs, heart, and other organs of the oxygen they need to function properly.
Tar: This sticky brown substance coats your lungs like soot in a chimney. Tar and smoke irritate your lungs, increasing the amount of mucus in your chest and restricting your breathing.
Long-term smokers are at a higher risk of developing a range of potentially deadly diseases including:
Cancer – Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs, mouth, nose, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder, bowel, ovary, cervix, bone marrow, and stomach;
Lung diseases – such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema;
Heart disease – such as heart attack and stroke; and
Poor blood circulation - in feet and hands, which can lead to pain and, in severe cases, gangrene and amputation.
Quit smoking now and reduce your risk of serious and life-threatening disease.
Tip: If you need help quitting smoking ask your doctor about stop-smoking products and other strategies for quitting.
Stress is a normal reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. Unfortunately, long-term stress can cause many complications on your health. Everyone has stress at some point in life. However, if you are stressed often, it puts you at risk for heart disease, depression, and other problems.
Stress that continues without relief can lead to headaches, an upset stomach, high blood pressure, chest pain, problems with sleeping or sex, depression, panic attacks, or other forms of anxiety and worry.
Manage stress with these tips:
Ask yourself what you can do about the sources of your stress. Think through the pros and cons. Take action where you can;
keep a positive, realistic attitude. Accept that although you can’t control certain things, you’re in charge of how you respond;
stand up for yourself in a polite way. Share your feelings, opinions or beliefs, instead of becoming angry, defensive, or passive; and,
Don’t rely on alcohol, drugs, or food to help against stress.
Remember: If you feel your stress is not manageable or has continued for some time, talk to your doctor.
Get enough sleep
Healthy sleep habits can make a big difference in your quality of life. Sleep is vital for healthy physical, mental and emotional processing.
When we go without sleep or have insufficient sleep, our bodies struggle to perform to their full potential and, as a consequence, we can expect impairments to our next-day physical and mental performance.
Humans, like all animals, need sleep, food, water and oxygen to survive. For humans, sleep is a vital indicator of overall health and well-being.
How much sleep do I need?
Most adults need seven to eight hours of good quality sleep on a regular schedule each night.
Make changes to your routine if you can’t find enough time to sleep.
Important point: It is important that you go to sleep at around the same time every day.
Try to get good quality sleep so you feel rested when you wake up.
Tip: If you often have trouble sleeping – or if you don’t feel well rested after sleeping – talk to your doctor.
Don’t skip breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially for weight loss seekers.
If you skip it, you’ll get hungry before lunchtime and will potentially start snacking on foods that are high in fat and sugar and low in vitamins.
Eating breakfast can positively impact your energy level, blood sugar level, weight and even your ability to focus and be productive.
After fasting all night, breakfast fuels your body, so you start the day with energy.
Skipping breakfast affect a person’s effectiveness at work or in school.
Studies have shown that:
Adults who skip breakfast are not as productive at work, are less effective problem-solvers and have less mental clarity compared to people who regularly eat a healthy breakfast; and,
Children who eat nutritional breakfast tend to have higher grades in school. They have better concentration, alertness, and more energy, and can retain knowledge faster and think more clearly than non-breakfast eaters.
Tip: While a good breakfast is vital, eating a heavy breakfast, one which is high in carbohydrates and fat, may actually do you more harm than good.
Just like a balanced diet and exercise, an active social life is an important part of healthy living.
Studies suggest that people who have good social networks may live longer and better.
It takes effort to stay connected when your life is busy. Sometimes it may feel like it’s just too hard to stay in touch.
But, having a few close, mutually supportive friends can be a key to staying healthy.
These relationships may help you feel supported, stay mentally sharp, reach your goals, develop a more active lifestyle, reduce stress, have better health outcomes, enhance your sense of well-being and happiness, lengthen your lifespan. The National
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