Everyone wants to live a long and healthy life. But sometimes the stresses and strains of the everyday get too much and we retreat into those old habits – whether it’s forgetting to renew that gym membership, leaving the mountain bike to rust in the garage or a regular takeaway…

Everyone over-indulges at some time or another, and while there’s nothing wrong with the odd treat, alcoholic drink or lazy weekend on the sofa, too much of the good stuff can have a detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing. With Christmas approaching, temptations can be difficult to resist. Why not look to the new year as a platform for a fresh start? Here are five ways you can simply and effectively bid to lead a healthier lifestyle from the as.one team.

cycling

Get Physical

Getting active is one of the most important things you can do to start getting healthier. But in the UK, there is a real problem with exercise levels. Research this year by Bristol University found the population is failing to exercise for 30 minutes 12 times a month – the level recommended by the UK government. With studies linking physical activity to a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, some cancers, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, the benefits of getting out and about are clear. Here are some good ways to start getting active:

● Join a local cycling club and head out on a beginners’ course. 
● Don’t want to sign up to a gym? You don’t have to – there are plenty of exercises you can do in the home. 
● Make physical activity part of your day. If you lead a busy lifestyle and struggle to fit things in, think about cycling to work – that’s a decent bit of exercise and your commute sorted in one. 
● Do some regular light exercise – such as gardening or DIY. But don’t rely on these completely – if you really want to get fit, you’ll need to do more robust activities like running or swimming.

Get Fresh!

Busy working lives and the impact of the recession has led to many people cutting down on the amount of fresh food they consume. Research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that some families are cutting back on fresh fruit and vegetables and are instead opting for less healthy, processed food. Research has shown that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can lower the risk of and prevent a number of serious illnesses and health problems. Tips for embracing fresh food:

● Head to your local market to find cheaper fruit and vegetables.
● It isn’t necessary to fork out for an expensive recipe book – there are an army of food bloggers on the internet.
● See if there are any plots available at your local allotment – why not think about growing your own?

fruit

Be Social

A healthier lifestyle isn’t just linked to physical activity. Being around other people can lift your mood and keep your brain engaged. Participating socially is an important part of our wellbeing and can provide a sense of balance in our lives. Think about: ​

● Doing some voluntary work on the weekend or one evening.
● Joining a local club or society.

And Relax…

If you feel stressed in your life, relaxation can help relieve negative feelings, calming you down and allowing you to think about things in a more objective way. Meditation, for example, can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety. How about:

● Looking up a local yoga class and heading along.
● Taking five minutes out of your day to practice some deep breathing techniques.

yoga

A Life Philosophy

It might sound a bit pretentious, but a useful path to a healthier and better lifestyle is to formulate a life philosophy or goal. Talk to your family and develop a life purpose. This is a code you can live by every day – it’ll give you purpose, make you determined, and make your life more rewarding.

These are simple steps that, with a little bit of investment, as.one believes anyone can take. There is no magic formula to being healthier, but we know that being healthy, social and having a positive outlook can really help.advertorial