5 Easy Hacks for Better Health
5 Easy Hacks for Health
The saying goes ‘ you haven’t got anything, unless you’ve got your health’ and in terms of universal truths, it’s kind of up there with the most important.
As Virgil said, ‘ The greatest wealth is health.’
So I’ve compiled 5 easy things you can do this week to get your health back on track.
1. Quit the sugar. If there is one piece of advice I give as a personal trainer, that will make a profound difference to your overall health, it is drastically cutting down or eliminating simple sugars from your diet. Sugar is not only a major factor in weight gain, but in many studies has been proven to create an inflammatory state within the body. Why is this bad? Well excessive inflammatory states are not only linked to weight gain and bad joints, but a whole host of diseases ranging from dementia, heart disease and diabetes. 1. It also feeds the bad bacteria in your gut (see below). So quit it! If you do nothing else make a commitment today to at least half the amount of sugar you consume.
2. Sort out your gut biome. Gut health is drastically important for overall health. Only now are we seeing research come through linking how important good gut bacteria is for mental health, the immune system and even testosterone production. Naturally most of us would have a good balance of gut bacteria, however with our heavy sugar diets and harmful courses of antibiotics our good gut bacteria has taken a battering. So what can you do about it? Cutting out the sugar above is one step, as it will allow the good gut bacteria to take hold. Also creating a good environment within which it can thrive is essential. It is like laying down the manure for the seeds to take hold in. Do this by eating oats, beans and mixed veg, and you’ll be well on the way to creating a lovely environment within which they can flourish. The next step is to help things along a little with pro-biotic type foods. I try to have one pro-biotic type food a day. Kefir, Kombucha, sauerkraut and pro-biotic natural yogurt are all good choices. I make sure to have one of these per day and sometimes all three.
3. Turn off that light! Sleep is massively important to your endocrine system. If you don’t get the right sort of sleep and enough of it, your hormonal system will suffer, as will your recovery from exercise and training. One of the banes of our modern existence is light. Light from our phones, tablets and computers is wreaking havoc with our sleep patterns as they emit what is known as ‘blue light’. This blue light is known to be a massive sleep disruptor. 2.Most modern phones and computers now come with a blue light blocking function, so make sure this is switched on at least two hours before bedtime. Better still put down the electronics during this time instead and relax.
4. Sauna. Sauna in many studies has been proven to create a host of health benefits. Studies have proven that weekly sauna use has great cardiovascular benefits and can also boost growth hormone by an astronomical percent. Not only that, further studies have proven that independent of all other factors weekly sauna use decreased all death mortality by a staggering 63%. 3. Scientists believe this may be down to ‘heat shock proteins’ that are released during sauna use that has a protective effect on our physiology.
5. Do some training (but not too much). Exercise is obviously important for health. Simply having extra muscle on your body, again independent of other factors, has been proven in older age to reduce all-cause mortality! However, it is important to not overdo it. Long drawn out sessions- over 1 hour, do nothing for improving health. The advice that I give clients is that longer sessions can create an excessive inflammatory state that’s hard to recover from and can also start to erode your immune system. Check out my other article on overtraining below for the detrimental effects of hitting it too hard and too often. A few hard shorter intense sessions a week is enough. Balance this out with some lighter recovery work such as gentle yoga sessions and you’re on to a winning combination.
If you’ve enjoyed this article please share on social media and click the like button below!
Until next time Stay Strong
1. Sugar- and Artificially Sweetened Beverages and the Risks of Incident Stroke and Dementia: A Prospective Cohort Study.Department of Neurology (M.P.P., J.J.H., A.S.B., H.J.A., C.L.S., S.S.) and Sections of Preventive Medicine and Epidemiology, Department of Medicine (R.S.V), Boston University School of Medicine
2.Timing of light exposure affects mood and brain circuits* Laboratory of Genetics, Salk institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA.2015.
3.Tanjaniina Laukkanen, Hassan Khan, Francesco Zaccardi, Jari A. Laukkanen. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Internal Medicine, 2015