SHAPING UP: Health isn't just about exercise and nutrition

Most people assume that being healthy is just about exercise and nutrition. But, there’s a lot more to it than that!

You could exercise every day and eat a healthy diet, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re living a truly healthy lifestyle.

In my opinion, these are the 5 aspects to follow for a healthy lifestyle:

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1. Be ActiveYou should be working out at least 3-4 times a week for thirty minutes or longer. That could be a gym workout, boot camp, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or a sport. Whatever exercise you choose to do, it should raise your heart rate, get you out of breath and challenge your muscles.

2. Balanced NutritionYou don’t have to follow strict diet plans, just eat a healthy balanced diet. You should get a good balance of carbohydrates, healthy fats and proteins. You should avoid foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat. Don’t deprive yourself of the foods you enjoy, just eat them in moderation. Aim to drink 2 litres of water per day too.

3. Quality SleepQuality of sleep can really affect your health. If you have a bad sleep, you wake up with no energy and you’re more likely to be stressed.It can also have an effect on your eating habits. If you feel tired and lethargic at the end of the day you’re more likely to pick up a take away or a quick microwave meal.However, if you’ve had a good sleep and have high energy levels, you’re going to feel so much more in control.

4. Stress ManagementStress is something that’s hard to avoid. But, it’s really important that you have an outlet that helps you de-stress (not alcohol). Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress because your body produces endorphins when you workout (chemicals in your brain that make you feel good). Another good way to de-stress is socialising with friends or family…

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5. Relationships/Social LifeInteracting with others boosts feelings of well-being and decreases feelings of depression. Socialising with friends or family can also increase a hormone that reduces anxiety levels and helps us feel more confident in our ability to cope with stress.

It’s important to work on all 5 of those aspects of a healthy lifestyle.

It’s not healthy to go to the gym 10 times a week and live off kale, but never socialise or see your friends.

Or let work stress you out so much that it affects your family life and relationships.

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You need to be focusing on all five factors to be truly healthy.

You’re not always going to get 100% on all of them - and that’s ok. It’s about balance.

We all need to start looking at health in a much broader sense of the word rather than measuring health by the number of times you go to the gym or the number of calories you have.