A new season can be an opportunity to improve the state of your physical and mental health. It’s important to continuously check in with yourself and if necessary, re-evaluate the ways in which you’re taking care of your body and mind.
According to The Government of Canada, Canadians’ health has improved dramatically in the past several decades. Smoking rates have dropped, life expectancies have risen, and as a country Canada is ranked among the top performers within the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
New health trends are consistently making their way into our daily lives. As we continue to absorb new information from this growing sector, it can feel overwhelming if you’re unsure where to begin.
To help ease your mind, we’re offering you six spring steps to becoming a healthier you.
Healthy Food Choices Matter
Eating habits are the building blocks to a body’s health. We eat to consume nutrients which allow our bodies to carry us through our days and provide the necessary energy to function. The right kind of food will determine how effectively we can function, and the amount of energy we’ll have. Through Everyday Health we learn that while we may think we are eating to fuel our bodies, our choices surrounding the food we eat are based on their taste and enjoyment, rather than nutrition. Eating is often seen as an entertaining experience, which can lead to food choices based on taste rather than nutritional value.
A new season can allow a new perspective on our diets. Mindful eating is a crucial component. Avoiding distractions – i.e. electronic devices – during a meal, cooking at home with fresh ingredients, eating slowly and intentionally, and ensuring you’re allowing the right vitamins and antioxidants into your diet are just a few steps that you can take to change your eating habits for the better.
If you’re looking for a dynamic way to take on a healthier diet, Buzzfeed has created a seven-day clean eating challenge. Featuring step-by-step instructions and photos, this meal plan features only fresh ingredients and won’t intimidate even the most novice cook. Taking it one step further are meal delivery services like Toronto-based Chef’s Plate. Customers can choose from four meal plans to suit their lifestyle, all featuring fresh ingredients and tested recipes. With meals pre-portioned and delivered to your door, healthier choices are at your fingertips.
The Future Is On-the-Go Fitness
There’s a mobile app for almost every need or desire, and that includes physical fitness. This growing trend allows for personalized experiences from the convenience of a mobile or wearable device. Whether you’re interested in trying a new physical activity, setting specific fitness goals, or you’re looking to create your own mobile gym experience, using a fitness app gives you the freedom to customize your routine.
Good Housekeeping provided their 16 favourite fitness apps, ranging from finding in-person classes with ClassPass, to apps like Gixo which feature live streams with real trainers. Major brands are also in on the trend. Nike Training Club offers workouts designed by Nike’s Master Trainers and features both full-weights and bodyweight-only workouts.
Skincare is Important
With so many major developments happening in the app world, there is almost no healthcare area unaffected by the rise of the app.
Neutrogena is using app technology to provide their customers with innovative ways to take care of their skin. Their Skin360 app uses a scanner tool, attached to a mobile device, and will provide information on the user’s skin, including moisture levels and pores. Consumers are then shown the Neutrogena products best suited for their skin type. This level of innovation will save time and money for consumers struggling to improve their skin’s health.
Perhaps the biggest thing technology unlocks is convenience. With so many handheld skincare devices on the market, many people are finding the benefits of skincare routines from home, and are saving on costly spa costs in the meantime.
While severe acne, deep wrinkles, or sagging skin will require a professional combination of fillers, neurotoxins, and dermatological devices to correct, there are a number of high-tech handheld personal devices that can help with less serious skin care needs such as permanent hair removal. Companies such as Sephora and Silk’n know that users are more likely than ever to want to chill at home and work on skincare than devote the extra time and cost associated with the spa — and the right handheld skincare devices provide just that.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
Quality sleep is one of the most important factors when it comes to overall health. When we neglect it, lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, decreased concentration and productivity, and increased heart risks.
According to the Centre for Disease Control, adults who sleep less than seven hours each night were more likely to report health problems, including heart attacks, asthma, and depression. While getting the right amount of sleep can lead to lowered blood pressure, improving blood sugar controls, and helps control the brain’s food cravings.
When it comes to taking the right steps towards a solid night’s rest, there are a few things to consider. Ensuring you’re sticking to a routine sleep schedule, avoiding prior physical activity, food or drink consumption, and avoiding electronics within a few hours of your bedtime are necessary steps towards your overall health.
There are a host of resources available to aid with improving sleep habits. General reading materials are available online, and for those looking to incorporate technology, Sleep++ is just one example of the innovations we’re seeing with wearable devices. The app syncs with any Apple Watch and has the capability to monitor your sleep, measuring both the extent and quality. It’s functions allow for a better understanding of your sleeping patterns so you can evaluate and make any necessary changes to your sleep habits.
Don’t Neglect Your Mental Health
The Canadian Mental Health Association says mental health is centrally linked to physical health. Their connections are most noticeable with chronic illnesses; those suffering with mental health issues are more likely to experience chronic physical conditions. For the physically healthy individual, their mental well being is just as, if not the most, important. Often, we prioritize the way our body feels, and we can neglect our minds. It is crucial to take care of our mental state in the same way we do our bodies.
It’s never too late to begin working on your mental health. Bustle contributor Corina Wolff offers a few simple steps to more peace of mind. Daily walks, gratitude journals, solid support systems, meditation, and therapy sessions are just a few approaches you can take. The key lies in putting the same amount of energy on our minds as we do with every other aspect in our health journeys.
Laughter is the Best Medicine
The effects of laughter and the human body are incredibly prevalent and should be celebrated. Portland’s Concordia University concluded it not only provides relaxation to the body, but it is an emotional release, it offers a creativity boost, and it releases dopamine, stimulating long-term memory and critical thinking. It’s ability to push oxygen to the heart, lungs, and muscles helps to lower health-related conditions, and the decrease in cortisol can help lower blood pressure. Finding ways to incorporate genuine laughter in your day-to-day life may just be a key player in your health and wellness journey.
If you’re looking to make positive changes this spring, we hope these 6 ideas will help give you the motivation you need! Get out there and good luck.