22 June 2021

Simple things you can do to keep healthy (that isn't exercise)

older woman asleep in bed

For those with limited mobility, exercising isn't always an option. However, there are some simple things people can do in their day-to-day lives to improve their health. After all, health isn’t merely a measure of physical fitness or strength and in this guide, we highlight some simple things you can do to keep healthy apart from exercise. So, if as a curved stairlift user your limited mobility prevents lots of activity, take a look at the tips below and cultivate a healthy lifestyle.

Get a full night’s sleep

A decent night’s sleep feels good for a reason. Sleep is integral to our overall health and when we don’t get the sleep we need regularly, we feel the consequences. Sleep allows our bodies to repair after the previous day and to get ready for the day to come. As a result, it helps with aches and pains but also provides numerous other health benefits that can’t be sniffed at.

Speaking to us about the health benefits of good sleep is Daniel from SleepSpace – a sleep improvement system and app: “Every time that scientists look to see if there is a relationship between sleep and a chronic health disease, they find one. This includes Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, cancer, hypertension, and strokes. This makes sense because sleep is fundamentally how our body repairs and regenerates. Sleep also affects our daily mood, decision making, and even things like sense of humanity and empathy. It's not so surprising that the more sleep deprived you are, the less empathetic you are.”

Daniel also offered his advice for improving sleep: “My top sleep tip is that each person has one or two simple adjustments that they can make in their life to improve their sleep quality. This can be very different depending on where you are at with your sleep. This can include things like getting more sunlight during the day, having a more consistent eating, exercise and bedtime schedule, and implementing a relaxation routine 30 minutes before bed. So, take a moment to think about your sleep and think about those one or two things you might be able to change.”

READ ALSO: How to sleep with sciatica

Embrace hobbies and stimulate the mind

Curating a number of hobbies can be an effective way of promoting good health. Hobbies are calming and enjoyable ways to relieve stress and attain peace. As a result, they are very important when it comes to our mental health, allowing us to take our mind off anxieties and troubles. Rachel, from the lifestyle blog Rachel Bustin, spoke to us about her favourite ways to keep healthy and made sure to mention the impact hobbies can make:

“Keeping your mental health in tip-top condition is important to live a healthy life. It helps you to get through day-to-day living and feeling better in yourself. You don't have to exercise to be healthy. In fact, finding hobbies to relax your mind is a great way. Get stuck into adult colouring, it's one of my favourite ways to clear my mind and feel mentally healthy. It's simple and a cheap way to enjoy good health.”

Hobbies are also an effective avenue of stimulating the mind and therefore working at its best. Making efforts to keep our minds firing on all cylinders to promote good health is a tip that Claire from the blog Wotawoman Diary recommended when speaking with us: “Keeping our minds active is a great way to keep healthy. Reading a book, solving a crossword or writing an article can all be great ways to keep our brains stimulated.”

Drink plenty of water

glass of water on table

Most of us are aware of how important it is to keep hydrated but the benefits of drinking plenty of water each day are well worth highlighting. Water lubricates our joints and keeps them strong; it forms saliva to help us digest our food, it delivers vital oxygen throughout our bodies, it benefits the brain and promotes the ability to reason, and it regulates our body temperature. The benefits don’t stop there, simply drinking plenty of water each day can boost the health of your skin, maintain your blood pressure, and helps your body flush waste.

Drinking plenty of water is something that Laura from the lifestyle blog Spilling Life Tea made sure to recommend when speaking with us about non-exercise related health tips: “One of my top tips might seem ever so simple but it is one that most people overlook. Drink water. Yes, I said it and we all know it but how often do you actually drink the recommended amount of two litres a day? I bet once you exclude coffee and tea you very rarely hit the targeted daily amount.

“We all know that dehydration can have negative impacts on our body. It can cause headaches. dizziness, bad skin, constipation, UTIs to name a few things and yet we all overlook the power of water and hydration. Not only can it prevent all of these symptoms of dehydration, but it can actually stop you from overeating.

“Did you know that dehydration can make you feel hungry? No? It does. So next time you want to reach for that extra snack, why not have a glass of water and see if you still want it in 10 minutes time. 90% of the time you won't, your body was just signalling you to get a drink. So, try to up your water intake and reap the health benefits.”

Follow a healthy diet

For those looking to get fit, lose weight, or just keep their bodies nice and healthy, diet is as important a component as any. As a result, if we are consuming too many unhealthy foods or snacking to the extreme, our health will certainly suffer. There are simple steps we can take, however, to attain a healthier diet. Cooking more at home can be a great place to start, therefore relying less on ordering takeaways. Trying out new recipes can be great fun and you can certainly make most of your favourite dishes from scratch.

Sarah, from the food blog Life in Full Flavour, shared with us her tips for those wanting to cook more at home and remain healthy: “Cooking at home can be daunting if you start out with really complicated recipes. Instead, think about how to get the most out of simple dishes without the need for lots of different ingredients. For example, if you are roasting Mediterranean vegetables, add in something different, perhaps olives or courgettes, to mix up the flavours.

“One pot or tray bake recipes are also a great way to be healthy without getting overwhelmed with lots of different pots and pans. Try a stir fry with lots of vegetables and some low-fat meat such as turkey strips, or a tray of roasted vegetables, potatoes and salmon. You can even prep traybakes in advance so when it is time to cook it can just go straight into the oven, so you won't be tempted to cook something quick but unhealthy if you find yourself short on time or tired after a long day.”

Snacking less often is also a good move, as is making sure you consume plenty of fruits and vegetables. When embarking on your new healthy diet, make sure that you are packing your meals with plenty of whole foods to give your body the best sustenance possible. Alysa from the health blog Simply Quinoa, shares the following:

“Eat whole foods. Fill your diet with fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Skip the processed food. One of the absolute best ways to stay healthy is to ensure you're flooding your body with nutritious food. Whole foods are packed with immune-supporting, cancer-fighting, gut-loving vitamins and minerals that will do wonders for your health.”

READ ALSO: Easy dishes to cook in bulk

Get fresh air

older woman in garden

Getting plenty of fresh air each day is yet another simple way to keep healthy and it doesn’t have to be through vigorous exercise. Simply sitting out in the garden will do the trick. Fresh air has a host of great health benefits, including clearing your lungs, sharpening your mental focus, topping up your energy, and improving digestion. Fresh air can even help you heal faster because damaged cells require more oxygen, which being outdoors can help supply. So, get outdoors, do a bit of gardening, read a book in the park, at the very least open your windows whenever possible to let the fresh air in.

READ ALSO: The joys of growing your own vegetables in retirement

Stay connected with others

Our mental health is just as important as our physical wellbeing and there are simple things we can do to take care of ourselves. One of these is staying connected with others. Feelings of isolation and loneliness can take their toll on our mental health so staying in touch with friends, doing things with family, and participating in clubs and community events can reap many benefits, including boosting our mood.

Harvard Medical School explains that there is plenty of evidence that “expanding your social circle leads to better health. But don't get involved just to be involved. Join organisations with people you really like and who share your interests. Book groups and film clubs are great because they provide both camaraderie and intellectual stimulation. Volunteering for community projects can bring you closer to people in different age groups.”

Stay on top of household chores

person using vacuum

Staying on top of household chores can also be good for us. While very few of us like to clean, getting up and about, moving around the house to clean can be almost like exercising. Giving your home a good clean regularly, moving from room to room to vacuum, and dusting away cobwebs, can raise the heart rate and get the blood flowing as well as any walk can. As long as it’s safe for you to do so, thinking about cleaning your home as a way to stay healthy is a nice incentive to get those annoying jobs done.

Health resource Everyday Health has recognised cleaning as a pathway to better health, stating: “Cleaning your home or apartment regularly is another way to ensure that you stay active during the week,” and “a 150-pound person can burn 85 calories per half-hour through light cleaning, while vigorous cleaning burns 102 calories in 30 minutes.”

Stand up

If you are someone who is normally sitting for many hours of the day, whether at work or at home, it’s a good idea to get up on your feet if at all possible. If you are able to safely stand, your body can reap plenty of benefits. The extra stress on your body that comes with standing can help burn calories, increase leg strength, and promote endurance. This is one of the reasons why plenty of people are switching to standing desks at the office. So, if you can safely stand for a while or do a task on your feet instead of sitting, consider making the switch. Your body will certainly thank you.

How to keep healthy apart from exercising

  • Get a full night’s sleep
  • Embrace hobbies
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Follow a healthy diet
  • Get fresh air
  • Stay connected with others
  • Stay on top of household chores
  • Stand up

As you can see, there are plenty of simple things that we can do to help promote a healthy lifestyle without even touching on exercise. Whether it’s physically or mentally, by making a few adjustments, changing the odd habit, we can do all we can to increase our chances of a healthier future.

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