These small changes will make a big difference to your health

3 August 2020
2 minute read

Woman sitting in the sun

Everyone wants to be healthier and more energetic, but it seems like such a big effort to get there! It doesn’t have to be. We identify seven small changes you can make that really do make a difference to your health.

Eat slowerStudies have shown that the faster you eat, the higher the chance of you being overweight. Your appetite is controlled by hormones, which signal your brain when you’re full. Your brain takes about 20 minutes to pick up these signals, so eating slower gives it a chance to say ‘stop eating’ before you overdo it.  

Eat your greens firstLeafy greens are an excellent source of fibre and vitamins. If you eat your veggies or salad as a starter, when you’re at your hungriest, you’re more likely to finish them, and they’ll also fill you up before you start on the more carby, calorie-packed main meal.  Eating a salad first may help boost vegetable consumption by 23 percent, according to a study published in the journal Appetite.

Sneak in stepsDaily walking offers numerous health benefits, from preventing weight gain to lowering blood pressure. Look for easy opportunities to get in that exercise, like parking far away from the shops or even just walking around the office or house while you are on a phone call. Researchers found taking thestairs instead of the elevator to be twice as taxing as brisk walking, and 50% harder than walking up a steep incline or lifting weights.

Top tip
A wearable device and app can be very motivating. With 1Life Pulse, you can get up to R200 000 in additional cover over two years by making better lifestyle changes through the VeoSens health management App. Find out more or get a quote here.

Remember sunshineGet off the computer and go outside a while. Your body makes vitamin D from direct sunlight, and vitamin D is important for your immune system.Experts recommend between 5 to 30 minutes a day in the sun to meet your vitamin D needs if you’re light-skinned, longer if you’re dark-skinned. And some evidence shows that vitamin D might offer protection against COVID-19.

Take naps Sleep experts have found that a short 20-30-minute daytime nap can restore your energy and improve concentration. Listen to your body and take naps if you feel tired during the day, rather than downing more caffeine. If you’re working from home during lockdown, who’s to know?

Stretch often Stretching makes you more flexible, but also reduces stress and body aches. Many of us spend hours in front of a computer every day, becoming stiff and immobile. Stretch out regularly in the day, concentrating on stiff spots or sore muscles.

Purge the pantry It’s difficult to resist the sweet treats in your food cupboard. The best strategy is to get rid of them (not by eating them!) and don’t buy any more. It’s worth it, to reduce the risk of everything from diabetes to heart disease due to too much sugar in your diet.

A healthy lifestyle is about small habits that make up the bigger picture, and most of them are easy to get into.

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