The 7 simple lifestyle hacks to help you look good and feel better NOW
HEALTH is wealth, as the saying goes.
Never more so than now, after the 18 months we’ve all had. But for lots of us it can be a daunting journey to embark on.
Chances are, you’ve turned to social media in search of the answers. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are brimming with health inspo, but much of what we’re exposed to isn’t actually doing us any favours.
So who should you listen to? We’ve asked seven top health influencers – among the best in their fields – for advice. Each shares one simple tip that they swear by, and it’s knowledge that really can help transform your health – fast.
DR PHILIPPA KAYE, GP ON THIS MORNING AND AUTHOR OF DOCTORS GET CANCER TOO
12k Insta followers
Focus on sleep hygiene
“Sleep is essential for health, recovery, healing and mental health. A poor night’s shut-eye leaves us physically tired but also irritable, with low mood, a lack of energy and difficulty concentrating.
"The key to a good night’s snoozing is ‘sleep hygiene’. Keep your bed for sleep and sex, not for watching TV or working – so that you associate your bedroom with sleep only.
"Get up at the same time each morning and don’t nap during the day, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, create a wind-down routine and leave your phone outside the bedroom (even if it’s on airplane mode).
"Plus get moving, preferably outside in natural light, earlier in the day to prepare your body for sleep later on.”
CHLOE MADELEY, PT
235k Insta followers
Work out early in the morning
“I know it sucks setting your alarm an hour earlier, but doing this three times a week is a great way to kick-start your fitness.
"Research has shown that by starting your day off with a health-conscious decision like this, you are far more likely to continue to make healthy decisions throughout the day.*
"Plus, in my nine years of coaching, I have found that 99.9% of my clients have far more energy to exercise in the mornings, compared with evening workouts.”
ZANNA VAN DIJK, PT
387k Insta followers
Stop counting calories and eat more plants
“Ever since I shifted away from tracking calories and focused more on the diversity of the plants I eat, I have thrived. I ensure my gut is kept happy with a range of plant-based foods, from nuts and seeds to whole grains and legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas and beans), as well as fruit and veg.
"I focus on consuming 30 different plant-based foods a week, because it’s proven to improve gut health.
"Thirty plants might seem a lot, so try adding new foods to your shopping list each week and work your way up. Easy swaps can help – try substituting regular pasta for chickpea pasta, and make your beef Bolognese into a 50/50 with mince and lentils.”
JAMES STIRLING, PT AND FITBIT AMBASSADOR
378k Insta followers
Focus on breath work
“Over the past few years, something that has really benefited my fitness and wellbeing is the addition of breath work into my daily routine – particularly nasal breathing during cardiovascular exercise such as running or cycling.
"Though it’s challenging to begin with, it has many benefits. Nasal breathing entails breathing through your nose rather than your mouth. It not only slows the breathing rate but also results in a 10-20% greater uptake of oxygen into the blood, which is especially helpful during exercise.
"Nasal breathing has also been shown to positively impact anxiety.** Try inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 2 seconds and releasing for a count of 6 seconds.”
PETER MAC, CELEB PT AND YOGA INSTRUCTOR
79k Insta followers
Hit 10K steps a day
“Getting in your 10,000 steps a day doesn’t have to be a chore or mean going for a full-on workout. Head for a walk before work, take meetings while walking, and go up and down stairs often.
"Make walks more enjoyable by listening to a podcast or playlist en route. Don’t underestimate the power that simply moving has on your body – even if this is the only fitness goal you achieve in a day, a 40% day is better than a 0% day.”
GRAEME TOMLINSON, EVIDENCE-BASED COACH
1M Insta followers
Make tiny diet changes to hit your weight-loss goals
“If fat loss is your aim, then you require a calorie deficit. But it’s crucial to stick to it over time – therefore you need to make it easy and enjoyable, rather than going on a strict diet and banning foods you don’t enjoy.
"Say you usually cook with 15ml of olive oil (135 calories). By reducing this to just 5ml (45 calories), you’re able to cook the same meal, but you reduce the calories by 90 with ease.
"If you use olive oil five days a week, you’d save 23,000 calories a year – that equates to the loss of nearly 7lb of body fat. Weight loss doesn’t have to be torture – it’s much easier to achieve when you make small tweaks.”
RHIANNON LAMBERT, REGISTERED NUTRITIONIST AND FOUNDER OF PRIVATE CLINIC RHITRITION
207k Insta followers
Focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t
“If you build your meals around a balanced plate of carbohydrates, proteins, fruit/veg and a small amount of healthy fat (unsaturated fatty acids like olive oil/nuts/seeds), you can maximise your nutrition for optimal health.
"Eating this way is close to the Mediterranean-style diet, which is proven to support reduced risk of heart disease and healthier ageing. Following this type of diet also means you will hopefully be increasing your fibre consumption, too.”
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