Global Health Day puts the focus back on being healthier

Being physically active is still one of the best ways to be healthy.

World Health Day was celebrated earlier this month on Wednesday April 7 and the theme for this year was building a fairer, healthier world.

By making a few lifestyle changes and with adopting the right disposition, living a healthier life is well within everyone’s reach. Bolander found these key tips on how to be healthier on, heartfoundation.co.za.

How to eat healthier

•Try eating less food, eat smaller portions.

•Cut down on unhealthy fats.

•Limit the intake of foods or snacks with added sugars.

•Limit the intake of sodium and salt

•Try to consume alcohol in moderation, women are advised to drink one drink per day and 2 drinks per day is advised for men.

•Include more fruit and vegetables in your diet, try buying low fat or fat free dairy products and for more protein, choose fresh and lean foods like chicken, fish, eggs, lean mince and avoid eating processed and fatty meats.

Maintaining a healthy body weight

According to the HSFSA, maintaining a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to protect your overall health. Information by the HSFSA states how being overweight or obese can increase your risk for heart attacks or strokes and make you prone to other health problems such as high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes, gallstones, being overweight or obese increases your risk for having a heart attack or stroke as well as numerous other health problems including high blood pressure, certain cancers, diabetes, gallstones, sleep apnoea and degenerative joint disease.

Ways in which to maintain a healthy weight is to eat less and increase physical activity.

The best advice to maintain body weight is to make use of the guidance and advice of professionals like dietitians and physical trainers to aid with weight loss. The foundation advises should you need to lose some weight, to join longer weight loss programmes ideally 6-month programmes, and once the ideal weight is reached, thereafter continue with expert advice and support. In addition to losing the weight, it’s important to also implement long term behavioural and habitual changes. The foundation warns against the following of so-called ‘fad’ diets.

How to be more active

Living a more active lifestyle can help to maintain body weight and avoid certain diseases or illnesses advises the HSFSA. Not being active can lead to a variety of other problems such as an increased risk to diseases, feelings of depression and anxiety, can increase chances of heart attack and a higher risk of fatality in these attacks, a lack of exercise or physical inactivity can also negatively affect bone health and have an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Partner up with family or friends to get those inactive bodies moving and opt for activities or exercise that are enjoyable, fun and start off on a slow and steady pace. Try to incorporate more walking into your day, walk to nearby friends, shops or schools within walking distance. Park further away from the entrance at the shopping malls, climb the stairs at the office, instead of using the lifts, or take a brisk walk during your lunch break.

Playing with your children, taking the dog for walks, going hiking on weekends, walking along the beach, putting on some music and dancing, swimming, running, jogging, or taking up a new sport are other ways to ensure you get more active!

How to reduce your stress levels

Too much stress and triggers thereof can become detrimental to overall health. High levels of stress consistently over a long period of time, can lead to other health problems, so it’s important to learn how to manage your stress. Information by the HSFSA suggests following a good diet, including plenty of B-vitamins, which is good for the functioning of the central nervous system and take more zinc and vitamin C supplements to improve immune support.

•Don’t overburden yourself, do only that which you can and learn how to say NO or ask for help when feeling overwhelmed.

•Try organising the daily tasks by keeping track of it all on a list, create a system where important, more urgent tasks are highlighted and prioritised.

•Include more humour in your life, laughter reduces stress levels so find those things which tickle your funny bone and have a good laugh.

•Limit bad habits, try smoking less and drinking less alcohol.

•Also try to follow a healthy diet with enough physical movement to keep you active!

•Establish a healthy sleep routine. Try going to bed more-or-less at the same time every night, wake up at the same time in the mornings and avoid working ‘all-nighters’ and switch off mobile devices which can disrupt your sleep. Try to get at least between 7-9 hours of sleep.

•Get professional help if the stress starts to feel too overwhelming. Reach out to family, friends, or professional counsellors.

For more tips on how to live a healthier life, or for more helpful advice, resources and healthy recipes, visit, heartfoundation.co.za. Healthy recipes can also be downloaded from the website.