When it comes to making healthier lifestyle choices, there are many ways in which we could all do a little better by ourselves - whether it be nutritionally, emotionally or physically. And with all the ongoing uncertainty we face with ongoing restrictions, social distancing and limited spaces to work out, it’s more important than ever to look after our physical and mental health.
There are, thankfully, a few easy changes you can make to your lifestyle that will have a big impact on your day-to-day wellbeing. Here, we reveal the best steps to take towards a happy, healthy lifestyle as we navigate these difficult times.
Why? Sleep deprivation impacts your body far more than you realise: it can affect concentration and stress levels, increase blood pressure, weaken your immune system and lead to overeating (normally junk food). But getting a good night’s sleep is about more than the length of time spent asleep – it’s about the quality, too. Creating a healthy sleeping routine is key to unlocking the power of sleep.
How? Make sure you plan for seven to eight hours of sleep a night and wake up at the same time every day – this will train your brain to recognise on its own when it’s time to wake up. Switching off your television and putting down your phone 30 minutes or so before bedtime can help you drift off to sleep, as will reducing your caffeine and alcohol intake. You should avoid alcohol three hours before bed, and caffeine for five.
Stay accountable with the Cathay app, which allows you earn miles and rewards just by logging your sleep.
Why? Water is essential for our bodies to work properly, but most of us don’t drink enough of it every day. Not only is it critical for digestion, removing waste and carrying nutrients and oxygen around our body, but it is also good for your mind and complexion - even mild dehydration can impact concentration, alertness and cause fatigue and headaches.
How? The recommended daily intake of water can vary significantly according to how much you sweat during the day - whether it be due to hot weather, exercise, or illness. However, as a general rule, you should be drinking around six to eight glasses of fluid a day. With the Cathay app, you’ll earn miles just by hitting that goal. Learn more about how to stay hydrated with the Cathay app along with other tips and tricks here.
Why? The health benefits of regular exercise are hard to ignore. It can help with weight control, manage health problems, prevent diseases (such as arthritis, high blood pressure, depression and diabetes), improve your mood, boost your overall energy, and promote better sleep. Different forms of exercise can help with specific fitness goals, but a well-rounded regime should include both aerobic exercise and strength training.
How? Any amount of physical activity is beneficial, but a healthy lifestyle should include at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio (walking, biking, swimming, etc) or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise, such as running, per week. You should also aim to include all major muscle groups with strength training at least twice a week, whether you use weights, resistance bands, or your own body weight. If you have a smart tracker, you can link your activity – from steps to exercise – to goals in the Cathay app, earning miles and rewards just for looking after your health.
Why? Healthy eating is key to maintaining good health and helping you feel your best. The right diet can lower the risk of obesity, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and help with sleeping patterns and energy levels. Generally speaking, it’s recommended that men eat around 2,500 calories a day while women should eat around 2,000. However, this will vary according to how active your lifestyle is, because eating healthily is not just about eating the right foods, but eating them in the right proportions, too.
How? Your diet should include five portions of fruits and vegetables a day (which are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibre), whole grain foods (which help you stay healthy and fuller for longer), and protein (which helps build and maintain muscle, bones and skin). As an additional bonus, you’ll earn Asia Miles when you log your fruit and veg intake in the Cathay app. You should also limit your intake of highly processed foods, sugar, salt, and saturated fats.
Why? A healthy lifestyle is about more than your physical wellbeing, it’s about looking after your mental health, too. And one of the best ways to improve your mental wellbeing is through meditation – the benefits of which include better focus and concentration, improved self-awareness and self-esteem, and lower anxiety and stress levels.
How? Meditating for a few minutes daily is known to help bring a sense of calm and balance into your life. In mindfulness meditation, you learn how to pay attention to your breath, noticing when your mind wanders and bringing your attention back to your breathing when it does. This practice of returning to the breath builds the muscles of attention and teaches us to be present in the moment. There are plenty of guided meditation resources available from meditation apps to YouTube videos to get you started.
Why? People often forget the most important muscle to work out: the brain. Aside from the obvious benefits of reading, such as vocabulary expansion and knowledge enhancement, reading is a great way to improve your focus, memory, empathy and communication skills, as well as decrease stress and improve your mental health. It can also help develop analytical thinking skills and be a great source of entertainment away from a screen.
How? Whether you’re reading for two hours each day or two hours over an entire week, the key is to fit some form of reading into your schedule. Try setting some time aside in the morning or evenings - before bed is a great option, to help you wind down before you sleep, as is during a daily commute.
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