Your 5 Drop-Dead Simple Choices for Staying Healthy

By on September 3, 2013

Fotolia_48241505_XSMany decisions regarding your health and wellness are in your hands.

To potentially make yourself much less prone to developing serious illness (stroke, heart disease, liver problems, lung problems, diabetes, specific cancers etc.), there are some simple, actionable changes concerning your lifestyle that you should consider.

Here’s a mental checklist I’ve prepared to help put these actionable choices into perspective:

CHOICE ONE:  Don’t Smoke
  • Quitting smoking is the most effective thing you can do to minimize your risk of contracting future illness
  • The risk level to your health drops dramatically when you stop smoking (it can take a few years before the increased risk is removed completely)
  • If you find it difficult to stop smoking, then seek medical advice through your local doctor
CHOICE TWO:  Perform Regular Physical Activity
  • Any activity that leaves you slightly out of breath and somewhat sweaty (jogging, swimming, cycling, heavy gardening etc.) is good
  • A brisk walk every day is also good. You should aim to keep whatever activity you choose as vigorous as possible so you get maximum benefit
  • You should consistently perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity on as many days as possible. If 30 minutes is too long two shorter activity bursts (two 15 minute bouts) is better than not doing anything at all
CHOICE THREE:  Maintain a Healthy Diet
  • Eat at least five portions, and ideally seven to nine portions, of varied fruit and vegetables every day
  • The majority of your meals need to be starch-based (wholegrain breads, cereals, potatoes, pasta, rice, etc.) together with fruit and vegetables
  • Keep fatty foods (fried food, fatty meats, cheeses, butter, full-cream milk, etc.) to a minimum and go for low fat, mono-saturated or poly-unsaturated spreads
  • Eat several portions of fish each week. Where possible, at least one portion of these should be the ‘oily’ type (sardines, mackerel, pilchards, kippers, salmon, fresh tuna or herring)
  • If you’re a meat eater, stick with poultry (for example, chicken with skin removed) or lean meat
  • When frying foods use a vegetable oil such as rapeseed, sunflower or olive oil
  • Avoid adding salt to your food, and limit the intake of salty foods
CHOICE FOUR:  Lose Weight if You’re Overweight or Obese
  • If you’re overweight you’ll get measurable health benefits from losing just 5-10% of your body weight
  • Typically this is about 5-10 kg (10 kg is approximately half a stone)
CHOICE FIVE:  Cut down on Alcohol
  • Women shouldn’t drink more than 14 units* in a week (and a maximum of 3 units* over any one day)
  • Men shouldn’t drink more than 21 units* in a week (and a maximum of 4 units* over any one day)
  • One unit is equivalent to approximately half a pint of (normal) beer, or two thirds of a small glass of wine, or one pub measure of spirits


Perhaps you’d like to share your thoughts and experiences on what’s working (or not) for you. Please feel free to post a comment below.

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