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Top Lifestyle Tips

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The easiest way to adopt healthy habits is to make small changes to our behaviour. The involves slightly modifying the way we go about doing activities each day. For example, instead of using the escalators when out shopping, use the stairs instead. These small changes to our lifestyle are far more likely to be maintained that committing ourselves to unrealistic diets and fitness fads. How many people do you know who have joined a gym only to leave or stop going a few months later. The reason for this is that from doing nothing to going a gym 3 or 4 times per week is such a shift in their weekly lives that it is unlikely to be sustained for a long time.

According to research, it takes approximately 66 days to form a new habit. Habits can be defined as behaviours which are performed automatically because they have been performed many times in the past. This repetition creates a mental association between the situation (cue) and action (behaviour) which means that when the cue is encountered the behaviour is performed automatically. Automaticity has a number of components, one of which is lack of thought

To create a habit you need to repeat the behaviour in the same situation. It is important that something about the setting where you perform the behaviour is consistent so that it can cue the behaviour. If you choose a context cue, for example after lunch, we don’t think that it matters if you eat lunch at different times in the day.

Breaking habits is very difficult. The easiest way is to control your environment so that you do not encounter the cue which triggers your habit. It is difficult to break any habit even when you are motivated to do so. If you are ambivalent about breaking it then you will be less likely to succeed.New habits do not stop the old habits from existing; they just have to become stronger influences on behaviour.

Physical Activity

  • Ditch the TV remote controller – getting up and changing the channel manually 10 times per day will burn approximately 10 calories. That’s a total of 3650 per year – enough to burn one pound of body fat. 
  • Carry a basket instead of using a trolley. This will utilize the muscles in the arms and shoulder and requires core stability. 
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier and you will burn up to 6 calories for each minute that you walk 
  • Try to use regular doors instead on automatic as this work the backs of your arms – the triceps 
  • Fidget – regular research suggests that people who fidget can maintain a low body weight without exercising simply by constant, non-intensive fidgeting. 
  • Get a dog and take it for regular walks – keeping a dog on the lead will slightly increase the number of calories burnt. 
  • Crumple newspapers after you have finished with them. This works the muscles of the fingers and wrists. 
  •  Increase the speed that you vacuum around the house – this can burn 4 calories per minute and increase core strength. 
  • Walk down escalators – this can burn an extra 4 calories per minute. 
  • Walk up escalators – can burn 10 calories for every minute if done two steps at a time (great for the bum and thigh muscles) 
  • Push the kids on the swing – this improves arm strength and flexibility 
  • Purchase a fitball and sit on this when possible – this engages the core stability muscles around the torso which improves posture and makes you stomach flatter 
  • Using the stairs instead of the lift burns 10 calories per minute and tones all the leg muscles. 
  • If you wear less clothing the body will burn more calories – hence one calorie is the amount of heat required the raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. 
  • Decrease the thermostat in your home resulting in your body increasing its metabolism and burning more calories. 
  • Go to the top deck of the bus – 2 calories required 
  • Washing up the dishes manually uses an extra 2 calories per minute. 
  • Drying the dishes rather than letting them drain uses an extra 2 calories per minute 
  • Don’t send an internal e-mail to a person sitting 10 metres away – walk over instead burning 6 calories per minute 
  • Don’t drink water with meals as this can prevent a feeling of fullness and lead to extra calorie expenditure. 
  • Always maintain a good posture whether sitting or standing – eyes forward, chest out, shoulder back, and stomach in. Slouching can make the stomach look bigger and will lead to back pain. 
  • When sitting gently lift your legs off the floor and hold for 10secs – this works your stomach muscles and hip flexors (thighs). 
  • Wash the car, don’t use a car wash – a 30min car wash can burn 100 calories!! 
  • Don’t wait for the bus, walk to the next bus stop – 6 calories burnt per minute 
  • When using car parks always park the furthest away from where you need to get to - 6 calories burnt per minute 
  • Do the gardening – an hour of pruning and weeding can burn up to 700 calories when done intensely. 
  • Use a regular screwdriver rather than power tools therefore utilising the wrist and finger muscles. 
  • Move around during ad breaks allowing for 6 calories to be burnt per minute. 

Nutritional Tips

  • Eat a minimum of 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit every day. (‘5 a day) 
  • Always eat breakfast 
  • Limit soft drinks and drink at least 8 glasses of water per day 
  • Have 3 balanced meals per day and 2-3 small healthy snacks i.e. fruit 
  • Use fats and oils sparingly 
  • Have a small snack 20mins prior to a meal. This will prepare your digestive system. 
  • Reduce the amount of salt intake by not adding salt at the dinner table and by eating fewer high processed foods. 
  • Never eat just before you go to bed as your bodies metabolic rate is at its slowest therefore food is more likely to be stored as fat 
  • Chop vegetables rather than buying vegetables already chopped – this can use an extra 2 calories per minute.