We all know that a healthy diet and exercise are the key to keeping fit, as well as helping you live for longer. But there are smaller lifestyle changes that can make you that little bit healthier and they could make a big difference if you're not in a position to workout often. Sir Muir Gray, former Chief of Knowledge for the NHS, has shared some top tips on how to keep your body in shape; you'll be surprised at how easy they are to follow!
'The solution, then, is simple: eat more fibre!'
He starts with the digestive system, explaining that the myth of it becoming more prone to problems such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) isn't necessarily down to ageing. In fact, it's due to too little fibre, which has an impact on the muscles in the intestine.
"The solution, then, is simple: eat more fibre - soluble and insoluble! Soluble fibre sources include oats, nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and most fruits," he tells British newspaper The Daily Mail. "Insoluble fibre is found in wheatbran, most vegetables, and wholegrains such as barley, bulgur wheat, millet, brown rice, rye, oats and wholewheat."
If after making these changes you still suffer from IBS, Muir notes that it might be the effect of gluten. He suggests trying a gluten-free diet after discussing your options with a doctor.
Next he addresses lungs, referring to accomplishments made by older people such a 71-year-old man setting a new world record by cycling 25 miles in 54 minutes and 21 seconds. This is a clear indication that you can have decent lung function at old age if you look after yourself and it can be achieved in such straightforward ways.
Muir details that our lungs could be damaged in our childhood by those around us, such as our parents, smoking or in adult life with our own habits. They'll continue to be affected throughout your life if you keep smoking, but even quitting at 70 could have a big impact.
Risks of lung cancer will not increase year by year, remaining stable if you stop, and your risk of heart disease will reduce dramatically, potentially seeing your lungs in a similar state as to if you'd never smoked by the age of 80.
And the better health your lungs are in, the more oxygen you get into your body and the easier it will be to exercise. You'll find yourself able to do more without getting as breathless.
The joints are another aspect he explores. Cartilage thins with age and some people suffer more than others. It may seem like a good idea to avoid exercising in order to keep your joints in good form but this is NOT the way forward. Muir urges people to continue working out to keep the muscles surrounding your joints strong, and to keep elasticity in the fibrous tissues in ligaments and tendons.
Keeping active will maintain your bones too, as will eating a healthy amount of dairy products packed full of calcium.
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