It is no stretch to say that these past couple of years have been illuminating for all of us. From constant discussions of diseases and health in general to an increase in talks on climate change, our focus has turned more and more towards issues that affect our fellow human beings, as well as the planet that we live on. Naturally, we all want to learn ways that we can help, and so to celebrate World Health Day 2022, we have compiled a list of tips that will benefit both your health and the health of the planet. Putting in the work now will not only help you in the long run, but also the generations to come.
One big tip we can give is becoming a more mindful consumer. We know how difficult it can be when you’re in the grocery store, passing the soda aisle or the junk food aisle, craving the salty or sweet flavour that you know and love, but practising some mindfulness when it comes to these products may not only benefit your health, but the health of the planet too. These highly processed foods are often packaged with a heap of plastics, and often end up discarded out in nature. Also, the companies that produce these unhealthy foods are some of the most polluting and toxic to the environment, with some saying that junk food factories are responsible for over one third of the entire global greenhouse gas emissions. Not only will your body thank you for cutting down on these tempting items, but your planet will too.
Eat more plants and wholegrains. Why? According to the MD Anderson Center, a predominantly plant-based diet can: 1. Boost your immune system 2. Reduce inflammation 3. Maintain a healthy weight 4. Increase fiber 5. Lower your cancer risk
Reducing Your Stress
You can’t very well take care of others, let alone the entire planet, if you first don’t take good care for yourself. Now this next tip might sound basic, but it is backed up by science. We and the scientists at Stanford University recommend reducing stress by walking outside in nature. Stanford’s study found that of participants who walked in nature for 90 minutes a day, there was a decrease in activity of the region of the brain associated with depression. A nice nature walk seems to be just the thing to clear your mind and help you re-centre yourself. If you have a pet, there is even more incentive to start incorporating this into your daily routine! And if you are looking for something lightweight to hold all of your belongings on your walk, we might have the perfect sling bag for you right here...
Become more Eco-Friendly
Now of course there are the obvious points; bringing reusable bags to the grocery shops, using Tupperware instead of wrapping food in cling wrap, but there are some further steps you can take that will not only benefit the planet, but also your health directly. Updating your hygiene routine to be more eco-friendly has two-fold benefits, yet it is something that may be overlooked when thinking about how to ‘green’ your life. Such things as swapping out your aerosol deodorant, which causes toxic emissions and also contains harmful ingredients to your skin such as aluminium, for instead something more natural and organic, will do wonders for your skin as well as the planet. Buying skincare, haircare and other hygiene products that are made with sustainable and eco-friendly packaging is also a good tip to keep in mind when looking for your next staple product.
Get in touch with your inner-chef
Cooking for yourself has many benefits. Firstly, it lets you see exactly what is going into your food, and how much. If you need to you can cut back on the salt or oil yourself, something that is practically impossible to control if you are getting Uber Eats every night. Secondly, takeaway often comes with unnecessary plastic packaging that is almost always thrown out after a single use. Cooking for yourself means not only knowing what exactly goes int your food, but also gives you a chance to choose the most environmentally friendly packaging as well. And lastly, it is a commonly believed fact that cooking helps to reduce one’s stress. Cooking does not need to be a chore, it can be a relaxing ritual that you can look forward to doing either every day, or perhaps once or twice a week if you meal prep. Either way, we say get into the kitchen asap!
You don't need to do intense exercise 6 days a week to be healthy. But in order to remain mobile and in good health here's what the WHO recommends if you're under 65:
- Do at least 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity;
- or at least 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week
- should also do muscle-strengthening activities at moderate or greater intensity that involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these provide additional health benefits.
- may increase moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to more than 300 minutes; or do more than 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity; or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the week for additional health benefits.
- should limit the amount of time spent being sedentary. Replacing sedentary time with physical activity of any intensity (including light intensity) provides health benefits, and
- to help reduce the detrimental effects of high levels of sedentary behaviour on health, all adults and older adults should aim to do more than the recommended levels of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity.