What is the secret to a long, healthy life? It’s often the subject of documentaries or news features as everyone strives to live to a ripe old age. It seems that there isn’t one clear answer. Maintaining good health depends on several factors involving positive lifestyle changes and paying close attention to self-care. Could you benefit from healthier ways of living? Here are some easy ways to pursue good health for life.

1. Try to eat your 5-a-day

There’s a lot of healthy eating advice out there telling us what we should eat in a day, but one that most people agree on is to eat your 5-a-day. Eating five portions of fruit or vegetables a day might seem like a high amount, but when you add them to each of your daily meals, it soon becomes easier than you think. Keep a note of what counts as your 5-a-day to hand and try to stick to it.

2. Get quality sleep

How much sleep do you get a night? For a large proportion of adults and children, it’s probably not enough. There are various recommended sleep guidelines (might be worth embedding the infographic here…) which apply to different age groups. For a typical adult aged 18-65, you should be getting 7-9 hours sleep a night. Some things you can do to help you get more sleep at night include:

  • Going to bed earlier, even an hour could make a difference to your mood and energy levels in the morning.

  • Minimise sleep disruptions by turning off electronic devices or even keeping them in another room.

  • Stop using electronics an hour before bed.

  • Exercise or walk in the evenings.

  • Try doing yoga or having a hot bath before bed to help you relax

  • Stop drinking caffeine six hours before you go to bed

  • Ensure your bedroom is the right temperature and is dark enough to help you get to sleep at night.

3. Exercise regularly

Love it or hate it, exercise is important. Exercise can help improve fitness, strength and flexibility, while also helping you to keep the weight off. All of these things help you to stay healthy, and become more important as you get older. There are many different ways to exercise, from playing sport to doing a home workout. The World Health Organisation’s recommended physical activity guidelines for adults recommend 150 minutes of exercise a week, so start looking at ways you can fit more time for exercise into your life.

4. Don’t neglect your oral health routine

A nice smile and pearly white teeth are on top of many people’s wishlists, but having a healthy mouth is so much more important than that. The benefits of having a healthy mouth include preventing gum disease, heart disease and many others. Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly and use mouthwash to help keep your mouth healthy – it’s probably more important than you realise.

5. Go for regular check ups

Your regular health appointments are important. From getting your smear test to your 6-monthly or annual dental appointment, it’s important to stick to your regular check ups. If you can’t make it for any reason, let your practice know as soon as possible – and remember to rearrange for a more convenient time.

6. Walk more

Walking is one of the easiest ways you can exercise. Whatever your age or fitness level – walking is something everyone can do more of to maintain good health for life. You can invest in a fitness tracker to monitor how active you are and give you regular notifications to get moving. Walking is a great excuse to enjoy some fresh air too, something which can boost your mental health and stops you relying on your car so much to get around. Start walking more for a lifelong habit you can adopt for good health for life.

7. Use your electronics less

It’s great to be able to access information whenever you want it, but being glued to your electronic devices and social media feeds can spell bad news for your mental health. Why not try taking a break from your phone or tablet now and then and enjoy spending some quality time with people instead? Social media can lead to issues like anxiety and low self-esteem, so taking a break now and then could help to keep you grounded and remind you that there’s a world away from the screen.

8. Don’t smoke

Smoking remains one of the country’s biggest killers. It’s an unhealthy habit, and can be an expensive one too. Smoking can lead to all sorts of illnesses, and as the leading preventable cause of lung cancer, giving up smoking comes highly recommended. If you feel it’s easier said than done, you can find resources to help yourself quit smoking and quit the habit for good.

9. Drink less

How many units of alcohol do you drink a week? If it’s more than 14, then you might want to think about cutting down. If you’re unsure what counts as a unit or you want some ways to cut back, then Drink Aware has some excellent advice on alcohol units. Cutting back on how much you drink will be better for your health, and will help you to lose weight as alcohol contains a lot of hidden calories because of the sugars used to make it.

10. Cook more

A takeaway or a ready meal can feel like a convenient dinner option, but if you become too used to them, you could be damaging your health in the long-term. Many of these foods are processed, and contain high amounts of sugar, salt and fat – which are not good for your weight or your heart. By cooking more fresh meals from scratch using fruit and vegetables and more natural ingredients, you can help get the nutrition you need to ensure good health for life. There are some easy ways to enjoy better home cooking, with one-pot meals and slow cookers making it easier than ever to rustle up some nutritional, tasty meals.

11. Learn to self-care for good health for life

Taking care of your health is very important, and if you’re serious about a long and healthy life, you might need to change your habits. Making more of an effort to maintain a healthier lifestyle could help you enjoy good health for life, which is even more important as you get older. Despite your best efforts, your life and your health can be unpredictable, so make sure you take the appropriate steps for your own and your family’s needs.

Explore ESMI for a quote for life, critical illness and sick pay insurance to make sure you and your family are covered for the unexpected.