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Body and mind

Seven things you can do right now to make your life better

The journey to a happier, healthier and hugely rewarding life starts today

1. Sit less
Over the past few years, research has increasingly cited long hours spent sitting down as a factor in the rising incidence of cardiovascular disease. One study compared adults who spent less than two hours a day in front of a screen (TV or other) with those who logged four or more hours of screen time. The latter had a nearly 50 percent increased risk of death and 125 percent increased risk of events associated with heart disease, such as chest pain and heart attacks. Worse still, a few hours in the gym doesn’t appear to significantly offset the impact. Build more standing and movement into your routine by standing while speaking on the phone or eating lunch, taking regular walking breaks at work, or using a standing desk in the office – better still, place your computer above a treadmill and walk while you work!

2. Learn to communicate
Your emotional health and physical health work hand-in-hand – if you’re feeling rubbish, you’re not likely to go for a run (even though a dose of exercise-induced endorphins can actually help). And do you have problems in your relationship?

3. Eat more fat
The right kind, that is. Incorporating the likes of avocados, nuts and coconut oil in your diet will offer a range of health benefits, from anti-inflammation and lower cholesterol to helping you shed body fat. Omega-3 fatty acids in particular can also help stave off heart disease and strokes, as well as reduce symptoms of hypertension and depression, among others. Pass the guacamole!

4. Wear the right clothes
Studies have shown that when people wear the right clothes for a task, they perform better – and some researchers believe this can apply to motivation for your workouts too. What better excuse to splurge on a new gym outfit?

5. Get skills in the kitchen
If you rely on takeaways, chances are you’ve absolutely no idea what bad stuff’s going into your meals, or how much of it. Your favourite restaurant downstairs may have never kept you waiting for your dinner for longer than 30 minutes, but exactly how much oil, sugar and cream is in that chicken kadai? Drop your delivery habit and you could drop a few kilos with it. KL has numerous cooking classes open to everyone, from amateur home cooks to those with ambitions to be the next Gordon Ramsay.

6. Ditch the soft drinks
Full sugar versions of your favourite carbonated drinks can contribute significantly to your daily calorie intake. So ditching them will have a huge, positive impact. Those partial to diet sodas also stand to benefit from cutting back, as artificial sweeteners have been shown to boost cravings for real sugar. Switch to water with a slice of lemon. Not only will you get a small dose of vitamin C, the drink also aids digestion and reduces inflammation over time.

7. Focus on your food
It may sound obvious, but not focusing on what you’re eating can lead to weight gain. In a world of constant distractions such as phones, iPads and TV screens, few of us are listening to the signals our stomachs are sending us. Studies have shown that those who don’t pay attention to their meal while eating tend to eat more, while those who do pay attention tend to eat less. So sit at the table and have a chat over dinner – it’s not so bad...
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