5 simple lifestyle tips from the doctor

Do you happen to suffer from fatigue, stress and/or difficulty concentrating? The book “A shot of lifestyle” by the Dutch general practitioner Jacqui van Kemenade helps you to take a good look at your own lifestyle. Besides a big lifestyle quiz, this inspiring book contains many practical tips and supporting information to change your lifestyle in your own way.

These five tips from the book will help you get started.

1. Jump into a warm bath or shower before bedtime

In our busy lives we often compromise on sleep, but Van Kemenade labels sleep in her book as an important pillar of a healthy lifestyle. Insufficient sleep harms your body and can lead to all sorts of nasty ailments like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. In her book ‘A shot of lifestyle‘, doctor Van Kemenade gives various tips for an optimal night’s sleep. Before you go to sleep, for example, make sure you have a ‘sleep schedule’. Van Kemenade: “Give your body the message well before bed that everything can be taken a bit slower and in this way get into sleep mode. For example, take a warm bath before you go to bed.” Regularity is also important for a quality night’s sleep, according to the GP. “Try to get up and go to bed at fixed times every day. Preferably before midnight, because that’s when you sleep the deepest. Do worries keep you awake? Write down your worrisome thoughts in a notebook and schedule time to think about them during the day.”

2. Learn a fun hobby

Many of us deal with stress and fatigue on a daily basis. Now sporadic stress can do little harm, but with chronic stress it becomes a different story: it leads to consistently high blood sugar, weight gain, fatigue and burnout, according to Van Kemenade. “For many people, the problem is not that they consume too much energy, but that they don’t get enough energy. So check yourself what gives you energy and regularly do that which gives you pleasure. Pick up a new hobby, for example. By learning new things, your brain remains flexible, young and stress-resistant.” The book ‘A shot of lifestyle’ gives you even more tips to relax. For example, take a nice nature walk, listen to music or take a class in meditation. Slow breathing helps a lot in relaxing.

3. Take the stairs instead of the elevator at work

In the car, at our desk and on the couch: many of us sit almost all day. This, of course, is not good for our health. According to Van Kemenade, too much sitting causes poor circulation, which can lead to diseases such as diabetes and arteriosclerosis, even in people who exercise regularly and are fit. We are often inclined to look at how often we exercise per week, but therein lies the sting, according to Van Kemenade. “It’s not just how often we exercise or do exercise that’s important, but how often we don’t.” So alternate sitting regularly with walking and hiking. “Try to take 8,000 to 10,000 steps every day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator at work, go for a walk during your lunch break, take regular walks in the woods, or go shopping in town instead of online.” On your phone, you can download a free pedometer app. You’ll see that your steps are ticking up faster than you think.

4. Have a handful of nuts daily

Not only are nuts a tasty snack for in-between meals, they are also packed with healthy fats, minerals, proteins and vitamins. Van Kemenade refers in her book to a scientific study in Spain, which showed that those who include nuts in their diet reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nuts also have a positive effect on blood sugars and they are full of fiber. Van Kemenade advises in her book to eat enough of that too. “The recommendation is at least 30 grams of fiber per day. Fiber contains many important and vital nutrients. It improves the bowel movement. Also, eating fiber regularly extends life expectancy.” You get fiber not only with nuts, but also with starchy vegetables, fruits, avocados legumes, whole grain cereals, beans and even with meat.

5. Look at the nutritional value instead of the calories

We often look at what foods are bad for us and supposedly shouldn’t be. But according to Van Kemenade, we can also ask that question in reverse at the supermarket: what does the food add? “Don’t eat to lose weight and don’t shop with numbers in your eyes, but look at the food: does it give you valuable nutrients, vitamins and minerals?” Living healthy and watching your diet will always be important, of course, but the GP also reminds us in her book that sometimes it’s necessary to party. “Don’t forget to party. That’s allowed and necessary from time to time. When you eat cake and all kinds of treats on your birthday, you go through your healthy lifestyle for a while. This prevents us from becoming obsessive. Moreover, it also means that your body has to work hard to work everything out. The stove is stoked up quite a bit for a while.”

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Sources: HelloDoc Health, Bol.com, Gezondheidsnet

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