Health & wellbeing

8 smart ways to be good to your body

Dr Naomi Potter shares her expert advice on looking after your body and mind.

You’re eating your 5 a day and you’ve started on your new fitness plans – so which other healthy habits should you think about? Dr Naomi Potter gives her advice on looking after your body and mind.

1. Wet your whistle
Staying hydrated lets your blood transport nutrients, dump waste and help the heart pump blood through the vessels to your muscles more easily. Be guided by your thirst, but if your urine is dark yellow, it’s a sign that you need to drink more. And always rehydrate fully after exercising. Check out our water bottle, available to buy in the online WW shop.

2. Stub out cigarettes
Quit smoking and you will feel less tired, decrease your risk of heart disease and stroke, and gradually reduce your chances of getting lung cancer. Plus, your heart and lungs will improve, so you can get more out of exercise – the ultimate mood-booster. If you feel twitchy without a cig, channel that energy into exercise.

3. Take up a new hobby
Trying something new, learning different skills or working towards a goal could improve self-discipline and encourage you to continue living healthily. Mental health charity Mind advises activities that won’t challenge you too much at first so you feel a sense of achievement.

4. Avoid sugary highs and lows
Being overweight can make us feel sluggish and tired, and therefore low. Unfortunately, some people combat this with energy drinks. High-sugar drinks don’t fill you up, but provide unnecessary extra calories. They can also give you a temporary sugar high, followed by a rebound low. Stay on the up by keeping energy drinks (or any other sugary options) as a treat and not part of your daily routine.

5. Reward yourself – you deserve it!
Make this something you can look forward to at the end of the day (not food!). It doesn’t need to be much, but can be a treat for your hard work when it comes to eating healthily or moving more. Watching a favourite TV show, phoning a friend – enjoy anything you know will make you feel good.

6. Slow down on salt
Did you know that too much salt consumption raises blood pressure? Small amounts of sodium are important for our bodies, but we tend to eat much more salt than we need without realising it. Eating excess puts pressure on our kidneys and, over the years, can also damage the stomach lining. Use less in cooking or at the table and be mindful of dressings that are particularly high in salt, such as soy sauce.

7. Be a sensible socialiser
Keep your mind clear and alert by enjoying alcohol sensibly. Spread your consumption through the week, don’t binge, stick to daily guidelines (2-3 units for women; 3-4 for men) and aim for two tipple-free days a week to give your hardworking liver a rest.

8. Embrace the ZZZs
Getting quality sleep is important for your mood and physical health. And a lack of sleep may even lead to eating more unplanned snacks – so get yourself into a good sleep routine.