HEALTH is wealth, as the saying goes.
Never more than now, after the 18 months we’ve all had. But for many of us it can be a daunting journey.
Chances are, you turned to social media in search of answers. Instagram, TikTok and YouTube are bursting with health inspo, but a lot of things we are exposed to are actually doing us no favors.
So who should you listen to? We asked seven top health influencers – who are among the best in their field – for advice. Everyone shares a simple tip they swear by and their knowledge that can really help transform your health – fast.
DR. PHILIPPA KAYE, GP TODAY MORNING AND AUTHOR FROM DOCTORS ALSO GET CANCER
12k Insta followers
Dr. Philippa Kaye – Credit Liz Isles
Focus on sleep hygiene
“Sleep is essential for health, recovery, healing and mental health. A bad night makes us physically tired, but also irritable, with a bad mood, lack of energy and difficulty concentrating.
“The key to getting a good night’s sleep is ‘sleep hygiene’. Have your bed ready for sleep and sex, not TV or work – so that all you associate your bedroom with is sleep.
“Get up at the same time each morning and avoid napping during the day, avoid caffeine in the afternoon, create a relaxation routine, and keep your phone outside of the bedroom (even when it’s in airplane mode).
“You also move earlier in the day, preferably outside in natural light, to prepare your body for later sleep.”
CHLOE MADELEY, PT
235k Insta followers
Chloe Madeley – Image courtesy Penguin Books
Exercise early in the morning
“I know it sucks to set the alarm an hour early, but doing it three times a week is a great way to get your fitness going.
“Research shows that if you start your day with a health-conscious decision like this, you are much more likely to continue making healthy choices throughout the day. *
“In addition, in my nine years of coaching I have found that 99.9% of my clients have a lot more energy for training in the morning than for training in the evening.”
ZANNA VAN DYK, PT
387k Insta followers
Zanna Van Dijk – Credit Tamsin Hurrell
Stop counting calories and eat more plants
“Since I moved away from recording calories and focused more on the variety of plants I eat, I’ve been thriving. I keep my gut happy with a variety of plant-based foods, from nuts and seeds to whole grains and legumes (like lentils, chickpeas, and beans) to fruits and vegetables.
“I focus on consuming 30 different plant foods per week because it has been shown to improve gut health.
“Thirty plants may seem like a lot, so try to add new groceries to your grocery list every week and work your way up. Simple swapping can help – try substituting regular noodles for chickpea noodles and make your beef Bolognese a 50/50 with ground beef and lentils. “
JAMES STIRLING, PT AND FITBIT AMBASSADORS
378k Insta followers
James Stirling – Credit Jermaine Binns
Focus on breath work
“What has done my fitness and well-being really good in recent years is the inclusion of breathing exercises in my everyday life – especially nasal breathing during cardiovascular exercises such as running or cycling.
“While challenging at first, it has many benefits. Nasal breathing is through your nose, not your mouth. Not only does it slow your breathing rate, but it also results in a 10-20% increase in oxygen uptake into the blood, which.” “is especially helpful when doing sports.
“Nasal breathing has also been shown to have a positive effect on anxiety. ** Try inhaling for 4 seconds, holding for 2 seconds, and letting go for 6 seconds.”
PETER MAC, CELEB PT AND YOGA TEACHER
79k Insta followers
Peter Mac – Celebrity PT and Yoga Teacher
Take 10,000 steps a day
“Taking your 10,000 steps a day doesn’t have to be a chore or a full workout. Take a walk before work, answer meetings while walking, and walk up and down stairs often.
“Make walks more enjoyable by listening to a podcast or playlist on the go. Don’t underestimate the power that simple movement has on your body – even if that’s the only fitness goal you can achieve in a day, a 40% day is better than a 0% day. “
GRAEME TOMLINSON, EVIDENCE-BASED COACH
1 million Insta followers
Make small diet changes to help you meet your weight loss goals
“If your goal is fat loss, then you need a calorie deficit. But it’s important to stick to it over time – that’s why you need to make it easy and enjoyable instead of following a strict diet and banning foods you don’t like.
“Suppose you normally cook with 15 ml of olive oil (135 calories). By cutting this down to just 5 ml (45 calories) you can make the same meal, but you cut the calories by 90 slightly.
“If you used olive oil five days a week, you would save 23,000 calories a year – that’s the equivalent of losing almost 2kg of body fat. Weight loss doesn’t have to be torture – it’s a lot easier to achieve when you make small improvements. “
RHIANNON LAMBERT, REGISTERED NUTRITIONALIST AND FOUNDER OF THE PRIVATE CLINIC RHITRITION
207k Insta followers
Focus on what you can eat, not what you can’t eat
“Building your meals around a balanced plate of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits / vegetables, and a small amount of healthy fat (unsaturated fats like olive oil / nuts / seeds) can maximize your diet for optimal health.
“Such a diet is close to the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to support a lower risk of heart disease and healthier aging. This type of diet also means that hopefully you will increase your fiber intake as well. ”