Healthy habits
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Healthy habits: Why Grandma and Grandpa might have been healthier than you

We live in a time of medical marvels. We have antibiotics, vaccines, and a vast understanding of the human body. So, shouldn’t we be healthier than ever? Surprisingly, research suggests that our grandparents might have had a slight edge at our age. Could it be that the secret to good health lies in the healthy habits they embraced in their daily lives?

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Here’s a look at some reasons why:

Reasons our grandparents embraced healthy habits

Move it or lose it

Daily life for many grandparents involved more physical activity. Their jobs often required manual labour, and leisure time might have been spent gardening, walking, or playing active games. Today’s jobs and entertainment tend to be more sedentary.

Diet disconnect

Our grandparents’ generation likely ate a less processed diet. They cooked more at home, relying on whole foods and seasonal ingredients. Fast food and sugary drinks were occasional treats, not staples.

Portion distortion

Today’s supersized portions weren’t the norm for most grandparents. They likely ate until they were satisfied, not overwhelmed by overflowing plates.

Stress overload

Modern life throws a lot of stress our way. Financial pressures, long commutes, and constant connectivity can take a toll on our health. Grandparents may have faced different stressors, but the pace of life might have been less frenetic.

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It’s not all downhill

The good news? We have the knowledge and resources to make changes. Here are some tips:

Healthy habits: Embrace activity

Forget the idea of forcing yourself onto a treadmill for a dreaded hour. The key to making exercise a sustainable part of your life is to find activities you genuinely enjoy. Think of it as a chance to move your body, have fun, and reap the amazing health benefits that come with it. Here are some ideas to spark your joy of movement:

Channel your inner dancer

Put on some music you love and let loose! Dance classes are a great way to learn new moves and socialise, but don’t be afraid to just groove in your living room. From salsa to hip-hop, find a rhythm that gets your heart pumping and your spirits soaring.

Explore the great outdoors

Immerse yourself in nature with activities like hiking, biking, or kayaking. Sunshine and fresh air are mood boosters, and the scenery adds a whole new dimension to your workout.

Team up for fun

Find an exercise buddy or join a group fitness class. The camaraderie and shared goals can make exercise more motivating and engaging. Try a team sport like volleyball or basketball, or a group fitness class like Zumba or boot camp.

Embrace the power of play

Sometimes the best exercise is disguised as fun! Activities like rollerblading, playing tag, or even a vigorous game of charades can get your heart rate up and leave you smiling. Reconnect with your inner child and rediscover the joy of movement.

Make it a habit

The key to success is consistency. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Break it up if you need to – a brisk walk in the morning and a dance session in the evening can be just as effective as one long workout.

Listen to your body

Don’t push yourself too hard, especially when starting out. Pay attention to your body’s signals and take rest days when needed. There’s a difference between challenging yourself and reaching a point of pain.

Remember, the most important thing is to find activities that bring you joy. When exercise feels good, you’re more likely to stick with it and reap the long-term health benefits. So, lace up your shoes, put on your favourite music, and start moving your body in a way that feels good for you!

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Healthy habits: Cook more often

While takeout and delivery might seem like convenient options, taking control of your meals at home offers a wealth of benefits. It’s not just about saving money (although that’s a perk!), it’s about empowering yourself to create healthy, delicious food that nourishes your body and soul. Here’s why cooking more often is a win-win:

Ingredient transparency

You call the shots! When you cook at home, you know exactly what goes into your food. Swap out hidden sugars and unhealthy fats for fresh, wholesome ingredients. Do you have a sodium sensitivity? No problem, you can control the salt content. Embrace seasonal produce that’s bursting with flavour and nutrients.

Portion perfection

Restaurant portions are notorious for being supersized. Cooking at home allows you to control exactly how much you eat. Prepare single servings or create meal preps with pre-portioned containers to avoid overindulging.

Creativity in the kitchen

Cooking is a form of self-expression! Experiment with new flavours and cuisines. There are endless healthy recipes available online and in cookbooks to keep your taste buds excited. Plus, it’s a fun way to explore different cultures and traditions.

Bonding over food

Cooking can be a social activity. Turn meal prep into a fun event with friends or family. Involve your kids in age-appropriate tasks like stirring, washing vegetables, or setting the table. Sharing a meal you created together fosters connection and creates lasting memories.

Healthy habits for life

The more comfortable you become in the kitchen, the more likely you are to make healthy choices. Developing basic cooking skills empowers you to take charge of your well-being and create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle.

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Cooking doesn’t have to be complicated

Don’t be intimidated by fancy recipes or complicated techniques. Start simple! There are plenty of quick and easy meals that are both nutritious and delicious. Here are some tips for success:

Plan your meals

Spend a little time each week planning your meals and creating a grocery list. This will help you avoid unhealthy impulse buys at the store.

Stock your pantry

Keep healthy staples like whole grains, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, and frozen vegetables on hand. These ingredients can be easily transformed into countless meals.

Prep work is key

Dedicate some time on the weekend to chopping vegetables, prepping grains, or cooking a batch of protein like grilled chicken or salmon. This will make it a breeze to throw together healthy meals throughout the week.

Leftovers are lifesavers

Cook double what you need for dinner and enjoy the leftovers for lunch the next day. This saves time and ensures you have a healthy, prepared meal on hand.

Cooking at home is an investment in your health and well-being. It’s about reclaiming control of your food, exploring new flavours, and creating delicious meals that nourish your body. So, embrace your inner chef, have fun experimenting, and enjoy the satisfaction of creating healthy meals at home!

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Healthy habits: Mindful eating

Mindful eating isn’t just about slowing down. It’s about cultivating a deep awareness of your body’s hunger cues, your emotions, and the experience of eating itself. Here’s how to transform mealtimes into moments of mindful connection with your food:

Tune into your hunger

Before reaching for food, ask yourself: Am I truly hungry, or am I eating for emotional reasons like boredom, stress, or sadness? Our bodies send us subtle signals like stomach growling or slight shakiness to indicate genuine hunger. Learn to recognise these cues and respond accordingly.

Ditch the distractions

Put down your phone, turn off the TV, and silence your notifications. Distractions rob us of the ability to fully experience our food. Focus on the act of eating, savouring the sights, smells, textures, and tastes of each bite.

Slow down and savour

Take small bites and chew thoroughly. Put down your utensils between bites to allow your body to register feelings of fullness. This mindful approach helps prevent overeating and allows you to appreciate the flavors and textures of your food.

Ask yourself questions

As you eat, check in with yourself. How does the food taste? Does it satisfy you? Are you feeling full? This internal dialogue fosters a deeper connection with your body’s needs and helps prevent mindless overeating.

Gratitude for your food

Take a moment to appreciate the food on your plate. Consider the journey it took – from farm to table – and the nourishment it provides. Cultivating gratitude for your food adds a mindful layer to the eating experience.

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Mindful eating in practice

Here are some practical tips to incorporate mindful eating into your daily routine:

Create a calm environment

Set the table with intention, using nice plates and silverware. Dim the lights and play calming music if desired.

Start small

Begin by practising mindful eating with just one meal a day. Gradually incorporate this awareness into all your meals and snacks.

Engage all your senses

Notice the colours of your food, the aroma as you take a bite, the texture as you chew. Savour the symphony of flavours in each mouthful.

Mindful snacking

Apply the same principles to snacking. Avoid mindless munching while watching TV. Instead, choose a dedicated snack time, sit down with a small portion, and savour each bite.

Mindful eating is a journey, not a destination. Be patient with yourself and celebrate your progress. By cultivating a conscious connection with your food, you’ll not only improve your physical health but also gain a deeper appreciation for the act of eating itself.

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Healthy habits: Manage stress

Modern life throws a lot our way: work deadlines, financial pressures, and the constant barrage of information. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on our physical and mental health. The good news? You’re not powerless. There is a toolbox full of relaxation techniques you can incorporate into your daily routine to combat stress and cultivate inner peace.

Here are a few powerful techniques to explore:

Mindfulness meditation

This practice involves focussing your attention on the present moment, without judgement. By quieting your mind and observing your thoughts and feelings without getting caught up in them, you can cultivate a sense of calm and clarity. There are many guided meditations available online and in apps to help you get started.


This ancient practice combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. Yoga can help reduce stress hormones, improve sleep quality, and increase feelings of well-being. There are many different styles of yoga, so you can find a class that suits your fitness level and preferences.

Deep breathing exercises

Taking slow, deep breaths is a simple yet powerful way to activate your body’s relaxation response. Techniques like alternate nostril breathing and diaphragmatic breathing can help calm your nervous system and bring your mind and body back to centre.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This technique involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups throughout your body. By focusing on the physical sensations of tension and release, you can release built-up stress and promote feelings of calmness.

Spend time in nature

Immersing yourself in nature is a well-documented stress reliever. Take a walk in the park, hike in the woods, or simply sit outside and soak up the sunshine. Connecting with nature can have a profound calming effect on the mind and body.

Engage in activities you enjoy

Make time for hobbies and activities that bring you joy, whether it’s reading, listening to music, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing a creative outlet. Engaging in activities you find pleasurable is a great way to de-stress and recharge your batteries.

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Finding your stress management sanctuary

Chronic stress can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to navigate it alone. The key is to discover what works best for you.

Experiment with different relaxation techniques – meditation apps, yoga classes, spending time in nature – and see what brings you a sense of calm and inner peace. Consistency is key, so weave these practices into your daily routine for maximum stress-busting benefit.

Remember, prioritising your well-being isn’t selfish, it’s essential. By managing stress, you’re investing in a healthier, happier you. If you find yourself needing additional support, Plushcare can connect you with licensed therapists who can provide personalised guidance and strategies for managing stress.

They offer convenient online appointments, so you can get the help you need from the comfort of your own home.

So take a deep breath, explore some relaxation techniques, and consider connecting with a Plushcare therapist. Together, you can create a life that feels balanced and less burdened by the daily grind.

Remember, our grandparents might have had a head start, but a healthy lifestyle is still the key to a long and vibrant life. So, lace up your walking shoes, put down the processed snacks, and take charge of your health today!


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