Easy activities for a healthier lifestyle
As much as I have always wanted to lead a healthier lifestyle, I was that person who would pick extra fries over exercise. Going for a workout or making a salad over a quick bite at a fast food chain seemed too much of a hassle to fit into my busy schedule.
That is until I was introduced to LumiHealth, a programme designed by Health Promotion Board (HPB) in conjunction with Apple. I was able to participate through the LumiHealth app that can be paired to my Apple Watch to keep track of my progress.
As it had been a while since I’d embarked on any health programme, LumiHealth helped to kickstart my journey with simple activities to build up healthy habits slowly but surely. Here are 4 no sweat activities I experienced on the app:
1. Standing up & moving around
If you’ve got a desk job, chances are you spend most of the day sitting down. The only times you get up are probably to go to the loo or to grab lunch. Well, get off your butt right now and stand up for the rest of this article. Take a big stretch while you’re at it to relieve tension off your back muscles and shoulders too.
This was my challenge on the LumiHealth app. I was tasked with standing and moving around for 1 minute during 12 different hours of the day, for 4 days. To aid in finishing the challenge, I could set reminders that would prompt me to move.
Plus, with each completed minute, the Stand ring on my Apple Watch inched towards a close, which was satisfying to see and brought me a step closer towards completing my challenge.
It doesn’t seem like much but this simple movement can help increase activity levels. This in turn leads to a reduction in the risk of chronic illnesses and can ease back pain.
2. Picking lower sugar options
We already know consuming too much added sugar isn’t the healthiest thing to do. Excess sugar causes weight gain and increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The simplest solution would be to cut added sugars out of your diet. Sugar consumption should be limited to no more than 10% of our daily calorie intake. This would be about 10 teaspoons or 50g for an average 2,000-calorie/day diet. Cutting back to just 5 teaspoons a day would bring about additional benefits.
For my challenge on the LumiHealth app, I was given the mission of cutting down on my sugar intake by asking for less sweet options when I ate out. I had to do this 3 times that week for the challenge to be completed. Each day I got a drink with less sugar or passed on dessert, I could log this onto the app to complete my challenge.
The challenge pointed out that sugar is often hidden in many of the things we eat, even in savoury foods and some processed fruit juices. It also gave tips and suggestions on how I could easily cut down on sugar too.
To keep myself in check, I scanned through nutrition labels when I did my grocery shopping for the amount of sugar present in each serving. Pro tip: Look out for the red Healthier Choice symbol printed on food packaging.
I asked for less or no sugar when dining out too. I brought a bottle of water with me to cut back on sugary drinks. As for my must-have daily kopi, I would ask for “siew dai” or “kosong”. On days when I wanted a treat, I got the lowest or zero sugar level for my BBT order.
3. Practise mindfulness for 5 minutes anytime, anywhere
Most talk about living a healthy lifestyle is centred around physical well-being, but mental health is just as important as well. Stress doesn’t just affect your mental state, it can take a toll on your body too, like causing fatigue and headaches.
De-stressing can take on multiple forms like checking into a new hotel in Singapore for a quick staycay or booking a yoga sesh. But as I learnt from the LumiHealth app, practising mindfulness can take place anytime, anywhere.
The challenge I took on was to pause for a moment to reflect on my day. I did this while grabbing coffee for a midday break. Instead of rushing back to my seat as usual, I spent 5 minutes reflecting on my day and refocusing on the positives, using LumiHealth and the Mindfulness app on Apple Watch.
Apart from this, the LumiHealth app provided guides to help me get started. Using the app paired with my Apple Watch, it showed me ways that I could practice mindfulness wherever I was. Repeating the exercise regularly helped to gather my thoughts, which the app said could help reduce stress in the long run.
4. Adopt better sleeping habits
We Singaporeans are not known to sleep well. Sleep schedules are often erratic; we stay up late all week, then try and play catch up by snoozing all weekend.
That was me too until I learnt through the LumiHealth app on the importance of getting consistent, restful sleep. Quality sleep is necessary in recharging my mind and body. The reason why I still felt exhausted after sleeping away the entire weekend was because I hadn’t been getting enough sleep for the rest of the week.
In order to adopt better sleeping habits, I wore the Apple Watch to bed to track my sleep trends. The LumiHealth app also provided recommendations like dimming the lights and switching on the AC to help lull me to sleep faster.
Kickstart your healthier lifestyle with LumiHealth
For someone who can’t remember the last time I worked out, these activities on the LumiHealth app were effective in easing me into picking up a healthy lifestyle again.
The activity and wellness challenges are personalised according to my health goals and Apple Watch activity when I first signed up. This means that not everyone will see the same challenges, as these are tweaked accordingly.
Image credit: Apple
As you progress, activity goals may increase as you complete them. But there were no worries when I skipped a week because I had fallen ill or when life got busier. Since the weekly activity is personalised to each user, this would gradually increase or decrease based on how active you’ve been to make it more attainable or stimulating to complete the challenges.
It’s not all about exercise or managing your mental health though. The LumiHealth app also has challenges like taking a health screening or a risk assessment for diabetes too.
Of course, you’ll want to complete your challenges as much as you can, not just in the name of health, but for rewards as well. The LumiHealth app is a gamified experience in which you’re in charge of Lu. The cute little mascot has a goal to explore different lands and needs your help to return to his home planet.
The only way to help him is to complete your challenges using the LumiHealth app and your Apple Watch, which will award you with LumiPoints. These will help Lu move forward through each chapter of the game, and when he reaches certain milestones, he in turn, rewards you with coins.
These coins can be exchanged for HPB eVouchers to stores like iStudio, NTUC FairPrice, and Golden Village. Per month, you’ll be able to potentially earn $15 in such rewards, so I’d get to completing those challenges ASAP if I were you.
If you’ve procrastinated on living a healthy life because you’re not sure how to start, give the LumiHealth app a shot. Its easy activities covering fitness, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness are just the push you’ll need to get you going.
This post was brought to you by the Health Promotion Board.
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