SHAPING UP: Taking small steps to improve your overall health and your quality of life

We've all had those well-intentioned moments when we promise to make big lifestyle changes - especially at this time of year.

It may be that we vow to quit smoking; cut out alcohol, lose 20 pounds or join a gym and start exercising every day.

While we should always strive to be heathier, the road to better health doesn't always have to mean making such drastic changes.

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There are so many smaller steps you can take that will help improve your overall health and quality of life… if you’re consistent with them!

If you incorporate these four small things into your routine they’ll have a big positive effect on your overall health, and because they’re so easy you’ll be able to maintain them for the long haul.

Drink Two Litres Of Water A Day

It’s no secret that you should drink two litres of water a day. Here’s why… Hydration increases your ability to burn fat, it suppresses your appetite and improves your digestion.

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It also helps to reduce fatigue. And, if that’s not enough, it also promotes healthier skin and healthier joints.

Get 10,000 Steps A Day

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Completing 10,000 steps each day can help you manage your weight.

Typically, 10,000 steps a day burns about 2,000 to 3,500 extra calories each week.

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One pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about one pound per week simply by completing an extra 10,000 steps each day.

Plus, when you’re more active it reinforces healthy habits; when you’re active you’re more likely to do more exercise and eat healthy foods.

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Sleep For Seven To Eight Hours Every Night

The importance of sleep is often overlooked.

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When you’ve had a good nights sleep you’ll find yourself in a better mood, with better focus, concentration and productivity.

It helps improve your immune system and regulates hormones. Good sleepers tend to exercise more and eat less calories too.

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Follow The 80/20 Diet Rule

For most of us sticking to a diet 100% of the time is unrealistic and an impossible goal for the longer term.

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With this in mind, the 80/20 rule means eating a healthy, balanced diet for 80% of the time while allowing yourself to enjoy some of your favourite foods, in moderation, for the remaining 20%.

You won’t lose weight as quickly this way, but it’s certainly easier to maintain long term.

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These four things are easily incorporated into your routine and if you do them consistently you’ll notice big positive changes to your overall health.

Graham says: “When I left school, I spent four years as a professional footballer at Hartlepool United. I learned a great deal about exercise and nutrition and how to get the best out of your body. When my football career ended due to injury, I qualified as a personal trainer and moved to Dubai, where I worked in a huge gym.“Working in Dubai was a priceless experience; the knowledge I gained in one year in Dubai would have taken at least five in the UK.

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“When I returned from Dubai, I took on the role of gym supervisor and personal trainer at the five-star Seaham Hall Hotel and Serenity Spa.

"It was there that I set up my first boot camp and they went from strength to strength, growing very quickly.

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"While I was there, I won the Leisure Excellence Award at the North East Hotels Association. I left Seaham Hall in 2012 to focus on running my own business. I held the boot camp sessions in local car parks and travelled to personal training clients to train them at home.”