It’s no surprise January is one of the busiest months of the year for new members joining gyms around the country; the over-indulgence of the festive season paired with the blank slate of a new calendar year means many of us have health and wellness on our minds this time of year.
If the new year has brought with it new enthusiasm to take better care of your health in 2016, here are some practical and achievable health resolutions you can try to feel your best over the next twelve months.
- Try meditating – Stress and anxiety are a common part of modern life and can be debilitating if we don’t find ways to manage and relieve the pressure we feel. Meditating is like a workout for the mind; it helps calm, bring focus and manage stress and anxiety. Learn more about meditation in our Best of the Web guide.
- Get more sleep – While asleep our bodies and brains rest, heal and repair our systems. A good night’s sleep is essential to feeling our best, yet so many adults fail to get a full night’s sleep on a regular basis. If you find yourself feeling tired, sluggish or struggle to concentrate as the day goes on, getting a better quality sleep is a great resolution for you. Find some tips in our guide to getting a good night’s sleep.
- Quit packaged foods – Packaged foods are notoriously high in preservatives, sugar and sodium. Eating well and healthily doesn’t mean cutting down on your favourite foods – instead of dieting, try making a simple switch. Avoid packaged foods and pre-made meals, preparing your own meals fresh from real ingredients.
- Cut down on alcohol – Studies show affluent over 50s are most at risk of harmful drinking. Without realising, we can become dependent on alcohol and one or two glasses of wine each evening can accumulate over time and cause a negative impact on our health. Try cutting down on alcohol by focusing on quality over quantity. Purchasing a more expensive bottle of wine that you enjoy and savour is a great way to still indulge in a drink while looking after your health.
- Get your five a day – A study by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention revealed more than three quarters of adults don’t get the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables. High in nutrients and low in calories, a diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables are key to a healthy lifestyle. A great resolution is to try and get as close to five servings each day as possible; look for new ways to incorporate fruits and veg to the dishes and meals you prepare everyday – it’s easier than you think!
- Start a food journal – Mindless eating is a major contributor to obesity because we consume calories without even realising, eating when we’re bored rather than hungry. A food journal helps you take notice of what you eat everyday. Start by writing down your meals, and take note of how you felt afterwards or any feelings associated with the meal – for example, are you reaching for food as comfort, or often feel bloated after certain dishes? A food journal will help you eat better and even lose weight, without turning to a crash diet.
- Build strength – Staying fit and strong is especially important as we age, and can be as simple as incorporating a few new exercises into your daily routine while watching TV. A kettlebell or set of dumbells means you can do it at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. Find some great exercises in our guide to kettlebell workouts.
- Find what feels good – Staying active and exercising regularly helps us stay healthy, strong and mobile as we age, as well as relieve stress and boost endorphins. But many of us avoid exercise because we can’t bear the thought of going for a run or working out in a gym. This year, commit to finding what feels good – try different ways to get moving and keep going until you find an activity you like. It could be walking, yoga, swimming, tennis or cycling – there’s no right or wrong way to stay active.
- Choose wholegrain – For many of us, processed carbohydrates are at the heart of our diet. Eating healthier doesn’t mean losing out on the foods you love. Make a few simple switches instead; choose wholegrain bread, pasta and rice instead of the white versions which have been all but stripped of their nutrients. Incorporating other grains like cous cous, quinoa and bulgar wheat offer better nutrients and fewer calories.
So tell us: will you set any health resolutions for yourself this year?