Be Kind To Yourself This January

Happy New Year to you all.

Im sure like most of us you have made some new years resolutions. Most resolutions are about trying to get healthier and you don’t have to do anything drastic to get there. Here is our guide to tweaking your lifestyle and ensuring that your new regime isn’t just for January.

Exercise

“There is a lot of evidence to show that it’s the people who do nothing at all who benefit the most from just doing a little bit. The biggest benefit comes from getting off the couch. Then you need to start gentle exercise, walking: it’s the best exercise for the cardiovascular system and its low impact on your joints. You can do it at any speed and intensity. Walk to the next bus stop along to the one you would usually catch the bus from. Take the stairs and don’t park your car as close to the supermarket entrance as you can. Exercising in this way will fit into your daily routine and will not feel like a chore, like saying that you will go to the gym three times a week. If you make exercise part of your life, you’re less likely to drop it as an optional extra.”

You shouldn’t confuse getting fit with losing weight. “You can’t use it to lose weight without restricting your calorie intake,” says Macauley.”You can get fit irrespective of how over weight you are. Exercise reduces the chance of stroke, improves the immune system and there is evidence for it improving your mood. It is much better to think of exercise as a family activity. Walk the children to school, go swimming or cycling together.

Reduce Alcohol Intake

While much has been written about the health benefits of a small amount of alcohol, binge drinking is still the bigger problem. Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration. Avoid binge drinking and have at least two alcohol free days a week.

Don’t eat between meals

Ensure that you are having three meals a day, with breakfast being the most important. Try to avoid a gradual build-up of snacks outside of meal times which may cause extra weight gain. Eat healthily and if you want to have a snack bring in a healthy snack such as nuts or fruit. We may often feel that we are hungry but we are actually thirsty and dehydrated. Have a large glass of water before deciding that you’re hungry.

 Exercise your brain

There is evidence, but it’s not conclusive, that brain training may ward off dementia by improving cognitive function. Doing crosswords, Sudoku or learning a language  makes your brain better at doing these specific tasks, rather than having a wider effect on your brain’s ability to retain and re-use information. There is evidence that being sociable is good for your mood and may also delay dementia.

Watch less TV

A study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that on average every hour of television watched after the age of 25 years reduces your life by nearly 22 minutes. The effects are felt through heart disease, largely due to the fact that watching television is a sedentary activity and we tend to eat mindlessly whilst watching the box. and we all sit too much anyway. But it’s a good excuse to switch off the TV.

Get enough sleep

Enough sleep is around seven to eight hours a night, according to the Loughborough Sleep Research Centre. The effects of not getting enough sleep may be feeling run down, low functioning immune system, headaches, moodiness, reduced concentration amongst many others. If you do find that you aren’t getting enough try having  an afternoon power nap for 20 minutes and it will help to revive you.

Give up smoking

If you are one of the one in five people who still smoke, pack it in. “No lifestyle change is as important,” says Parkin. There are many modalities to help to give up smoking. Speak to you GP surgery for more information.

January is grim enough without punishing yourself for the excesses of last year. Slow and steady wins the race, so choose some realistic goals and by next Christmas you’ll be in good shape to over-indulge all over again.

 

Please visit our contact page for location details, opening hours and telephone number. The Health & Vitality Centre is based in Welwyn Garden City and our team look forward to meeting you there!