Healthy & Happy New Year To You All
If you made a new year’s resolution, the chances are you’ve already broken it. You may have told yourself already there’s always next year. But don’t give up so easily. 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.
“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. Drinking alcohol in excess may affect the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures.
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 new 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 also eat mindlessly whilst watching the box. As a culture we tend to generally sit too much, especially if you have a desk job so it’s a good excuse to switch off the TV and do something else instead.
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 cause you to be functioning on less than 100% in concentration and energy levels and can also be dangerous if driving or operating heavy machinery. If you frequently feel tired by the early evening try and have a lunch time power nap, it will help to revive you.
Give up smoking
Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your heart health, and the good news is that the risk to your heart health decreases significantly soon after you stop. By quitting you’ll be improving your own health by dramatically reducing your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and a variety of cancers. You’ll feel better, and have more money to spend on other things that you enjoy. If you are one of the one in five people who still smoke, pack it in, there is no lifestyle change as important.
January is difficult enough without punishing yourself for the excesses of last year. Slow and steady wins the race and choose some realistic goals.
For years now, we have worked with people to help them attain their chiropractic wellness goals. But the truth is that you cannot separate your daily activities and the accompanying stress from your life. Often you need to make lifestyle changes that impact your “healthy you” choices.
To set a goal that makes sense, we say that it needs to be SMART.
Specific: often a small step (i.e.: bending at the knees instead of at the waist — helps to improve posture)
Measurable: how can you tell when you’ve done it?
Attainable: it has to be something that you have the ability to do.
Realistic: you can do it in the time frame and way that you’ve allowed.
Timely: it is set for a limited time period.
Simple changes to your daily routines such as opting for the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing to drink more water and maintaining spinal health are all steps in the right direction.
Remember; stick with one goal at a time. Master it, continue it and move on to the next. It’s best to start with the one that’s easiest so that you can be successful. And most importantly look after your body, you only have one chance so keep it fit and healthy.
Wishing you a happy and healthy, goal-filled New Year.