It’s a new year and many people talk about New Year’s Resolutions. It is common for resolutions to be personal health improvements such as losing weight, exercising, or improving eating habits. These goals are set starting January 1st and by the end of January, you will have accomplished 31 days of excellence. Unfortunately, unless you have a will of iron, you will have missed a day or two. Or is that a week or two? You may have decided in the middle of the month just to forget it.
Your health doesn’t need to revolve around a change in the year. So what if you don’t change your life in a month? That doesn’t mean you need to give up. Especially regarding your health. It is a slow steady race rather than a quick sprint.
You should take your health seriously no matter the time of the year.
Start slow if you need to and with healthy choices you should feel better and more energized to continue or to increase your goals. If you have some rough days, don’t worry about it. Just start again or take small healthy steps.
Here are some things you can do to improve your overall health:
- Choose healthy eating habits. Eat more fruits and vegetables, they are full of vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. Stay away from processed foods. Watch your meal portion size. Most restaurant meals are multiple serving sizes. Eat half now and save the other half for the next day. Preparing your meals can help with both portion size and watching what goes into your foods.
- Drink more water. Water helps flush waste and toxins from your system. If you are dehydrated it can cause headaches, tiredness and drain your energy. Drink more water today then you did yesterday and try to drink more everyday.
- Be active and exercise. Take the stairs when you can. Walking 35 minutes a day has been linked with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and lowers the severity of a stroke. A brisk walk brings even more benefits and lowers the risk for all-cause mortality.
- Lower sugar consumption. If you cut soda and sweetened drinks out of your diet it reduces calorie intake and sugar consumption. When you have a high intake of sugary drinks it increases the risk of diabetes, chronic kidney disease, visceral fat (the kind that wraps around organs) and even the risk of death.
- Bask in the Sun. Get outdoors and enjoy the daylight. Natural daylight can reduce the risk of depression and improves eye health. Even opening your curtains and being near the windows can help a little. Frequent time outdoors can reduce stress levels, respiratory problems, reduce the risk of breast cancer, improve mental health and lower the risk of depression.
- Stop smoking. When you quit smoking, you increase your lung function and reduce your heart attack risks. It also allows you to get a better night’s sleep and have healthier-looking skin. A great benefit is that It also can add years to your life.
- Manage your stress. Don’t over-commit yourself. Get a massage. They not only help you relax but studies have been linked with improved arthritis symptoms and can aid in sleeping.
Just remember that any positive changes, as in the examples above, are still small healthy steps moving you forward. Don’t give up if it didn’t work out in January. It is a continuous process for your better health and will be worth it. Make it a year of small healthy steps!