It’s that time of year again when we try and think of ways we can achieve more and do better in the months ahead. Making resolutions is a tradition, but often, we aim for unrealistic goals or lose sight of targets. It’s always beneficial to work towards something, and perhaps the best thing you can do in January is make a vow to put your health first. A lot of people dismiss resolutions, but there are certain changes that can have a really positive impact. If your main aim is to be healthier and happier in 2018, here are some health resolutions that will actually make a difference.
If you’re one of those people who roll their eyes when you see photos of new gym gear or people lifting weights or squatting on Instagram as soon as January hits, you’re not alone. The good news is that you don’t have to become a gym bunny overnight to enjoy the rewards of regular exercise. Nor do you have to invest in trendy outfits or showcase the contents of your workout on social media. Exercise takes many different forms, and it offers a multitude of benefits. People who exercise frequently are less likely to suffer from health issues such as osteoporosis, strokes, heart disease and type 2 diabetes and working out can also lower your blood pressure and control your body weight. Exercise also has incredible mental health benefits, and it is proven to reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re on the move all the time, you may also have a lower risk of depression.
If you’re new to exercise, even the idea of walking into a gym can appear daunting. If you want to get fit and you like the idea of being able to complete an intensive workout at the gym, it’s worth remembering that everyone has to start somewhere. As a beginner, it’s hugely beneficial to book an induction or organize a few sessions with a personal trainer. This will enable you to learn how to use the machines, and you can also follow a regime that suits your level of fitness.
If the gym doesn’t take your fancy, there are myriad other ways you can get fit. Adopt a more active lifestyle by walking or cycling to work and taking the stairs. Join a local hockey, soccer or netball team or take classes in dancing, trampolining or yoga. Take care if you’re starting an exercise program with an underlying health issue or an injury. It’s wise to ask your doctor for advice. You can often use tailored workouts or equipment such as compression socks to get more out of your exercise sessions and reduce the risk of further injury. Ideally, you should aim to do around 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, jogging, dancing or swimming, per week.
Focusing on Mental Health
If somebody asked you if you were healthy, what would you say? Most of us think about our diet, our weight and whether we’ve got any ailments that affect our bodies when the subject of health crops up. It’s good to focus on physical health, but don’t underestimate the importance of mental health. Being healthy isn’t just about being fit or having an immune system capable of battling coughs and colds. It’s also about being happy and content and being able to manage the demands of daily life. Mental health is a subject that’s firmly on the radar, but many of us are still afraid to talk about it openly.
You don’t have to suffer from a psychological disorder like anxiety or depression to make mental health a priority. This is a subject that affects and involves all of us. Essentially, we all want to wake up in the morning looking forward to the day ahead and feeling confident and happy. Learn to put yourself first sometimes, understand stress triggers and take steps to manage your emotions if you are going through a hard time. There’s no shame in asking for help or taking time out. Try and concentrate on forming and maintaining relationships with people who build you up and support you and cut out negative influences. Spend time doing things you enjoy. Having a hobby can really boost your mental health, as can doing regular exercise. When you work out, your body releases endorphins, or happy hormones, and the levels of serotonin, a chemical that regulates your mood, increase.
If you do struggle with conditions like anxiety, make 2018 the year you do something about it. There are lots of people and organizations out there that can help. Confide in the people closest to you and don’t be afraid to open up.
Hit Your 5-A-Day with Fruit and Vegetables
Eating more fruit and vegetables is probably one of the most common resolutions out there. The trouble with making vows to be healthier is that we tend to start with enthusiasm and vigor, only to find that our motivation wanes shortly after. The buzz around these foods is related to their nutrient content. If you eat an array of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, you’ll boost your fiber intake, as well as taking essential vitamins and minerals on board.
Aim for different types of fruit and vegetables so that you get a range of different nutrients and if you get bored easily, search online for recipe ideas. You don’t have to stick to an apple a day or a bowl of leaves with every meal. You can also include sauces, soups and smoothies in your daily count. Just make sure that you make smoothies at home rather than buying them so that you have control over the sugar content.
If you’re still trying to think of worthwhile resolutions, why not focus on your health and wellbeing in 2018? Making simple changes that you can actually stick to could make all the difference in the months ahead. Be more active, find types of exercise you enjoy and combine workout sessions with a healthy diet. Pay attention to your mental health, as well as your physical health and don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel or ask for help if you are struggling.