At this time of year, it is common to want to get healthier and lose weight – these are our most common New Year’s resolutions each year. Unfortunately, many of us fail to follow through with our New Year resolutions because our expectations are too high, making it feel impossible to accomplish our goals.
Trying to keep up with eating a healthy diet, getting enough exercise and finding time for yourself, whilst working 9 to 5 can seem hopeless. But learning to live a healthier lifestyle is easy when you learn to take it one step at a time. Here are five ways you can help yourself lead a healthy lifestyle this year, without giving up at the first hurdle…
Get outdoors / walk regularly
Not only does getting outdoors have a wide number of benefits for the body, including a reduced risk of several forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis and osteoporosis, it is also good for your mental health.
According to research conducted by Mind, a mental health charity, 90% of people who undertook “eco-exercise” – such as gardening, walking outdoors, conservation work, running or cycling – reported improvements in wellbeing, stress-levels and physical health. With 2019 being a year of self-care and looking after your body, what better excuse is there to get outdoors?
Eat your five-a-day
It is fairly obvious that in order to be healthy, you must take care of your insides, which means eating well. Studies show that a ‘primal’ diet, made up of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as meat, fish and eggs, is best for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of illness.
Therefore, ensure you are making a conscious effort to eat your five-a-day each day, which includes portions of vegetables with your meals, a healthy fruit snack whilst sitting at your desk, or even through drinks, such as fruit juice like apple or orange – also helping to keep you hydrated too.
Get a good night’s sleep
How many times have you woken up tired due to staying up late scrolling through Instagram or finishing off work? Not getting a good night’s sleep can be highly detrimental to your health if it happens regularly, increasing the risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy. As a result. you should aim to get around eight hours sleep in order to function properly and be alert – going to bed between 10 and 10.30pm is advised.
Turning off your TV, computer or phone off early in the evening is often advantageous, as it allows you to be more productive with your time, such as spend quality time with your friends and family. Not to mention it gives you a chance to wind down much earlier, which ensures you get to sleep quickly and have a good night’s sleep.
You may know that water makes up two thirds of the body and helps your body to function properly. As a result, it is vital to ensure you are drinking enough throughout the day to maintain optimum levels of energy and alertness.
In the UK, the NHS recommends that all adults should drink around 1.2 litres of fluid per day – around six to eight glasses – to prevent you from getting dehydrated. However, in hotter climates, the body will need much more than this. As a general rule of thumb, and a good indicator of whether you’re drinking enough, you should aim keep your urine a pale-yellow colour throughout the day.
Break bad habits
Let’s be honest, each and every one of us has bad habits. Whether it be not tidying up after ourselves, eating one too many takeaways, or smoking, we all have something we want to stop, or cut down at the very least. This year, instead of drastically vowing to cut out smoking and takeaways from the beginning, which can be hard when you are stuck in your ways, consider setting yourself mini goals throughout the year.
For example, instead of getting takeaways, consider prepping meals and cooking them in bulk, which makes sure you always have food in the fridge or freezer, and are never tempted to pay someone else to cook for you for convenience. To cut down on smoking, consider making the switch to electronic cigarettes, which are said to significantly help people to quit smoking – a Juul starter kit is a good place to start. You can purchase e-cigarette liquid containing nicotine, which gives the same effect as smoking a cigarette, which you can gradually reduce over time.