Whether you have decided on that same goal to be your resolution or not, it is a good time to become more aware of your body and your health. We were only given one body, and taking care of it will ensure we lead longer and happier lives. Here is a list of the top 10 important resolutions or changes everyone should consider.
1. Exercise regularly
The general population makes this resolution every year, go to the gym, lose weight and work out more frequently. However, once February rolls around, the gym is half empty. I am guilty of this as well, I start out January full force working out at least 3 times a week consistently, but then life happens, and I slack on my workout routine until it becomes almost nonexistent. I’m sure many can relate to this. However, this past month I have been determined to exercise and keep it going, there has to be a better way right? There is!
Studies show that to keep healthy, we need at least 30 minutes 3 times a week of physical activity. Physical activity doesn’t mean you have to slave at the gym running on the treadmill and lifting weights. No, physical activity can be enjoyable! A few things I have been doing are playing Wii fit, swimming at my local gym, walking my dog and even bike riding. All these activities get my heart rate up, but I enjoy doing them. Exercise doesn’t have to be unbearable. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and you will be staying healthy, getting fit and having fun at the same time!
2. Limit your daily sugar intake
Experts are saying that it is important to limit your daily sugar intake to 30-50 grams a day in order to maintain a healthy diet. This is very tough, if you are like most of the world, you probably enjoy cupcakes and cookies here and there, and if you’re like me, you probably crave them daily. However, too much sugar intake is said to lead to serious health problems such as weight gain, metabolism problems, and even cancer. Now when limiting sugar intake, experts are referring not to natural sugars, but to white artificial sugars.
When reading labels, this can often be confusing as most food just list sugar. Some tips you can use is to avoid foods with brown sugar, white sugar, and high fructose corn syrup. This is a hard habit to break but is a big part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. When you look at the long term effects too much sugar can have on your body, you will realize that maybe those cookies and cupcakes might be easier to kick than you thought.
3. Get enough sleep
Life is hectic, we can all relate. You have work, a family, kids and a million things to do in the day, but just not enough time. This is why millions of Americans like you and me are not getting enough sleep each night, and the effect it has on our health is serious. Not many people realize that skipping out on a good night’s rest can lead to such health problems as weight gain, acne, moodiness, stress, insomnia, weakened the immune system and much more. When you regularly get a full nights rest, you will notice your overall mood becoming lifted, you have more energy, and your metabolism is regulated which will in return help you achieve your weight loss goals.
Rearrange your schedule so that you can pencil in a good 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Make sure your room is pitch dark, have comfy pillows, make sure your room isn’t too hot, and even turn your alarm clock around so the time is not facing you. This will ensure you are not waking up frequently to check the time, as most people often do. These are a couple tricks that will help you get a great night’s sleep, and another step closer to leading a healthy life.
4. Create and maintain meaningful relationships
Hopefully, you are lucky enough to be surrounded by great friends, and a supportive family. If you are, great! Just make sure you take the time to maintain those wonderful relationships and let those in your life know how much you appreciate and love them. If you are surrounded by negative people in your life, now is the time to start fresh, and weed out those who are not a good support system to you. Healthy relationships are fun and make you feel good about yourself. They are always there for you and support you in all you do.
This is crucial that we are surrounded by people who love us and bring us up. Unfortunately, so many of us are surrounded by negative, jealous people who tend to bring us down without us even realizing it. This is the year to realize who is healthy in your life and who is not. Weed out those bad people, and focus on making new friends who are positive and have similar interest as you. You are probably wondering what this has to do with leading a healthy life, well it has a lot to do with it, more than most people even realize.
Healthy, positive relationships are essential to our emotional health. Emotional health is essential to physical health; it is all connected and so important in order to be healthy. You must have a healthy mind in order to have a healthy body. Our lives are constantly changing, and obstacles will always arise, pushing through these hard times is easier for us to do if we have a healthy support system that we can trust and know they are there for us no matter what we are going through. Good friends are hard to find, and now you know how lucky you are to have those great people surrounding you!
5. Take time to relax
This is an easy one right? Wrong. This seems like an easy thing to add into your life in order to become healthier, but with how busy we as Americans are, the relaxation time is the last thing on our minds during the day. This is another piece of the puzzle that help us maintain healthy lives. We all need time during the day whether its 15 minutes or 2 hours to just sit back, close our eyes, clear our minds and relax. Without relaxing, we are constantly building stress without even realizing it. I never realized how much stress impacts our physical state until this past month. I was going through some rough times and was very stressed without even realizing it.
I began to not sleep, I got acne, became irritable, and emotional among other things. I went to see a doctor and she quickly connected my ailments to the stressful situation that was currently taking place in my life. It was then that I realized the importance of taking the time to de-stress and relax. After much research, I found that stress is directly related to weight gain, acne, insomnia, high blood pressure, and can even affect a woman’s reproductive system.
It’s easier than you think to find time to de-stress and relax. Anytime you are by yourself for even just 15 minutes, you can close your eyes, clear your mind and relax. If this is hard for you, a daily journal has been proven to work wonders in relieving stress. Take a few minutes out of your day to write in your journal, this will help you release the stress and worry from your mind. Whatever way you decide, just make sure that you add relaxation to your list of ways to lead a healthier life, as you can see, it is so important.
6. Eat more fruits and vegetables
Your mother was right when she forced you to eat spinach when you were little. Fruits and vegetables are very important for us to have on a daily basis. Eating the right amount can lower your risk of diseases, help you maintain a healthy weight, and can build up your immune system among other things. It is recommended that you eat at least 8-13 servings of fruit and vegetables a day. It is also important that you consume a wide variety of colors to ensure you are getting the right amount of chemicals found in fruits and vegetables to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
7. Be happy, be thankful
Once again, this promotes emotional health which is so important in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Often as humans, we tend to focus on the negative things in life instead of remembering the positive. Positive thinking will help you in all aspects of your life; you will have more energy, less stress, have more fun, and have more success. People are naturally drawn to a happy person, and living a positive lifestyle will guarantee you will find more success than someone who is living with constant negativity.
Also, thinking positive and being happy will eliminate stress which we discussed in step number 5. Also, be thankful. Most would never have thought that focusing on being thankful would have so many positive effects! Taking time to thank the people you love, and show gratitude for the things you have will make you feel happier and more content. And let’s be honest, don’t we all just want to be happy?
8. Quit drinking/smoking
This should be fairly obvious, but in the case for some, it is not, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is NOT healthy, in fact, it is extremely unhealthy. Frequent smoking can lead to various types of cancer, heart disease and other physical problems such as yellow teeth, yellow nails, wrinkles and more. For women, smoking can lessen your chance of conceiving, it’s just not worth it. As for alcohol, consuming too much can be detrimental to your health.
The short term effects can be blurred vision, loss of judgment, and can lead you to make bad decisions while intoxicated. The long term effects of alcohol can be, loss of brain cells, liver failure, stomach ulcers, addiction, epilepsy, nerve damage, and other serious problems in your life. The bottom line is, if you are really serious about living a healthy and happier life, you must cut out smoking and limit you’re drinking and how much you drink.
9. Drink more water
Our bodies need water in order to stay hydrated and healthy. Water is needed in order to regulate your body temperature and to provide a way for nutrients to travel to your organs. Water transports oxygen to your cells, removes waste, and protects your organs. As you can see, water is an extremely important function in our bodies and is needed on a daily basis in order to keep healthy. It is recommended that 8-10 glasses of water is drunk each day.
Another benefit of drinking water, it can help with weight loss. Since water has no calories, it can serve as an appetite suppressant and helps the body metabolize stored fat. So make sure you keep drinking lots of water, and if you’re not already doing so, make an effort to down that 8-10 glasses a day, your body will thank you for it!
10. Get regular health checkups
Last but certainly not least, make sure you are seeing a doctor regularly for checkups. So many people ignore little signs of illness and ailment, and things that could have been detected and solved early on, are left untreated and can become terminal. Make sure you schedule those recommended checkups with your physician and see a doctor if something is wrong.
There are so many steps you can take to start on your new journey to leading a healthier and longer life. Emotional and physical health is so important to maintain, and these are just a few steps out of the hundreds that can be taken. Make sure to consult with your physician for ways you can maintain your health, they know what will work best for you specifically. Also, if you need help with nutrition and exercise, there are thousands of resources online and even at your local library to help you get started. Good luck on your newest and most important journey yet, the journey to a long and healthy life!
About The Auther:
Alice Clover has been an author & nutritionist for over five years, with a penchant for topics that pique her passion: alternative medicine, healthy living, and her all-time favorite: food! She loves gourmet dining, gourmet cooking, comfort foods, sushi, seafood and dinner parties where she is both a guest and cook.