Tips for a healthier 2017

2017-01-18 06:01
If you can’t get to a gym, try to walk every day - but briskly.

If you can’t get to a gym, try to walk every day - but briskly.

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A NEW year is a time for new beginnings, a fresh slate, a new start. Follow these tips for a healthier 2017 from Bonitas Medical Fund and get your year off to a great start.

Be kind to yourself

“There are no ‘New Year resolution police’, so be kind to yourself,” says the fund. “Resolutions are not about judgment or criticism from others, but about feeling better for your own sake. Although resolutions might differ, surveys over the years confirm that the top five remain around health, weight loss and fitness – whether it’s to make moves on that muffin top and get fitter, to stop smoking and drink less – the underlying theme is about improving our lifestyles.”

Don’t make a resolution unless it is achievable

No, you can’t lose five kilogrammes by the weekend or run a half marathon in two weeks’ time. Assess yourself, see what you are realistically capable of and take into account what could stop you from achieving that goal. When you have your goals, write them down and put it somewhere where you can see it daily. Break your goals into bite-sized chunks, check your progress and if you are on track great, if not, re-evaluate and adjust to keep you motivated.

Get active

South Africa is ranked one of the world’s top 20 overweight countries, with half of men and almost two-third of females physically inactive. Now is the time to change that and you will find that exercise also helps strengthen your mind and improve your mood - it teaches you to persevere when you are at your most tired.

It keeps us energised and mentally focused and improves work productivity … and of course exercise releases endorphins and dopamine the “happy” chemicals in your body.

Getting fit does not have to be a one-hour workout every day on cardio machines or lifting weights. There are so many ways to keep fit including swimming, brisk walking, mountain biking and yoga or pilates. Mix it up so you don’t get bored.

Goals achieved equal rewards

Sticking to your programme - or resolution, or goal - will allow you to track your progress and reward yourself. No, we don’t mean a double-decker hamburger, but rather a reward that doesn’t implode your resolutions. There is no greater motivation than success.

A positive attitude helps

Remember, no one is perfect. We all have bad days and in the case of dieting, “cheat” days, but don’t let that hamper your motivation. Congratulate yourself for completing the goal you set for the day.

Yes, you do have the time

If you can’t get to a gym, try to walk every day - but briskly. Use the stairs rather than the lift, spend 10 minutes in the morning preparing healthy snacks for the day, and make looking after yourself as important as those board meetings.

Don’t forget the children

If you have children, remember they can have a happier and healthier 2017 too. Go for walks together, challenge each other’s achievements and make eating healthily a family habit.

Focus on what you are gaining not losing

Don’t mourn being a couch potato or indulging your sweet tooth – think about the advantages of eating properly and exercising, and stick it out for a couple of months so you can feel the difference.

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