Health-related New Year’s resolutions to try

PHOTO: supplied New Year’s resolutions often fall flat early in January because they are usually overwhelming or unattainable.
PHOTO: supplied New Year’s resolutions often fall flat early in January because they are usually overwhelming or unattainable.

NEW Year’s resolutions often fall flat early in January because they are usually overwhelming or unattainable, but when approached in small steps, they actually have the power to change your life immensely.

You may want to consider some of these commonly mentioned resolutions, but in the context of a measured approach.

• Get more exercise

This is easier said than done. One of the biggest mistakes is setting out on an overly aggressive workout regimen that involves a daunting four to five day-a-week regimen. One of the most effective ways to meet this resolution is to simply start moving more, walking or biking instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the lift and taking baby steps instead of giant steps.

Try using five-minute yoga workouts. The short, focused workouts will help you to build confidence and remove any anxiety or fears about reaching lofty goals.

• Get more sleep

Sleep is integral for optimal functioning of your mind and body. It is critical not only for problem-solving and maintaining alertness, but also for preventing weight gain, depression and anxiety. It also is essential for keeping your heart, muscles and joints in tip top shape.

As a general rule, consider taking a warm shower or bath before bed on a routine basis. Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime, and resist the urge to sleep with your phone next to your bed. If you can’t fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes after getting into bed, don’t toss and turn. Move to the couch or another area and read for a bit. This will help to make you sleepy and more apt to fall asleep. Sleep is something you can’t force. It needs to happen in a relaxed and inviting environment.

• Reconnect with nature

Try leaving your smartphone or Tablet at home and taking a walk in a park or on a hiking trail in the veld. Spending time reconnecting with people and places and taking regular breaks from smartphones and other portable electronic devices may help reduce anxiety. Periodic weekends apart from your phone are a healthy way to reconnect not only with yourself, but also with your friends and family.

• Practice meditation

Meditation provides the ideal way to reconnect with yourself by virtue of learning how to breathe and relax. Not only may it make you feel more secure, confident and relaxed, but regular meditation may also lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health.

You don’t need to attend a class or fear getting started. Meditation apps are widely available now. Headspace and Calm both provide a nurturing and open environment which guide the user through the process of learning how to meditate.

• Reduce your caloric intake

Reducing your daily food intake can make you feel better and actually provide more energy throughout your day. Reducing the portions you eat by one quarter can lead to greater lean muscle mass by following a diet rich in nuts, seeds, olive oil, fish and whole grains. Reducing your intake of highly processed foods, instead choosing fish, lean cuts of turkey and chicken may help to stabilise weight in conjunction with aerobic and resistance training. Reduction in calories may also help you to live longer, as ongoing research indicates, but don’t try to reduce your calories in one fell swoop - do it slowly over a six-month period to allow your body to learn how to adjust to fewer calories. - Supplied.

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