The start of a new year is the time for making new resolutions. Some of these will be fun and trivial, some will be less so, more substantial. Whatever your new resolutions are, one of them should be a pledge to improve your health.
We live in the age of instant gratification, of fast food, sedentary lifestyles and instant communication. All this has contributed to a general downturn in the health of the nation.
There are probably more of us taking part in so-called ‘athleisure’ activities but too many of us embrace more of a couch potato lifestyle. This can become a problem when we suddenly decide on the first day of a new year that we are going to embark on a new, untried, exercise regimen.
If this is you then we strongly recommend that you first see a physician to have your heart health checked at a London Cardiovascular Clinic before you begin any form of exercise to which you are not accustomed. If trying new forms of exercise does not immediately appeal to you there are other ways in which you can improve your health this year.
Food and Drink
The ill-effects of fat and sugar on health has become well publicised recently with calls from various lobby groups to impose ‘sugar taxes’ particularly on food likely to appeal to children. It is certainly advisable to cut down on sugar as much as possible as well as what we call ‘bad fats’, or saturated fats, that can contribute to raised cholesterol levels which can increase the risk of heart disease.
Excessive sugar and fat intake contributes to weight gain and obesity and, in turn, to any number of life-limiting health issues. So try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats if possible and consider grilling, baking or steaming food rather than frying.
Rather than using lots of salt when cooking, season with spices or peppers instead. Cutting down on highly processed foods will significantly reduce your salt intake.
‘Dry January’, where you abstain from alcohol for the entire month has become popular recently but reducing your alcohol intake all year round is the healthy option. You’ll sleep better, feel better and look better too!
Try to limit the number of sugary soft drinks you consume, including fruit juices.
Drink water instead and save the soft drinks for occasional treats.
Keep your Brain Active
An active mind is just as important to good health as an active body. This doesn’t mean that you have to commit yourself to The Times crossword every day but do try some form of activity which requires brain power. Puzzles, a new creative hobby or simply reading a book will all help to keep your mind ticking over and can even be therapeutic; something which is often much needed in times of stress and worry. The brain, like every muscle in the body needs to be kept active in order to stay healthy.
Too many people appear to conduct their entire lives through social media such as facebook and Instagram which can give the illusion of a wide circle of friends. Rather than socializing from the comfort of your armchair or bedroom why not get out into the world and actually do things? Speaking to people face to face is much healthier and interesting in that you can more accurately determine what they are actually saying as opposed to the virtual reality version. Resolve to get outdoors more, go to the movies, join a new club. Just being with friends and taking part in activities can provide a significant boost to your health without you even noticing.
Making improvements to your health doesn’t have to be expensive. You just have to make a start. Why not see what you could do to improve your health this year.