As January rolls around each year, the phrase ‘New Year, new you’ becomes almost unavoidable. With a New Year comes a blank slate meaning it’s the perfect opportunity for us to undergo a transformation. Whilst this might sound drastic, transforming your lifestyle is easier than you might think. To help you on your journey to a healthier 2017, we’ve come up with our top 10 lifestyle tips to ease you in.
Give up sugary drinks
This is an incredibly simple way to cut artificial sugars and hidden calories out of your diet. Try swapping shop-bought juices and fizzy drinks for fruit infused water, homemade juice or herbal teas for a refreshing, healthy and low-calorie option.
On the subject of drinks, keeping hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your body with minimal effort involved. Drinking around 2l of water a day will help to eliminate fatigue, increase concentration, keep skin healthy and decrease risk of problems with your kidneys and digestive system. Replacing sugary drinks with water will also help to keep teeth healthy and strong. Drinking 8 regular glasses of water a day should ensure you meet this goal easily.
This doesn’t have to be a rigorous exercise routine or anything too strenuous. Try to get up and take a short walk every hour, take the stairs instead of the lift or attend exercise classes such as yoga or Pilates. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can lose weight and feel fitter by taking those extra few minutes to move around.
Sit up straight
When we’re sitting for long periods, it can be difficult to remember the importance of good posture. If you work in an office make sure that your chair is set up correctly; your arm supports should allow your elbows to rest at 90 degrees to your body, the middle of your computer screen should be at eye level and your whole back should rest comfortably on the back of the chair (if it doesn’t, it might be necessary to invest in a lower back support). Wherever you are, good posture will help you to look and feel more confident, make you feel more energised, help to engage and strengthen your core muscles and will prevent back and neck pain.
Get your Omega 3s
Omega 3s are an essential nutrient that most of us miss out on a regular basis. Omega 3s help to increase brain function, boost eye health, keep joints strong and keep the heart healthy. It’s incredibly easy to make these essential fats a part of your diet. Simply work oily fish, salmon, tuna, avocado and nuts and seeds into your diet in order to ensure you get your daily dose. If that’s not enough, there are plenty of Omega 3 supplements available so that you don’t miss this nutrient in your diet.
Eat more fibre
Fibre is another nutrient that we often forget about. Fibrous foods boost the health of our digestive systems, ruling out weight gain, IBS and diabetes. Fibre can also help to keep the heart healthy. Again, it’s simple to work this into your diet; try eating wholegrain bread and pasta as well as plenty of fruit, veg, nuts and seeds.
Keep a food diary
For many of us, dieting is a go to resolution come January. However, we very seldom document and record our progress and this usually leads to diets falling through. Keeping a food diary is an easy way to keep track of calories and nutrients, as well as weight loss progress and can help to keep you motivated to stick to your diet or healthy eating plan.
One of the most common complaints doctors see every year is fatigue and exhaustion. Whilst this may be caused by an underlying condition such as anaemia or hyperthyroidism, it’s very often to do with an irregular sleeping pattern or not enough sleep. Setting a regular bedtime and wake-up routine that ensures you get between 7 and 9 hours sleep per night will help you sleep better for longer and banish fatigue, difficulties concentrating and irritability.
Indulge in mindful moments
Stress and anxiety is yet another common complaint received by doctors. Whilst anxiety disorders are a recognised condition, it is possible to alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety somewhat by taking time to be mindful every day. Taking just 10 minutes to practise mindfulness or meditation every day can help to lift symptoms of stress and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by stressful situations.
Protect yourself from the sun
Protecting your skin is as easy as it is important. Whatever the weather, it’s important to wear some form of SPF protection, even on cloudy days. Whilst our bodies do absorb super nutrient Vitamin D from the sun’s rays, the UVB rays also cause significant damage to skin cells which can lead to blemishes and skin cancers. It’s easy to protect your skin; in cooler months, many moisturisers and face creams have SPF built in, meaning you don’t have to stray too far from your normal skincare routine. For warmer weather, ensure that you regularly apply sun cream and wear protective clothing such as hats and UV protective sunglasses.