After a holiday season of giving, the New Year is a good time to consider giving yourself a gift in the form of better health!
Here are five ways you can become healthier this year!
- Even though the snow is falling, and we’re in the heart of winter, there are still moderately warm days where the importance of walking comes into play. Brisk walking can be just as challenging (and beneficial) as going for a jog. It can be used as social time with your friends, or even alone time for reflection which increases your mental well-being. Not only does walking burn body fat, it may help to prevent type 2 diabetes, lowers blood pressure and slows aging. 10,000 steps a day or 30 minutes of fast-paced walking daily is recommended for mind and body health.
- Make some room for fitness at home by creating an exercise area. You may be able to find the space needed by re-arranging furniture in an existing space. Ideally, a space large enough to roll out a yoga mat and have visibility of a TV or computer screen for exercise videos. You may be able to make room in a cabinet or basket to keep handy exercise aids such as non-slip footwear, stretch banks, weights and towels out of sight. A full length mirror can be helpful to gauge your position and balance when stretching.
- Water, water and more water. The human body is more than 60 per cent liquid. Therefore, drinking lots of H2O maintains the body’s ability to transport nutrients, digest food and regulate your overall temperature. The consumption recommendation sits at 9 to 16 full cups of water for adults, although this may vary depending on age, activity level and diet. Challenge yourself: drink one full glass of water as soon as you wake up, and 30 minutes before every meal.
- If you normally sit for long periods of time for work or other activities, consider using an exercise ball in lieu of a chair. This has been recommended for some as a way to increase core strength, and stability which will positively impact your (overall) health and fitness. Sitting in a chair for long periods of time will ultimately result in slouching, which places real strain on the ligaments of our lower back. It also contributes to low blood flow, and our muscles become tired. The exercise ball is going to help the alignment of your spine because your body is forced to balance itself. Challenge yourself: try using an exercise ball at work for two weeks, and see if you can feel the difference.
- Laughter is not only a great way to lift your spirits and improve mental health, but may truly be the best medicine out there. Research has shown that it can boost blood flow by over 20 per cent, reducing the risk of heart disease and help to fight infections by strengthening the immune system.
Whether it’s by walking, running, stretching, or even climbing, make sure to make 2016 an active year.
As with any change in activity, discuss your intentions with a physician so he or she is aware.