A new year is a time for making resolutions, some of which will be light-hearted and fun and some of which will be more serious, like the desire to make improvements to health or lifestyle.
To this end it has become fashionable to embark on the so-called ‘dry January’ where you abstain from alcohol for a month. A much better idea though, is surely to look at more permanent and effective ways to improve your health.
Before you decide to embark on any sort of fitness regime or change of diet it is always wise to get your heart checked over first. This is especially important if you are middle-aged or if you have perhaps followed the same kind of lifestyle for years without variation.
Professional cardiology experts such as those at the London Cardiovascular Clinic can help you take advantage of cutting-edge cardiovascular screening methods to ascertain the health of your heart and see just what damage may have been caused by any previous bad habits, but there is much you can do to ensure you are healthier this year than in the years that have passed.
Make small changes to your diet
Even if your diet has previously been unhealthy, for instance if you have been reliant on too many takeaways instead of home-cooked meals, there is no need to make drastic unattainable changes. Small changes can bring great results as long as you stick to them.
- Start by reducing your intake of sugar. Reduce the amount of fizzy drinks you have and cut down on sweets, cakes and biscuits. Watch out for added sugar in the food that you buy, particularly if it is advertised as ‘low-fat’.
- Reduce your fat intake. When cooking your own food try grilling, steaming, baking or poaching instead of frying.
- Cut down on salt to protect your blood pressure. Try seasoning food with spices instead of salt.
- Reduce your alcohol intake. Do this permanently, not just for January to see permanent improvements in your general wellbeing, your appearance and your sleep. Drinking more water helps with digestion.
- Try to eat more fruit and vegetables and less meat, especially red meat. Have a meat-free day once a week.
Get More Sleep
Many people are more sleep-deprived than you might imagine and a lack of sleep has been proven to be behind any number of illnesses and accidents. If your mattress is more than eight years old consider a new one for optimum comfort.
Try to develop a proper routine around bed-time which involves going to bed at the same time every night and switching off all electronic devices.
Keep Your Brain Active
Even if your work is challenging there is no excuse to completely switch off when you get home. You may find that reading a book or doing a crossword is perfect for unwinding gradually and it keeps the brain ticking over nicely. By doing this you will help to stave off degeneration of the brain for as long as possible.
Numerous studies have shown that those who lead sedentary lifestyles are prone to any number of health problems, from obesity to type 2 diabetes to dementia-type illnesses. Avoiding these issues need not be difficult or complicated however and you don’t need to take out an expensive gym membership either. The simple act of getting outdoors into the fresh air works wonders for the general health and wellbeing. Try to get out for a walk every day if you can; doing this with friends has the added bonus of improving your mental health too.
Improving your health in 2017 needn’t involve drastic steps or changes. Start small but stick to whatever changes you make and you will soon start to see the difference.