Each year, millions of Americans make some kind of resolution to improve their health, whether it’s losing weight, or getting a check up or exercising more. Here are the top 10 tips for those who consistently fail to meet those resolution goals, year in and year out.
Walking is a great form of exercise. Not only does it burn calories, but it helps build muscle as well. It’s also low impact and nearly everyone can do it. Someone looking to improve their health in the New Year doesn’t have to walk much; only 30 minutes a day at a brisk pace will dramatically improve cardiovascular health and help maintain a healthy weight. Need some extra incentive? Wear a pedometer. Research indicates that wearing a pedometer during the day can help people walk an extra mile over those who don’t.
Vitamins are great for those who have holes in their diets, but people should use them sparingly. The market is awash in thousands of different vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements and most people don’t really need them. Of course those who are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals or women who are trying to get pregnant would certainly benefit from supplements, but in general a multivitamin is all most people would need.
3. Drink More Water
The human body is mostly water and water serves a whole host of purposes in the body. Water does everything from plumping up tissues (less wrinkles, ladies!) to flushing wastes from the body. Water is absolutely essential to human life. However, most people drink things like sodas or energy drinks during the course of their hectic day, which can have a dehydrating affect on the body. Water also contributes to good health because cells with an adequate amount of water are harder for cold and flu germs to infect. Make it a healthy habit in the New Year to drink more of that H2O!
4. Cut Back On Sweets
Last year, nearly 2 million people were diagnosed with diabetes. Eating too much sugar or carbohydrates that turn into sugar in the body can lead to a condition called insulin resistance after the body is repeatedly flooded with insulin in response to the spike in blood sugar. Over time, insulin resistance can turn into type 2 diabetes. Cutting back on sweets and increasing fiber can help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes.
5. Ditch The Caffeine
While a little coffee each morning is fine, overloading on coffee, sodas and energy drinks can lead to a whole host of problems, among them dehydration, stomach ailments, sleeping problems and weight gain in the case of over-sugary sodas and energy drinks. Opt instead for water or herbal tea. They don’t cause dehydration or insomnia, and some, such as chamomile tea, are soothing and aid in sleep. That should help with New Year’s health tip # 9.
Massage is a great way to relieve pain and reduce stress, and with more and more Americans spending much of their lives hunched over a computer working and on social media sites, it’s no wonder why massage is becoming more and more popular, as well as being more affordable. There are a number of different techniques, some designed for relaxation and some for more intensive healing, and a qualified massage therapist can help determine which is best for their client.
7. Weight Training
This goes for everyone, but is primarily directed at the ladies. Many women still believe that weight training is just for the men and they will get “bulky” if they lift weights, but this isn’t the case at all. Ladies need to weight train as well, for a couple of reasons. The first is that weight training revs up metabolism, which means that if a lady has a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, she shouldn’t be skipping the free weights. Second, weight training helps increase bone density, something every lady needs to be concerned with as she gets older. Osteoporosis (brittle bones) becomes a problem after menopause which could lead to debilitating fractures, so don’t skip the weights.
8. Eat More Fish
Research has shown how beneficial fish can be to the human diet. Aside from being a great source of protein, the oils found in the fish are the good kind, shown to do a whole host of good things from improving mood to being heart healthy. Experts recommend two 3-to-4 ounce servings of fish per week. Choose fish carefully however, some fish do come with higher levels of mercury. A good fish monger can give you recommendations on which fish are best.
Americans are notoriously sleep deprived. Most experts recommend getting 7-to-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep per night, but many are lucky to get 4-to-5 hours. During sleep is when the body heals itself and in the case of kids, this is also when most growth occurs. So switch off the TV before the late, late show and catch some extra Z’s. It will be worth it.
10. Quit Smoking
This one is a no-brainer. It is well documented how bad smoking is for the human body and one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to kick the habit, which is usually much easier said than done. But the fact is that quitting dramatically reduces the risk of lung cancer as soon as someone quits. Of course all of the damage can never be completely undone, but aside from the benefits of food tasting better and not smelling like an ashtray, lungs will recover to a degree remarkably quickly.
These are just some of the good things that people can do for themselves in the coming year to feel better, look better and live better.