To a Healthy 2016 and Beyond
It's that time of year again- the end of the holiday season and the start of a new year, a time when we reassess our lives and consider our resolutions for the coming year. For some it's reevaluating a career, for others it's updating the bucket list, and for many it's the commitment to get healthy again.
Most of us know what it takes to be healthy- good food, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and reduced stress. The challenge is in making the adjustments, sticking to the program, and avoiding the slide back to bad habits.
Keeping it simple makes it is easier to be successful. Modify according to your unique situation and needs, but try to apply the basic principles of getting and staying healthy:
Eat well: a balanced diet includes healthy proteins (lean meats, poultry, fish, legumes), lots of vegetables and fruits (go for variety and color), whole grain carbohydrates in moderate portions, and a switch to healthy fats (olive oil, avocadoes, walnuts and almonds, oily fish). Try to moderate quantities, choose healthy snacks, and avoid calorie-rich nutirition-poor foods (desserts, sodas). And don't forget that other important nutrient, water! Drink lots of it daily, at least 64 ounces, and more if you are exercising or in a hot environment.
Get regular exercise: include aerobic exercise, weight trainining, and stretchig in your fitness routines. Try to exercise at least three times a week for at least 45 minutes each session, but daily is even better. Do somethig even if you can't get to a gym- go for a walk, take the stairs, do jumping jacks at home- whatever it takes to move.
Get regular sleep: our bodies and brains work hard every day and need an opportunity to recover. Establish a regular sleep and wake schedule and get enough sleep (at least 8 hours for most adults and over 9 hours for kids and teens). Avoid caffein in the afternoons, reduce screen time in the evenings (TV, computers, phones), and get into the habit of a quiet and calming bedtiime routine.
Reduce stress: life is stressful and learning to manage stress leads to a happier and healthier life. Read a book, take up yoga, go for a hike, get together with friends, watch a funny movie, listen to music, snuggle your dog...
Just remember- change takes time, and baby steps will get you there. Be patient, be perseverent, and enjoy the fruits of your labor: good health and a longer and happier life.