January is the time for making New Year's resolutions with many people choosing goals related to their health and well-being. However, more often than not by February these are all but forgotten.
We all know our health is paramount but sometimes we try to do too much and set unrealistic goals; “This year I will lose weight, quit smoking, take up yoga, run a marathon, cut out all sugar, caffeine, and alcohol, live like a hermit, etc…”.
To help make 2018 a healthier year we’ve put together some top tips for simple health and wellness goals that you can actually stick to – throughout the whole year.
Wishing a very happy (and healthy) New Year to all our members and partners!
1) Drink more water
Drinking water has plenty of health benefits such as flushing out toxins, preventing fatigue and boosting your immune system, but most of us don’t get enough of it during the average day. This is a simple health issue to fix and one which can have a positive impact on your other health goals, including ensuring you have more energy to exercise.
Start out small by switching that morning coffee or lunchtime soft drink for water instead. Get in the habit of pouring yourself some water when you arrive at the office; that way the glass on your desk will act as a visual reminder to drink more throughout the day.
If you travel a lot make sure you carry a refillable water bottle with you, or if you want a high tech solution you can even purchase water bottles with built-in alarms that remind you to drink!
In short, there is no excuse not to make 2018 the year you drink more water.
2) Aim for 7-8 hours sleep a night
Getting enough sleep is also very important for your overall health and well-being as it can help to reduce stress levels and minimize your risk of health problems such as high blood pressure. Despite this many people do not get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
While we are all permitted a late night every now and then, there are many simple tricks you can try to get more and better quality sleep. These include allowing yourself time to wind down at the end of the day and avoiding caffeine at night. You should also stick to a regular sleep routine, working out what time you need to get up every day and working backward to make sure you get the recommended hours.
3) Get moving
Evidence suggests approximately 30 minutes of exercise every day can help to reduce your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and many other health problems. So it’s no surprise that one of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to ‘get fit’. In reality, however, we know it can sometimes be difficult to make the most of that new gym membership.
First, it’s important to find an activity that you enjoy. If you hate lifting weights then you’re unlikely to do it regularly. Whether it be taking up squash with a friend, trying that new Zumba class or simply cycling in the park with family at the weekends, there is something out there for everyone.
Secondly, don’t forget there are plenty of other ways to add movement to your day even if you don’t have time for exercise. Opt for the stairs instead of the lift, take a short walk on your lunch break or host a meeting standing up.
4) Focus on one healthy food each week
Eating healthier is another top New Year’s resolution for many people. However once again trying to do too much can often mean we renege on our goals and give up entirely. If you are struggling to overhaul your diet, instead try focusing on one new healthy food each week. You’ll soon find out what you like and what you don’t, and find new ways to enjoy a healthier diet.
You could start by choosing one healthy food swap each week, such as ditching the potatoes for sweet potatoes or opting for cauliflower instead of rice. Alternatively, you can try adding one new healthy food to your diet every week and experiment with different ways of preparing and cooking it.
If you have children you could make this a family activity with foods that follow the alphabet; week one might be all about Apples, week two Broccoli, and week three Coconuts and coconut oil. By having a new, small goal to focus on each week, it will be easier to stick to the healthy regime.
5) Get a health checkup
One way to kick start a healthy year is to arrange a health check-up. This can help you identify any health issues or risk factors so you can take appropriate action in the year ahead. Many good international health insurance plans will include some form of health and wellness assessment, such as a cardiovascular examination, cholesterol tests or cancer screening, so it’s worth checking what you’re covered for.
January is also a good time to make a note of any regular health checks you need to schedule for the year ahead, such as that pre-emptive flu vaccination or cervical/ prostate screening for men and women in certain age groups. This also includes those regular health checks you can do yourself at home such as a monthly breast exam. Make a note in your diary or online calendar so you remember to arrange them when the time comes.
We hope these simple tips will make it easier for you to stay healthy in the year ahead!