It’s the morning after the year before, and if you have woken up this January with a bit of a health hangover from all the bad things you did in 2015, now is the time to do something about it.
Here are our top five easy-ish to keep health resolutions that could make a big difference to your wellbeing in 2016.
- Have a health check. We MOT our cars every year, so why not our bodies? It really is worth making sure everything is in good working order as even if you feel well, you don’t know what is going on below the surface. Many of the biggest killers, such as cancer and heart disease, creep up on us without us having any idea they are there in the early stages. Routine health screening can catch disease in the early stages, when treatment is more likely to be successful. Check out our half-price New Year health check.
- Stand up more. Sitting too much is seriously bad for our health, but far too many of us spend too much time on our backsides. You may sit and work on a computer all day, or you may just be a couch potato, either way too much down time can lead to all sorts of health problems – from bad backs to obesity, diabetes and even kidney disease. Our bodies were simply not designed for so much sitting, so stand up whenever you can.
- Get more exercise. OK, this one is pretty obvious, we know we should be exercising more often and lots of us do start the New Year clad in leggings, clutching our brand new gym membership card and full of good intentions. But how many of us are keeping up the cross fit, step class or Zumba by the end of January, let alone the end of the year. If you can keep up the gym work, great, if not, try being a bit more realistic. Set yourself goals you have a chance of achieving. Don’t think you can go from doing nothing, to exercising five or six days a week. Even one class a week is good to start with. And find something you enjoy. If the gym is not for you, don’t go. Perhaps cycling, a dance class or yoga will be more your style.
And, if nothing else, look for ways to fit fitness into your everyday life. Don’t stress about parking close to wherever you are going – deliberately park further away and get a bit of a walk; do more gardening – or even cleaning – it is all activity; if you are stuck in a queue don’t get impatient, use the time to tone up your middle by flexing your abs – flex for 10 seconds, relax and repeat; speed up a bit – just walk a little faster, put a bit more oomph into your cleaning or move up a gear as you tour the supermarket (careful with the trolleys!).
- Drink more water. Water is the body’s main chemical component and accounts for around 60% of body weight. Every system in your body depends on water and if you are not drinking enough your body cannot function properly. Make an effort to drink more water and you will have more energy and generally feel better. Men should drink about 3 litres of water a day, and women 2.5 litres. While fluid in other beverages counts toward your daily intake, it is still healthier to drink water. Try swapping a couple of cups of coffee for water, and cut out those super-bad sugary drinks and top up with water instead.
- Visit the dentist. If you’ve not had a dental examination for a while, this is a must for your New Year to do list. Keeping teeth and gums healthy is not just good for your smile, it is also good for your overall health. Gum disease has been linked with a number of health problems including diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s.