It’s a whole new year, 365 days of possibilities! With all the revelry and merrymaking come the resolutions, promises that people make to themselves to better different areas of their life in the coming year. More often than not, being healthy and staying fit rank high among the list of resolutions for a majority of people. However, the underside, to the whole resolution game is that they are hard to keep. Why? Because it calls for the formation of a new habit, an alteration in the schedule and with already busy lives, set daily routines, the struggle to maintain resolutions is difficult. In such times, pay heed to the adage “start small”. So here’s a list of 15 healthy new year resolutions that can help you get on track and reach your goal!
- More Water
Keep an eye on your daily water intake. And increase it slowly. The most important step to staying healthy is being adequately hydrated. You’ll also see how active and energetic you feel with your increased water intake.
- Eat more Fruit
This New Year, make a conscious effort to gravitate towards a balanced meal to reach your health goals. Apart from the obvious fact that they are totally natural, different fruits are a rich source of dietary fibre, vitamins, anti-oxidants and micro-nutrients. So ditch that bag of chips and munch on some fruits instead!
- Balance it
A simple healthy New Year resolution could be to balance means. Include non-starchy vegetables in your plate, quarter portions each of protein and starch.
For lunch and dinner times, double up the intake of non-starchy vegetables.
A huge part of staying healthy is an active metabolism. This New Year, do away with regular three meals a day and opt for small, balanced snacks between meals. Combining carbs and protein keeps you full longer and stabilises blood sugar levels as well.
- Limit Sodium
Limit your daily sodium intake to less than 2,300mg. Instead, rely on herbs and spices to make meals flavourful. Too much sodium has been linked to high blood pressure; a major red flag for heart disease.
- Get Nutty
As bite-size nutritional powerhouses, nuts are packed with heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Make sure to include an unsalted portion of nuts like cashews, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, peanuts and a whole different bunch. Rich in a variety of micronutrients, these boost up your metabolism and make for a wonderful snack.
- Limit stress
Identify areas in your life, work and otherwise that trigger a stress response. Try to do away with those, or at least minimize their effects. Stress has the potential to hot-wire your system, aside from the obvious fact of leaving you drained out. Find ways to unwind after a rather difficult day – it can be as simple as playing with your pet, a walk or a bath with some soft music playing. Adult colouring books are known to boost feelings of positivity and reduce stress. Keep a copy handy at work or download printable sheets online and go crazy filling them in with a riot of colours!
One of the leading reasons why exercise resolutions fail year after year is the fact that we go from 0-100 for a few days and expect our bodies to adapt to the change, quite literally overnight. Plank every morning, first thing out of bed. And it’s totally doable, for a minute of a plank will give your muscles that epic burn. They engage the core and work your entire body, making them one of the best exercises to pull off. Begin with a 30 second plank and build up. By doing a plank first thing in the morning, you’re programming your brain to stay active all day long!
- Performance goals
Motivation through performance goals is a good way to trick your brain into a healthier mindset. Set a goal to touch your feet, do 10 pushups every morning, 10 squats, etc. Doing so shifts the focus from aesthetics to performance. Flexibility will also help your body move efficiently, giving your joints the required range of motion as you take on complex exercise rituals.
- Jump Rope
If lifting heavy weights or running on the treadmill in the gym is way beyond your league just yet, skip rope instead! An activity everyone has done as a kid, jumping rope is the easiest way to give your body a complete workout. In fact Jumping rope burns more than 10 calories a minute while strengthening your legs, butt, shoulders, and arms. It also doesn’t take long to reap major rewards. You can burn more than 200 calories in two, 10-minute sessions each day (that’s 1,000 calories a week)!
- Get a target, set a reward
One of the best ways to follow through on your healthy New Year resolutions is to get realistic. If you’ve signed up for 4 CrossFit classes per week for 60 days, set a reward like a small vacation or an indulgence like spa day once you successfully completed it. Planning a reward will motivate you, especially when you want to quit it at week five, you’ll remember that trip/spa time that is now just a week away!
- Mix it up
If the rigmarole of a gym is too much for you, look for interesting high-intensity activities that boost those endorphins and fire out those calories. This New Year, go for that Zumba class that you’ve wanted to take, or go for kickboxing, muay thai that not only help you learn something new, but go a long way in keeping you active always!
- Drink up!
This New Year, make it a point to have green tea. Known to help cut out the stubborn abdominal fat, green tea is also rich in antioxidants. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels, making them an ideal drink for diabetics. With so many flavours and varieties, go brew yourself a cuppa!
- Bring in the fun
Remember that the “healthy body, healthy mind” wisdom works both ways! By resolving to stay healthy this New Year, you are also improving your overall wellbeing. Also, make sure to always have fun with every little tweak you make to your routine. The association with the positive makes it easier for your brain to accept and adapt!
Nagwa Kureshi, loves baking and long walks by the beach and a good run is her way of destressing.