New Year Health Reset
The new year is a good time to reset. Coming off the stress and indulgence of the holidays, the beginning of a new year is an ideal time to change course and work towards a healthier lifestyle.
January brings a clean slate and an opportunity to start a new, healthier routine. Getting on the right track doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by incorporating these simple changes into your lifestyle:
- Meal Planning & Tracking
The key to not overeating is meal planning. Do away with mindless eating by establishing a menu of your meals for each week in advance. Stick to whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats like avocado and nuts, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Focusing on high-protein foods will also help to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day. Using a tracking app will help you monitor your intake of calories, carbs, fats, and protein.
- Exercise Regularly
Physical fitness is important to overall health. Regular exercise improves cardiovascular and muscular health, as well as helping to fight disease. It’s also been shown to reduce stress and improve mental health. The American Heart Association recommends getting a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week and incorporating at least two days of weight training into your routine as well. You don’t need to spend an hour a day exercising either. Even seven-minute intervals can boost your metabolism and increase your adrenaline.
- Read Food Labels
Knowing exactly what you’re putting into your body is key to a healthy lifestyle. The choice of foods and brands at the grocery store can be overwhelming. When shopping it’s important to familiarize yourself with the nutrition information and ingredient list on packaging. Keep in mind that the first three to five ingredients are what make up the bulk of that product. Look for products with natural ingredients and a low sugar and carbohydrate content.
- Get Enough Sleep
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule and getting around eight hours of sleep a night is critical to overall health. According to Dr. Ana Krieger, director of the Center for Sleep Medicine at New York-Presbyterian, sleep is an important part of regulating hormones, metabolism, and immunity. Going to bed and getting up at the same time will train your body to activate the systems of your brain, increase your body temperature, and release cortisol around the same time.
- Cut Back on Sugar
Consuming too much sugar can wreak havoc on your health. When you reduce the intake of sugar in your diet, it helps to support a healthy weight, decrease your risk of depression, and reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, among many other health benefits. The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar to no more than 6% of calories each day; that equates to about 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
Make this year the year you get started towards a healthier lifestyle and a healthier you!