Looking to start your new year off right? Make this the year you improve your heath and happiness by introducing small lifestyle changes. These seemingly minor adjustments can add up to major wellness.
1. Get more sleep
Many studies show that sleep and body weight are intertwined. Not only does a lack of sleep trigger appetite but fatigue also negatively impacts how you work out. Get a full night’s rest (optimally 7-9 hours) for a healthier you.
2. Do weight bearing exercises for bone health
Weight bearing exercises — moves that require you to be standing and working against gravity — benefit bone density, balance and strength. These exercises are especially important for women as they face a higher risk of osteoporosis. Consider dancing, hiking or training on an elliptical or treadmill.
3. Introduce superfoods to your diet
If you’re looking to become the next man (or woman) of steel, look no further than superfoods. While these foods seem average, they’re secretly packing key nutrients that can help you fight disease, live healthier and feel better. Blueberries, salmon, soy and spinach all count. Learn more.
4. No matter your day job, get moving
Is your desk job dangerous? If it is promoting a sedentary lifestyle, it is. If your office isn’t embracing the treadmill desk, you can still incorporate fitness into your day in other ways. Walk your commute if possible. Start a yoga lunch hour. The important thing is to get moving to stay healthy.
5. Laugh more
Articles in the New York Times and Men’s Fitness have shared the findings of a study from Oxford University that linked laughter to a decreased pain threshold in participants. The happy endorphins released by laughing can make a strenuous activity like a workout more bearable. So consider your favorite joke as you add more reps.
6. Be social
Studies have shown that working out with someone else can improve a person’s motivation and commitment to a fitness plan. Set a weekly gym date with a buddy. Add in some friendly competition and you’ll likely gain a deeper friendship while shedding the pounds.
7. Manage stress better
Sure, chewing a pencil is fat-free, but that stress is adding to your waistline regardless. Stress can lead to overeating, diminish your desire to work out and even affect where your body stores fat. Get more sleep, work out that anxiety on the treadmill and practice breathing techniques to battle daily stressors.
8. Mix it up
Changing up your exercise routine can help you avoid a workout plateau. You must continually challenge your body. Train new muscles, try out different machines or experiment with a workout class.
9. Gain balance
Balance is an important component of fitness that helps with injury prevention, sports training and posture. Improving balance is especially important for 40-somethings and older as balance tends to deteriorate with age. Learn more.
10. Stop fearing the scale
It’s time to make peace with the scale, even if you’re not at your ideal weight. Studies have shown that frequent weigh-ins can be beneficial in helping someone lose weight and keep it off. Don’t obsess about the number but rather see the scale as a tool in helping you reach your goal.
11. Water yourself
Not only is hydration essential during a workout, but drinking water throughout the day is important to weight loss. Drinking water can help you flush toxins, curb your appetite and avoid sugary, calorie-laden beverages.
12. Perfect your plate
Plates and portions have grown larger over the years. Consider joining the Small Plate Movement and scaling back by using a different size plate. Also, remember that food pyramid is out but the “MyPlate” is in. Learn more.
13. Savor More
Almost all of our resolution tips require you to slow down, pay attention and enjoy more. Savor your food by eating slower and less. Savor your friends and family by making even your workouts more fun and social. Savor your time by eliminating stress and giving your body and overall wellness the attention it deserves.
Here’s to making 2013 the healthiest yet. Which resolutions will you try?