Forget to make a New Year resolution? Already having trouble sticking to the one you already made? It’s not to late to make a resolution – one that you will actually keep. Here is a tip: start small. Some resolutions, such as training for a marathon or going 100 percent sugar-free, can be daunting. This often means you’ll get overwhelmed and not make it to your goal. Instead, try making manageable changes to your lifestyle this year. These five New Year's resolution ideas are easy and simple, and they will help you take small, but significant, steps toward better health.
1. Drink more water. Staying hydrated is one of the best things you can do for your health. While severe dehydration is dangerous and symptoms will be obvious, chronic, mild dehydration often goes unnoticed – but the effects on your body are significant. Insufficient water intake can impact physical performance, reduce cognitive functioning, alter mood, cause constipation, and more. Good hydration is associated with a reduction in hypertension, coronary artery disease, and urinary tract infections, and might even be important for preventing some cancers.
You should drink at least 1.5 liters of water each day, or more if you are physically active. Keep track of how much water you are drinking with a water bottle or cup placed in a place you will see it throughout the day, such as your countertop or desk. Set a goal for how much water to drink every hour, and set an alarm to remind you to check on your progress. Straws or other convenient lids make it easier to reach for a sip, as well
2. Cook more at home. Cooking your meals at home has substantial health benefits; people who cook at home consume fewer total carbohydrates, fats, and sugar. Home-cooked meals are more nutritious, and allow you to avoid preservatives, dyes, artificial ingredients, as well as excessive fat, sodium and sugar. The time you spend preparing food at home will be well worth it, and your body (and taste buds) will thank you.
Cooking at home can be easy, delicious, and fun. For tips on how to save time cooking at home, read more from the Natural Health Advisory.
3. Choose natural personal care products. Many personal care products are loaded with preservatives, chemicals, and artificial ingredients that can be toxic when applied to your body. Some are endocrine disruptors that interfere with normal hormonal functioning in the body. Pthlalates and parabens, both commonly used in personal care products, can increase cell proliferation and growth of breast cancer cells in laboratory studies.[3,4] Antibacterial agents like triclosan that are found in toothpastes, soaps, and deodorants may produce carcinogenic compounds that increase the risk of certain cancers.[5,6]
Do yourself a favor, and replace your deodorants, shampoos, lotions, soaps and other personal care products with natural alternatives free of toxic ingredients. Read labels carefully, and be sure to avoid the term “fragrance” in products, as this can mask hundreds of potentially harmful chemicals.
4. Laugh more. Who knew that one of the secrets to good health was laughter? One of my favorite healthy New Year's resolution ideas is to simply get more laughter in your life. The health benefits of laughter are widespread. It decreases stress hormones, exercises your muscles, stimulates circulation, increases pain tolerance, and more.[7,8] It can be one of the best ways to relieve stress, and improve mood and self-esteem. Laughter can protect against anxiety and depression, too.
What could be more fun than a resolution to laugh more? You might even consider joining a laughter club or laughing yoga class, both activities for people to come together and simply laugh.
5. Walk for 30 min each day. Getting regular exercise should be one of your top priorities for improving your health. And while rigorous exercise regimes are overwhelming, research shows that any exercise is better than none. Physical activity is extremely important for lowering blood pressure, keeping cholesterol in check, boosting mood and increasing your energy. It can protect against diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and decrease mortality rates as well.
You don’t need to be a marathon runner to get exercise. Even taking a short, 30-minute walk every day can do wonders for your health and help protect you from disease. If you have a hard time keeping up with an exercise routine, try identifying what factors hold you back. Are you too busy? Try taking a short walk on your lunch break at work. Or, include your family or friends on your walks, so that you can use the time to socialize as well. Too tired? Exercise will improve symptoms of fatigue, but the key may be to try graded exercise to build up your strength. For more tips on how to get motivated to exercise, read more from the Natural Health Advisory.
Share your experience What are your favorite New Year's resolution ideas for living a healthier lifestyle? Share tips and ideas in the comments section below.
Contributing editor Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute.
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