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6 Simple Steps to a Healthy New YearIt will soon be a brand new year, which means a brand new approach to being healthy! No, we're not going to advocate for a new crash diet or exercise trend. Instead, this post is about a few simple steps you can take to be healthier this year. They're all easy to do and require very little time and investment, but they'll go a long way towards helping you to have a healthy New Year:
Get That Check-UpA lot of people delay their annual physical exam with their doctor, believing they don't need it. But that's a big mistake! The yearly doctor's visit is vital for the early detection of disease. Catch it early enough, and you may be able to prevent or treat it before it spreads out of control or gets so serious you have to be rushed to the ER. Schedule that yearly physical for the first few weeks of the month and get it out of the way before you decide it's not as important.
Keep a JournalNot the sort of journal where you write your feelings, but the sort where you track your food intake and activity level. A fitness journal can help you find the weak spots in your diet and lifestyle. Perhaps you've a tendency to slack off on the weekends, or you overeat at certain times of the month. Keeping a food journal will help you to pinpoint those weak areas so you can change them. Plus, it's a way of holding yourself accountable for everything you eat and do.
It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you DO IT! Anything that gets you moving—be it walking, running, cycling, sports, water sports, snow sports, or even playing with your kids—is good for your health. The more you move around, the less likely your risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and the list of health problems goes on! It doesn't matter if it's not VIGOROUS exercise; ANY exercise is good for you.
Cut Processed and Sugary FoodsIf you don't make any other changes to your diet this year, make these two! Processed food is usually fairly high in calories but contains very little in the way of nutrition. It also pumps your body full of chemicals, hormones, and toxins that slow down your metabolism, digestion, and internal functions. Sugar is the leading cause of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic disorders. It also increases your cancer risk and is all but guaranteed to lead to weight gain. Cutting back on these two foods will do wonders for your health!
Manage Your StressStress and pressure are a pretty normal part of the fast-paced life we lead. We all have pressures at work, at home, and in our personal lives that push us on. But too much stress can lead to a wide range of health problems. It's important that you find ways to cope with and manage your stress, including meditation, exercise, Yoga practice, or relaxing activities. Getting your stress under control is VERY important for a healthy, happy life.
Improve Your Sleep HabitsIt may not be your idea of "fun" to go to sleep at the same time every night, but your body will thank you. You need to form a sleep routine, one that you stick to daily. It's the best way to get your body accustomed to going to sleep and waking up at the same time, and will ensure you get all the hours of sleep your brain, heart, muscles, and organs need to function properly.