5 resolutions to better your #everydayhealth in 2016
We're nearly a week into 2016, but if you haven't set any resolutions yet, don't worry. There's no rule that says you can't make your resolutions a few days late! And in our books, making any change to better your health is a great plan - no matter when you decide to do it! So with that in mind, we've put together a few great suggestions to help you get your 2016 off to a healthier start!
1. Cut back on sugar
It seems every other week there's a new news story about the pitfalls of sugar and how bad it is for our health. In fact, just this week a story was released claiming that five-year-old children eat their bodyweight in sugar each year1! Sugar can lead to numerous health problems such as tooth decay, obesity and type 2 diabetes, and last year the World Health Organisation cut its recommended daily intake from 50g to 25g2. Cutting back on sugar may not be a simple task as it's present in so much of what we eat, even things we don't realise such as tomato soup, breads, low fat dressings, and yoghurts, but your health will be better for it. To keep better track of how much sugar you're consuming, make sure to check the labels on the foods you're eating. The amount of sugar should be listed under Carbohydrates on the label.
2. Walk 10,000 steps per day
Joining a gym or resolving to do more exercise are usually pretty popular resolutions, and for good reason. Our bodies benefit in so many ways from exercise - both physically and mentally. But if you can't see yourself joining a gym or dedicating yourself to a new exercise regime, then perhaps you should simply resolve to move more. It's recommended that we walk at least 10,000 steps per day, but most of us only average 3-4,000 steps according to the NHS3. Walking can do great things for our health, including promoting weight loss and bettering heart health, and a study released last year found that walking just 20 minutes per day can help reduce the chances of premature death4. So this year, put on those walking shoes and get going! If you need some help getting motivated, check out this article - 10 ways to motivate yourself to get walking. One of our favourite tips is investing in a wearable device, like a Fitbit or Microsoft Band, to help track steps!
3. Practice mindfulness
When it comes to making resolutions to better our health, many of us stay focused on our physical health, but not mental. Taking care of your mental wellbeing is incredibly important. More and more people are feeling stressed, and 44% of respondents of the September wave of our #everydayhealth tracker said they were worried about stress/anxiety when asked about their future health concerns. One way to help improve your mental wellbeing is to practice mindfulness, a form of meditating in which you focus on the present moment, allowing yourself to become aware of what's happening in the here and now using all of your senses. Even practicing mindfulness for 5 minutes per day can have a positive impact on your mental wellbeing.
4. Get more sleep
It's recommended by the National Sleep Foundation in the US that adults receive at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night5, however studies have shown that 30% of Britons sleep less than 6 hours per night6. Various studies over the years have shown just how important sleep is to our health. Getting too little sleep has been linked to a whole host of health issues including metabolic syndrome7, high blood sugar8, Alzheimer's disease9, and even premature death10. So if you're the type that struggles to get 6 hours or more of sleep per night, then why not resolve to get a little more shut eye this year? Not only will it improve your health, but maybe you'll also be more awake to enjoy your days!
5. Eat your five a day
In the last wave of our #everydayhealth tracker it was found that despite wide knowledge of the 5-a-day fruit and veg recommendation (86%) less than a third of Britons actually eat their 5-a-day every day. Eating enough fruit and veg is important to a healthy diet, and helps combat issues such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes11. So if you're struggling to get all your servings in on a daily basis then try making 2016 the year of the fruit and veg. If you're not a fan of your 5-a-day, try these sneaky tips to hide them in your everyday foods, or if you find that you can't eat all fruits and vegetables in your fridge before they go off, try buying them frozen!