The New Year is well under way and already many well thought-out New Year's resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. As per usual, the number one resolution for Britain this year is to lose weight.
According to a Daily Mail poll, the second and third most popular resolutions are also fairly predictable; number two is to 'get fit' and the third is to 'eat more healthily'.
Before you start to beat yourself up that, two months into the New Year, you have already found numerous excuses not to go the gym or that chocolate is just too difficult to resist; have a look at our five top tips to keeping yourself healthy. It is not as difficult or as dull as you think!
We all know that exercise is vital to us to keep ourselves fit and healthy, With many of us now spending most of our working day in front of computers, especially the large numbers of us that work in IT jobs, it is more important than ever to make sure we move around and get enough exercise.
Exercise does not have to be hours spent sweating at the gym. It can just be making subtle differences to our daily lives. Always try and use the stairs as opposed to the lift, cycle more, use local shops to get food and walk rather than drive. For those of us based in the big smoke, especially those of us with sedentary IT jobs in London, get off the tube or bus a stop early. Two stops early if you are feeling particularly energetic. By doing that on the way to and from work, you are increasing the number of minutes you walk by between 15-20 minutes a day. This soon mounts up over a week!
Relaxation is a really important part of keeping your body and mind healthy. Make sure you allow yourself some regular 'me' time to wind down and switch off from work and family life. Stress is one of the most common causes of illness in the UK and if left unchecked can lead to long term mental health problems. Indulge in a long hot bath, read a good book or try yoga or Pilates. Making sure you get enough sleep is also vital to feeling relaxed, If you are tired, you are far more likely to feel stressed and anxious when problems arise. If you're not getting enough sleep, it can affect relationships, your performance at work, and it can delay recovery from illness. Get into good bedtime rituals to get into a good sleep pattern.
3. Eat well
We all know it but how many of us actually get our five-a- day? Include a handful of sultanas, strawberries or blueberries with your cereal and a glass of orange juice and you will have already got two of your five-a-day before you have even got to work! Resist the office biscuit and cake tin by taking your own packed lunch with plenty of healthy treats to keep you going through the day. Carry a cereal bar or a packet of dried fruit in your hang bag so if you are out and about and get hungry you always have a healthy snack at hand. By stopping yourself form getting too hungry, you are much more able to resist sweet treats!
4. Reduce salt and sugar in your diet
Too much salt and fat in our diets is one of the causes of illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Too much salt in your food can cause high blood pressure and make you more likely to have heart disease or a stroke. One of the easiest ways is to lower your intake is to stop adding additional salt and sugar to your cooking, hot drinks and cereal. Once you get used to it, you won't even notice that you don't use it anymore. Look for 'no added sugar' options when choosing soft drinks and 'reduced salt' options when buying food such as baked beans and tomato sauce. These small changes can make a real difference.
5. Eat the rights fats
oo much saturated fat can lead to a build up of cholesterol in the body and weight gain, although of course we must make sure we eat some fats to keep the body working healthily. Saturated fats are found in fried foods, processed food, red meat and dairy products such as cheese. Look for oily fish, nuts and seeds which are high in unsaturated fats and can actually help reduce cholesterol in the body.