Improving one’s health can often lead the charts when setting goals and intentions for a new year.  If you are creating New Year’s resolutions that are centered around health and wellbeing, we have some ideas to help you along this journey. 

For starters, health does not translate to weight.  If dropping some extra weight is a side effect  of getting healthier, great!  But, it shouldn’t be the lone motivator in creating a healthy living plan.  Weight does not and should not define you.  Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get into it!  

Staying physically fit improves cardiovascular and muscular health and helps fight disease. Exercising also has been shown to reduce stress and improve your overall mood, so try to squeeze in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week, the minimum recommended by the American Heart Association, plus at least two days of muscle-strengthening activities.  Consider where you are starting from so you don’t injure yourself.  If it’s been awhile since you have participated in a formal exercise program involving machines or weights, talk with a trainer first.  Learning the correct way to do something will build confidence and strength at the same time! 

Effective exercise doesn’t have to be time-consuming or require fancy equipment. In fact, there is a growing body of evidence indicating that incorporating short bursts of exercise into everyday activities, like running up the stairs in your home or office instead of walking for example,  can make a difference towards improving a person’s overall health.  If you work from home or care for small children, a gym membership isn’t needed; you probably have everything you need right in front of you!  

With increased exercise and movement, it’s important to counter that activity with rest.  Rest and sleep are the easiest things to steal from ourselves, but some tips to starting a healthy rest habit  with wellness in mind are as follows: 

  • Keep to an anchor wake-up time. You can always compromise a little bit on the weekends, but try to maintain the same wake-up time. This trains your body to activate the systems of your brain, increase your body temperature, and release cortisol around the same time. Having an anchor helps you create a sleep rhythm, which your brain can naturally perpetuate.
  • Be mindful when you drink caffeine. Caffeine can be in your body for nine hours, so it can really affect your ability to fall asleep. If you eat or drink caffeine between 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., it can keep you up until midnight. Pay attention to your intake of foods and beverages with caffeine, like dark chocolate, green tea, or coffee.
  • Reallocate tasks.  Think about the best ways to get things done so that you’re not cramming them into the two hours before you fall asleep. Maybe there are things you’re doing late at night that you can do in the morning. People might say, “I’m too tired in the morning,” but you may be tired because you’re going to bed late. If you can adjust to an earlier time, you may find you’re just as productive when you wake up.
  • Use alarms for going to bed.  We recommend using alarms as reminders for all important tasks. If you want to go to bed at 11:30 p.m., set an alarm for an hour before so you know when to wrap up your activities and signal your body and brain to slow down.

If you’re planning to make some healthy changes this year to live a more active life, let us know what they are!  As always, we love that we get to be part of your journey to the best you that you can be.  Happy New Year!