Have a Healthy New Year
Fri 10 January 2020
New year, new you. Every year when Big Ben strikes to announce the arrival of January 1st, there are millions of people up and down the country who set themselves New Year Resolutions.
A lot of these promises and aspirations relate to health and fitness, which is hardly a surprise given the gluttony that goes on over Christmas. Exercising more, eating healthily, losing weight and getting fitter are the most common forms of New Year Resolutions going.
They’re easy to break as well. Over 66% of adults in the United Kingdom will have given up on their resolution by the end of January. 80% of New Year Resolutions are in the bin within three months with only 14% of people maintaining them for the entire year.
If you want to buck the trend in 2020 and stick to your resolution to have a healthy new year, then here’s some advice.
Find an exercise you enjoy
One of the reasons that well-intentioned plans to be healthy in the new year fall through is because people simply don’t like exercise. If you can’t stand the thought of pounding the streets long after the sun has gone down or the prospect of sharing a gym with musclebound individuals who look like they are carved out of granite terrifies you, then you need to find an exercise that you actually enjoy and will happily keep up.
It could be swimming. It could be badminton. It could be five-a-side football. Exercise isn’t just running marathons or lifting weights – it comes in many different shapes and forms and once you find one that you like, chances are you’ll regularly take part in it.
Exercise will only get your so far on your quest for a healthy new year. After all, there’s no point in burning off 2,000 calories only to go and eat 2,500 later in the day with a grease-covered takeaway.
For exercise to truly help your New Year Resolution, you need to combine it with healthy eating. That means getting your five a day, cutting out processed foods and reducing sugar intake. More fruit and veg, less burgers and chips.
One way in which you can keep a track of your healthy eating is with a food diary. By recording what you’ve eaten and when you’ve eaten it each and every day, you can check that you aren’t guzzling down too many calories.
If that sounds like a lot of effort, then it doesn’t have to be – there are now apps available which allow you to scan the barcode of whatever it is you are eating, adding all the nutritional information of that food straight into your diary. The wonders of modern technology.
Get into healthy habits
Do you know how long you have to do something for before it becomes a habit? According to science, the answer is 66 days. If you can get into an exercise routine and eat healthily for a little over two months, then this behaviour will become ingrained in you as habit.
But what exactly are the healthy habits that you should be picking up, other than more exercise and eating healthier foods? Cutting out snacks is one – how many of us reach for a bag of crisps when we’re hungry rather than some fruit?
Drinking more water is another. Adults should be aiming to get through 2 litres of water a day. This will keep you body hydrated, your brain functioning well and most importantly of all, reduce hunger. Many of us put on weight because we snack when our mind tricks us into thinking we are hungry when in actual fact, water would satisfy us.
By reaching for a bottle rather than something to eat, we can get into healthy habits to enjoy a healthy new year.
Turn it into a healthy new year for all the family
Why go through the health kick alone when you can rope the entire family in? Studies suggest that we’re far more likely to stick to a healthy new year resolution if we’ve got friends and family alongside us to keep us on the straight and narrow.
Obviously, what works for improving your health may not work for your children. But the beauty of health and fitness is that there is something out there for every age group and interest.
You could sign your kids up for weekly children’s football classes, so they get the exercise they need alongside your own immersion in the world of five-a-side. ParkRun offers children’s exercise with 2km runs the day after the adults have done 5km at the same venue.
Try making 2020 a healthy new year for all the family and see what a difference it makes.