It seems as though January has been and gone in a flash as we all prepare to welcome the second month of 2017. As we say hello to February, a large proportion of us will say goodbye to our January detox and resort back to our old habits which die hard. However, this shouldn’t be the case. January New Years resolutions have a notorious rep for ending as quickly as they began and tend to be a little bit too extreme. We think they can actually be a hindrance to your health rather than helpful. If/when you fall off the band wagon, you are likely to feel disappointed in yourself and the cycle of negative thinking continues.
So put your New Years resolutions aside and read the pointers below that will help you flourish and make you feel the best, most well version of yourself all year round!
Helping your heart
By making it your mission to eat more foods that will nourish your cells, you will also be giving a huge helping hand to your heart. Maintaining an healthy (and natural to you) body weight and getting into a regular exercise routine can both help reduce the risks of developing cardiovascular disease.
The British Heart Foundation and the NHS recommend that adults should try to achieve 150 active minutes a week, which is less than 25 minutes a day. For time to count as ‘active’, your activity needs to warm you up and make you feel a little out of breath. You don’t have to sign up for a gym membership though, as simple things like brisk walking, dancing or exercising at home can all count towards that target of 150 minutes of activity.
As winter is the busiest time for the NHS, with resources stretched to the limit, there’s even more of an incentive at this time of the year to get fit and stay healthy.
Healing your hair
We all know only too well how much damage the winter months can do to our skin, but we often forget about our hair at this time of year. Hair can suffer just as much during the winter – whether from lack of nutrition caused by poor diets over the festive season, or from cold, wet weather and the effects of constant central heating.
There are plenty of things you can do though, to boost your hair’s health. Healthy eating can play a vital role in helping you achieve great-looking hair, with foods high in good fats like avocado, almonds and salmon providing essential nutrients and minerals to really strengthen your hair and make it shine. By simply incorporating these foods into your diet, you can expect silky, shiny hair with visible and long-lasting benefits!
Magnifying your movement
Adopting some simple lifestyle changes in terms of what we eat and how much exercise we take can have a really positive impact on our overall health and wellbeing. Our diet and activity levels can affect muscle strength, coordination, stamina and concentration levels, and even simple changes can have a dramatic effect. No need to go crazy here!
Cutting down on sugary snacks and foods that are highly processed is a simple way to improve your diet and your wellbeing. Going cold turkey is unlikely to be successful over the longer term, so instead, try to replace sweet treats with nuts and fruit, and try to adopt an 80/20 approach to what you eat. If 80% of your food intake is healthy, there’s room in the remaining 20% for the occasional sweet treat or indulgence.
It pays to approach exercise in a gentle way too, gradually building up the length of time you spend exercising and the intensity of the exercise itself. That way, you build your strength up and stay motivated.
Soothing your skin
Our skin is perhaps the most visible sign of Christmas over-indulgence and harsh winter weather. If you want your skin to look fresh and healthy, you need to pay attention to the foods you eat, as healthy eating can provide long-lasting benefits. All that processed food you ate over Christmas means that your skin has been starved of the minerals and nutrients it really needs. Crash diets won’t help restore your skin’s vitality, as they rarely offer a balanced intake of nutrients. Instead, concentrate on eating your five-a-day, making sure you get plenty of food that is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as spinach, sweet potatoes, blueberries and tomatoes.
Healthy skin also needs plenty of moisture, as without it, skin will quickly look dry, pale and taut. Ensure you drink lots of fresh water, and try to avoid sugary, fizzy drinks and alcohol. Keeping a bottle of mineral water with you at all times is a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day.
Healthy eating and regular exercise play such a vital role in keeping us in shape, both mentally and physically. We literally are what we eat, and bad habits can have an effect on our entire bodies inside and out. Trying to eat well and exercise regularly is more than just a New Year’s resolution – it’s a lifestyle change that we should all strive for, and one that will repay us every day for the rest of our lives.
words by Holly Barry