The New Year brings with it the opportunity for planting the seeds of habits that will pay rich dividends in terms of a good health, improved appearance, better mental clarity, and increased confidence. Here are a few habits worth considering:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: Make it a habit to fill at least half your plate with fruits and vegetables. They are a great source of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals which are essential for maintenance of body functions and promote satiety. People who eat a lot of fruits and vegetables are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, stroke, or obesity.
- Limit processed foods and sugar: Processed foods are usually loaded with salt, sugar and unhealthy fats. These foods have a lot of empty calories that can give you a sugar rush immediately after consumption, but will leave you feeling hungry a few hours later. Eating high-fiber foods such as lentils, legumes, and whole grain cereals will stabilize your energy levels and help you reduce your unhealthy food cravings.
- Exercise regularly: The 3 essential components of a good fitness program would include aerobic exercise (jogging, cycling, swimming), strength training (weight training, bodyweight exercises, resistance bands), and flexibility (yoga, stretching exercises). Aerobic exercises help improve heart and lung function, strength training helps develop strong muscles and bones, and being flexible helps prevent muscle and tendon injuries.
- Maintaining good posture: The benefits of a good posture include reduction in back and neck pain, improved breathing and mental alertness, and slimmer and more confident appearance. Contrary to popular belief, a good posture is not hard to achieve. It’s simply a matter of sitting, standing, and walking tall.
- Get enough sleep: Adequate sleep is one of the pillars of good health. Studies have linked poor sleep habits to weight gain, reduced concentration, and increased risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep every day. There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep to prepare you to face the challenges of the new day and The New Year.