Develop New Health Habits This Year

Life changes are what make the difference in good health. Too often people make a New Year’s resolution to start exercising or eat healthier and within weeks, all that resolve disappears. Why not go slower and develop new health habits instead. New health habits last a lifetime and offer the opportunity to live longer with fewer chances of serious conditions that affect your enjoyment and length of life.

Start by changing your eating habits.

You’ll lose weight and feel great when you change your eating habits. Changing your eating habits is more than just dieting. Dieting doesn’t work. When you diet, you feel deprived and often hungry. Once you lose the weight, you go back to your old eating habits that put on the weight in the first place. Instead of dieting, learning how to make smarter choices in food is the key to a life without weight problems. A personal trainer can help you make those changes. Some changes are simple. Some simple changes include eating brown rice instead of white rice or having an apple ready for a midmorning break so you don’t grab a donut or candy bar. Others are not as easy, but still enjoyable, like cooking differently and steaming, roasting or grilling instead of frying foods.

Start a program of regular exercise.

You can vow to exercise, but until it becomes a habit, it will be a struggle to maintain the regimen. If you aren’t ready for a complete program, start small. Start walking to lunch. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and park further from the store. Your body will become more accustomed to increased exercise and it won’t take long before you’re ready for a program. Create a workout schedule that you’ll fit in at the same time every day. Make it become an appointment. Another alternative is using a personal trainer to design a program specifically for your needs. Meeting with the trainer is an appointment, making it more likely you’ll stick with it.

Get plenty of sleep.

While the combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise will help you stay healthier, getting adequate sleep is also important. Lack of sleep affects your health in a number of ways. It makes it harder to lose weight by increasing your hunger hormone and reducing the amount of the hormone that makes you feel full. It also increases your risk of heart disease. Too often people think it’s noble to burn the candle at both ends, but it’s really selfish. It puts you at risk for serious conditions that can affect your health, either cutting your life short or forcing others to care for you.

  • Stay hydrated. This is especially important in the winter when you don’t feel as thirsty as you do in the summer. Lack of hydration can cause many symptoms. It even can cause signs of dementia in the elderly.
  • Smile more. That’s right! Studies show that people who smile more live longer.
  • Increase your stride and pace when you walk. People who walk more briskly also live longer. It changes the simple act of walking into a more vigorous exercise and boosts the amount you get throughout the day.
  • Be thankful. While you may not have as much as others, the act of gratitude for what you do have is a habit that not only makes life more worthwhile, it lengthens it. Take a minute every day to appreciate what you have.

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