With 2018 now here, you've probably made some New Year's resolutions. Every year, many people make the decision to improve their health. In 2017, 48% of Brits promised to lose weight and 41% wanted to do more exercise and improve their fitness levels.
With 62% of adults in the UK being classified as overweight and obesity levels in the country tripling in the last three decades, improving personal fitness and getting healthier may be crucial for the population. If not, it is estimated there could be 7 million cases of diabetes, 6.5 million cases of heart disease and stroke, and 500,000 more cases of cancer by 2030.
So, for anyone considering getting healthier in the new year, here are some healthy choices that may help you to achieve it more easily.
The first thing you may consider when thinking about becoming healthier is the food and drink you consume. According to BBC Good Food, 2018 will see a number of food trends that aim to inspire more healthy eating habits.
Gut-friendly foods may become an important part of your diet, including fermented and pickled produce, such as kimchi and kefir, and prebiotics such as onions and garlic. They have the benefit of contributing to a healthier digestive system.
Plant-based proteins like tofu, tempeh and quinoa may also become more popular. Not only is veganism on the rise, but meat-free alternatives can be good for your health - and they benefit animals and the environment as well.
When resolving to become healthier, people may choose to invest in a gym membership. However, it can be tempting to return to a previous routine and to not follow through with the resolution.
According to YouGov, more than half of Brits failed to keep all of their New Year's resolutions by the end of 2017 - but this doesn't mean you're doomed to fail in 2018.
When joining a gym, it's a good idea to create specific and attainable goals that allow you to remain motivated. For example, you can sign up for an event, be it a 5K walk or a marathon (depending on your current fitness level), and keep it visible on your calendar to ensure your goal is at the forefront of your mind.
Another option is to go with friends or family members who also want to improve their fitness, as making your exercise social and interacting with others can encourage you to continue working out.
You may not have to join a gym to make a difference to your health; there are little things that you may do in your day-to-day life that can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. For instance, avoiding the lift or the escalator and opting for the stairs instead could add to your daily step count. You may also want to consider getting a fitness tracker, which, depending on the model you choose, can allow you to track each step you take and estimate calories burned through exercise, helping you to stay determined.
This may be the year that you choose to kick some unhealthy habits. You may currently feel like drinking alcohol, smoking, and consuming caffeine helps you to cope with stress or other events in your life. However, excessive consumption of any of these can lead to long-term health issues.
For instance, excessive alcohol consumption can contribute to weight gain, cancer, heart disease, pancreatitis, stomach ulcers and liver disease.
According to some experts, stress can boost your mood and be a positive force. For instance, when you strive to do better and work harder, a level of pressure can motivate you, leading to a positive outlook on life. Bad stress, however, can create tension and affect your ability to complete various tasks. This type of stress can reduce productivity and creativity. Long-term stress can also cause health problems.
The Health and Safety Executive revealed that there are 526,000 workers suffering from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, which led to 12.5 million working days lost in 2016/17. These are not the only possible consequence of bad stress, as it can contribute to health issues like heartburn, high blood pressure, headaches, and weakened immune system.
Reducing your stress levels can be achievable. Make it part of your New Year's healthy resolution!
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