The New Year is here and so you are probably recovering from a hangover feeling less than healthy. You may be wondering how you can improve your health in 2020 with ideas of joining the gym, attending military boot camps, going on a radical new diet or forking out the money for an expensive personal trainer.
Being healthy doesn’t always need radical action. Instead, opt for consistent small actions that help you achieve better health over a long period of time. Don’t spend January killing yourself in the gym, instead think about what small and realistic healthy changes you can make.
When we practice small and realistic changes consistently they build-up to big changes. Here are 5 healthy changes you can make in 2020 that aren’t radical or extreme but will give you great results.
Sleep is essential to good health and the vast majority of us just aren’t getting enough. In a world consumed by media, most of us are giving up our precious beauty sleep for Netflix binges, endless social media scrolling, and online video gaming sessions.
If you make any change in 2020, it should be to ensure you get a full 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Research consistently shows that getting 7-8 hours of sleep can decrease your risk of adverse health conditions, manage hunger, maintain a healthy immune system and retain memory.
Getting a full night’s sleep has also shown to boost productivity, increase focus and even make us happier. In 2020, swap out the Netflix binging for sleep binging, you won’t regret it.
- Keep Active
Walk into any gym in January and you will see a bunch of people killing themselves to get fit, working through injuries with their legs strapped up to help reduce knee pressure and limping around the free weights section. Walk into any gym in December and you will find a bunch of already very fit people working out. Here lies the difference between healthy people and unhealthy people, consistency and commitment.
A person who religiously attends the gym every day for 2 months to help lose weight might then stop and quickly put the weight back on. Whereas, a person that hits the gym 3 times a week over 12 months not only loses weight but makes exercise a positive and consistent habit in their life.
If you want to be healthy you have to do some form of exercise consistently and be committed to it. That doesn’t mean you have to kill yourself in the gym 5 times a week. If you want to hit the gym, take it easy or do something else like joining a soccer team, yoga class, running club or find a squash partner.
Exercise is often deemed to be boring but usually, this is because people do types of exercise they don’t enjoy. Find what type of exercise you like, something you find fun and won’t be a chore to attend. You can even work out at home using YouTube videos. Whatever you choose to do, be consistent and you will get results.
- Eat Well
This doesn’t mean join some crazy fad diet like keto, Atkins or paleo. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be extreme or heavily restrictive, it needs to be balanced. All the latest research in nutrition points towards a mostly whole foods diet. This means significantly reducing processed foods, simple carbs, and excess sugar.
We have all become far too reliant on the convenience of fast and processed foods but these foods are making us fat, sick and generally unhealthy. We know plant foods are great for our body so eat more of them, use vegetables in new ways to create exciting meals and start to move away from a meat/dairy heavy diet that is rich in fat, salt, and sugar.
Your diet should be mostly made up of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and legumes. Meat, dairy, and fish should be a small part of your diet and processed foods should be removed as much as possible for optimal health.
- Get Support
Humans tend to suffer alone and fear to ask others for help and support. In 2020, be vulnerable and ask people to help you with whatever you want to do for your health. This can include asking your partner to eat healthier with you, asking your friend to join a gym class with you, or even seeking professional help for any psychological issues you may have.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. You may even find that improving your physical health benefits your mental health. However, there are some psychological issues such as anxiety and depression that may need the attention of a professional. You should never feel ashamed or hesitant to seek help for these issues. Use professionals, they are there to help you. We don’t have to suffer in silence. Reach out to friends, family and loved ones to help you achieve your health goals in 2020.
- Drink Water
Many of us are victims of chronic dehydration, we simply don’t drink enough water for optimal health. You need to drink at least 2-3 litres of water per day. That does not include juice, tea, coffee, Red Bull and certainly not alcohol.
You should aim to drink 2-3 litres of water a day to help keep your body and brain fuelled throughout the day. It’s extremely important to drink enough water. Research has shown it helps maintain the balance of body fluids, controls calories, energises muscles, improve skin, supports your kidneys, and maintain normal bowel function.
To help you drink 2-3 litres you could buy a 2 or 3-litre reusable bottle. Simply fill it up every morning and carry it with you wherever you go or have it on your office desk. Make sure you finish the whole bottle every day. At first, you may find it difficult but it will soon become a habit.