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Healthy habits you should consider this year

 A group of people working out. (Courtesy)

It is that time of the year when we start out on our goals signifying a fresh start. Many start out motivated, but the energy wanes as the year progresses.

There is a reason this happens. Most of the set goals are usually restrictive, unsustainable and driven by wrong motives.  You do not need to make drastic changes to achieve and maintain your health goals. Small consistent changes build up to healthy habits over time. Try these simple habits every day.

Move more

Physical exercise helps lower one’s risk for many chronic diseases, promotes mental health and improves overall well-being.

It is estimated that people who do not engage in physical exercises are 30 per cent more likely to die from health-related issues as compared to those who are sufficiently active. Thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise on five or more days per week or 20 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercises on three or more days per week will keep you on track.

A lot of people, however, confuse physical activity with physical exercise, making them believe, erroneously, that they meet the daily recommended exercise.

Physical exercise is a planned, structured, and repetitive activity that moves the major muscles, for the purpose of improving or maintaining physical fitness. The right exercise should be safe, sustainable, enjoyable and tolerable.

Whole foods are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre, which help strengthen your body defences for diseases and also help it function optimally.

Highly processed foods are stripped of many nutrients and the chemicals added during processing can alter the foods natural composition, making it less nutritious. Processed foods are often high in sugar, fats and sodium and low in fibre and other nutrients.

Adequate intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with better health and reduces the risk of many diseases.

When eating, ensure the biggest portion on your plate is composed of vegetables, and consume at least two medium-sized fruits per day. Inadequate fruits and vegetable consumption is among the top 10 risk factors to global mortality, with conditions associated with low fruits and vegetable consumption causing approximately 1.7 million deaths annually.

Excessive intake of sugary foods and sweetened beverages is linked to increased risk of health conditions like obesity, diabetes and heart diseases.

Inadequate water intake slows down all functions of the body organs. Lack of adequate water intake even for a single day can cause tiredness, headaches, mood swings, constipation, muscle cramps and urinary tract infections.

Sleep and rest well

Sleep and rest are essential parts of overall health and well-being. Inadequate rest and sleep increase your risk of excess weight gain and inability to shed it. It can also increase one’s risk of heart disease and depression.  

A healthy lifestyle is not about strict limitations or deprivation. It is about savouring life in the best way possible while maintaining physical, mental and social well-being. Whatever healthy goals you set, ensure they are things you can practice consistently throughout your life.

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