The turning of a new year symbolizes the turning of a new leaf for many of us… a chance to shed bad habits and start afresh. With a new year, we hope to see a new us!
So, what are the most common New Year’s Resolutions? According to a survey, one-third of the population wants to improve their fitness and nutrition – this is by far the most popular ambition each year. Next, are those wanting to get their finances in order (21%), followed by those wanting to travel more (13%), quitting bad habits (11%), wanting to spend more time with friends and family (10%), and those wanting to try something new (6%). All these culminate into improving our quality of life.
Considering that most of us want to improve our health each new year, why not start with the basics? Whether you’re trying to lose weight, get fit, or just get healthier, you’d surprised to know how small changes reap huge benefits! Improving your fitness and nutrition now is directly investing in your future health. The ‘side effects’ of improving your energy, mood, and self-confidence, plus having the satisfaction of sticking to your New Year’s resolution doesn’t hurt either!
Looking for a few simple fitness tips to help you achieve those seemingly elusive long-lasting health results? Try these easy to ring in the New Year 2023 with a sense of positivity, hope and better physical and mental health:
Plant-based Diet Is The Key: Don’t underestimate the power of plants as preventative medicine. There are so many seemingly innocent fruits, veggies, nuts, grains and legumes that pack quite a punch of immunity-boosting nutrients. What better way to start the new year than with a stronger immune system? For eg., for natural vitamins and antioxidants, pile on the palak (spinach) and other leafy greens like methi, sarson, laal bhaji, etc., and bring home the firangi broccoli along with its desi cousins gobi and cabbage!
Reduce Inflammation-producing Foods: Most don’t realise that what you put in your mouth ultimately affects the rest of your body, not just your digestive system. If you suffer from knee pain, acne or headaches (to name a few), it might just be a result of what you eat. Unfortunately, one of the most pro-inflammatory foods is milk and milk products (dahi, butter, cheese, paneer and yes, even the famed ghee). Try just 1 – 2 dairy-free days a week and notice how your body feels the following day. You’ll feel lighter, energized and experience less aches and pains over time. It’s proven that every time you avoid dairy, the body starts healing. These days, it is not tough to avoid dairy with the plethora of plant-based dairy substitutes available. Meat, processed and refined foods are all equally harmful in causing premature ageing. Taking care of your diet would be the best gift you can give yourself this new year!
Move It! Get Up! Get Going! You don’t have to join a fancy gym to reap the incredible benefits of cardiovascular exercise. Simply incorporating just 30-45 minutes daily of heart-pumping activity, thrice a week has a fantastic impact on heart. Increased heart rate means more blood and oxygen supply to your vital organs, including brain (better mood and concentration), intestines (less bloating and acidity) and skin (less oil and acne). A simple rule of thumb to make sure you are putting in the ‘right amount’ of exertion is if you can hold a full conversation while exercising (without feeling breathless). If you can, you need to push harder! Brisk walking works wonders too!
Sleep On It: Another simple lifestyle change that makes a huge impact is increasing your sleep quality and duration. Poor sleep has been linked to depression and anxiety, obesity, high BP, higher risk of infections (i.e.- suppressed immunity). In the new year, set a goal to improve your sleep-habits. How? If you exercise in the evening or at night, your sleep will likely be longer and deeper. Do this just 1-2 days a week. Turn off your ‘devices’ at least one hour before bed. Choose a good book, some calming music, a warm bath or even better – meditate!
Try Teaching An Old Dog Some New Tricks: Learning a new skill, taking up a new hobby or even just setting a different long-term goal (at home, at work or with family) can start a snowball effect of positive changes. Create a goal and move towards it. Research studies have found that those without a hobby are significantly more likely to develop a mood disorder (anxiety, depression, PTSD, ADHD to name a few). Another benefit of hobbies is in finding like-minded people that share your passion. Building your friend and community support circle is as important as eating healthy and exercising. So, try something new and different this year!
And here are the simple tips that you have always known but were awaiting the New Year 2023 as the perfect time to implement:
Stay Hydrated: Drink 8-10 glasses of water a day.
Cereal Switch: Replace the wheat rotli with Jowar/bajra/nachni rotis.
Add Salads And Sprouts To Your Diet: Eat more sprouts and raw salads daily.
Nurture Your Faith And Attitude: Pray and visit the Agiary more often, with an attitude of gratitude.
Laugh More, Stress Less: With REAL friends (in person) and not just smiley emoticons on WhatsApp and Facebook.
Ensure to include some good lifestyle changes in 2023. Remember, it takes at least 21 days to change a habit, so don’t give up! Everything worthwhile takes time, and your goals are worth it all!
Har Rozettan Navruz! Saleh nu Mubarak! Saal Shaad Shaad baad!