Healthy Start to a New Year

Story by TaNiqua Ward; TSET Healthy Living Program Specialist

The New Year comes with many resolutions to make this year better than the last. Of course, most resolutions pertain to improving health. That is why it is so important to have a plan and goal for how you are going to improve your health and make it a sustainable goal throughout the year.

Maintaining healthy habits throughout the year requires discipline. The first few weeks are easy and exciting but as time passes it becomes more difficult to avoid eating the unhealthy foods offered or keeping up with the exercise regimen. This year, make it your goal to start the New Year with healthy habits. Experts say that doing an activity for 21 days becomes a habit. Doing that new habit for 6 months becomes part of your personality. The key isn’t just to take on new healthy habits, but also to maintain them for the entire year.

Here are a few healthy habits to start incorporating for the New Year:

Drink more water

  • The majority of young adult Oklahomans, ages 18 – 34, drink sugar-sweetened beverages at least once per day – more than any other state in the US, according to the CDC. Furthermore, the majority of us go through the day being dehydrated. We don’t get nearly as much water as our body needs. Water has many benefits for the body such as helping sustain balance, maintaining fluids, and energizing muscles. Instead of indulging in a sugary beverage, “rethink your drink” and have water instead.

Get more sleep

  • It is recommended that our bodies get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, many of us do not get near as much sleep as what is recommended. Getting the required amount of sleep helps increase cognition, allows you to feel better, and reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. Many of us are sleep deprived and do not know what it feels like to be “truly rested.” Try to set a regular routine getting to bed at a specific time which will give you more energy and allow you to be more productive during the day.

Eat more fruits and veggies

  • The holidays have come and gone. It is time to trade in the desserts and comfort foods for healthier options. It seems simple, but it’s easier said than done. It is recommended that adults should consume 1.5-2 cups of fruits daily and 2-3 cups of vegetables daily. Studies have found that only 13% of adults in the United States consume the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables. Find creative meals to incorporate more fruits and vegetables and be sure to fill half your plate with them as well.   

Start an exercise regimen

  • The New Year is a perfect time to start a new exercise routine. Exercise is not only known to help reduce stress but it also has numerous other health benefits. Some of these benefits include reducing the chances of chronic disease such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Regular physical activity also helps reduce chances of obesity and can help maintain healthy weight. Adults are recommended to participate in 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity a week. Start by doing exercises that you enjoy and gradually branch out to try new exercise activities. Always remember some exercise is better than no exercise.

Learn to relax

  • Instead of filling your agenda with events all throughout the week try to make time for days when you don’t have anything to do. It is important to relax in order to recharge your body for other events and activities. Try relaxing with hobbies such as reading, gardening, or taking a walk. During your relaxation time you can do things you enjoy or nothing at all! Just take some time out during the week to decompress and have time to yourself.

Picking your new year’s resolution is just as important as being able to keep up with it. Make being healthy the one resolution that you make and keep this year. Get a healthy start by developing some of these new habits. Be a better, happier, healthier you in 2017. Happy New Year!