As you ring in the new year, think about the good you can do for your health this year. Be inspired by how the measures you take to improve your own wellbeing will benefit those around you as well.
Here are 10 tips to get the new year off to a healthy start. The key to making them successful is to start small. Try to fulfill at least one of the tips each day and you will see a healthier you throughout the new year.
Drink more water Many of us may not even realize that we may be going through our entire day dehydrated. Dehydration may cause fatigue and even muscle cramps. If you seem to feel tired often, look at what you’re drinking during the day. While it’s ok to enjoy your morning coffee for a boost, be sure to follow it up with just as much water. Continue to stay hydrated with water throughout the day. It’s calorie-free, affordable, and readily available.
Cut down on caffeine. If your beverage of choice is coffee, tea or regular/diet soda, you may experience caffeine overload, which can lead to dehydration and may affect your ability to sleep soundly. Start by replacing one caffeinated beverage each day with a healthier alternative. (Hint: see Tip #1)
Get more Zzzzzzs. If you feel like a zombie day after day, you are not alone. A lack of sleep or poor sleep quality is a likely culprit. Several experts agree that we need seven to nine hours of sleep each night to feel adequately rested.1 Make an effort to go to bed earlier a few nights each week. If you need a little support naturally, consider taking a Nature Made Sleep Supplement which can make it easier to fall asleep.‡† Check with your health professional before taking the supplement if you have health concerns or are taking prescription medication.
Celebrate in moderation. The holidays involve many celebrations, which may include the consumption of alcoholic beverages. If you want to live a healthier lifestyle in the new year, choose to celebrate in moderation. This translates into no more than one drink of alcohol per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men.2 (1 drink = 12oz. of beer, 5oz. of wine or 1.5 oz. of liquor).
If you smoke – QUIT. If you want to quit smoking, reach out for some guidance to figure out which way may be best for you. Smoking-cessation groups can be extremely helpful and supportive. Medications such as a nicotine patch can help decrease cravings. Acupuncture may also be useful. Although it takes tremendous effort and commitment, just remind yourself of those you love to not give up.
Engage your body, mind, and spirit with yoga. If the gym doesn’t work so well for you, try something new and rejuvenating. Yoga uses breathing, stretching, and strengthening postures for a whole-body workout. It also serves as a great stress reliever.
Lift weights. We often forget about the importance of strength training, which is particularly valuable as we get older. To help protect bones and prevent muscle loss that occurs with aging, lift weights or do resistance exercises for 20 minutes two to three times per week. Make this the year to not only get healthier but also stronger.
Focus on eating in moderation – not dieting. With the beginning of the new year, many people start off dieting to lose holiday weight gain. If you deprive yourself too much and remain hungry all day, you’re more likely to overindulge, particularly in the evening. Try eating healthy, mini-meals every few hours to avoid overeating later at night. It will help keep your energy up throughout the day and you’ll be less hungry during the evening hours.
Eat more fish. It’s oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna and sardines that provide healthy Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA). Strong research supports that these Omega-3s protect your heart and brain and keep your body healthy. If you don’t like to eat fish, try a quality fish oil supplement. Nature Made offers an entire line of fish oil products to help meet your nutritional needs.
Get a personalized supplement regimen. It’s important to discuss with your doctor or preferred health care provider what nutrients you may be missing and how you may benefit from nutritional supplements. For example, if you don’t get much sun exposure year-round, you may want to have your vitamin D level checked and supplement accordingly. A daily multivitamin can help fill in the nutritional gaps within your diet. Don’t forget those heart-healthy Omega-3s found in fish oil or flaxseed oil supplements. Visit NatureMade.com to use the easy Vitamin Assessment Tool for a customized supplement plan appropriate for your lifestyle.
‡ Supplements Melatonin, a hormone found naturally in the body.
† These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Lynn is a Registered Dietitian (R.D.) and is a member of the Medical and Scientific Communications team at Pharmavite. She has over 20 years of experience in integrative and functional nutrition and has given lectures to health professionals and consumers on nutrition, dietary supplements and related health issues. Lynn frequently conducts employee trainings on various nutrition topics in addition to educating retail partners on vitamins, minerals and supplements. Lynn has previous clinical dietitian expertise in both acute and long-term care, as well as nutrition counseling for weight management, diabetes, and sports nutrition. Lynn earned a bachelor’s of science in Nutrition with a minor in Kinesiology/Exercise Science from The Pennsylvania State University. She earned a M.S. degree in Human Nutrition from Marywood University in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Lynn is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists, Dietitians in Functional Medicine, and holds a certification in Integrative and Functional Nutrition through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.