What are your New Year’s resolutions this year? Chances are at least some of them involve being healthier, and probably all of them relate in some way to being happier. What’s more, these elements are closely inter-related: generally speaking, the healthier you are, the happier you will be.
In this article, we will cover some resolutions you should consider if you wish to be healthier (and happier) in 2019, as well as some actionable advice on how you can achieve them.
The majority of smokers are likely heading into the new year with a resolution, or at least a vague hope, of quitting smoking. Stopping smoking can be extremely tough: the majority of people trying to quit for the first time will relapse sooner or later. In fact, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that it will take 8 to 11 attempts on average to stop smoking.
It is worth persevering however: quitting smoking has incredible health benefits. Within a short space of time following your last cigarette, your immune system is boosted, blood circulation improves, and your lungs begin to repair meaning you can literally breathe easier. Longer term, risk of lung, oesophageal, kidney and pancreatic cancer, as well as heart disease, are significantly reduced. If all of that was not enough of a reason to quit, quitting smoking has been shown to improve mental health and emotional wellbeing – so it will make you happier!
One way to make it easier to quit, which has been recommended by experts such as Public Health England, is to use e-cigarettes.Vaping is so effective because it means you can immediately eliminate the over 4000 harmful chemicals and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke without cutting off your nicotine supply. You can then gradually step down your nicotine intake in a controlled way, by using e-liquids with lower nicotine content. Vaping also has the advantage of mimicking the act of smoking, which helps you to break the habitual addiction as well as the nicotine additional. There are now a range of mods which can make e-cigarettes more appealing: check out these top 5 vape mods for example!
This has to be one of the most common New Year’s resolutions. Whether to lose weight, get fit, or simply to get more active, many people will be heading into 2019 with the resolution to exercise more. Smokers will also find that this resolution is closely tied to quitting: with better lung function and more oxygen available in the blood once you give up smoking cigarettes, exercise will be a lot more enjoyable, making it much easier to start a new fitness regime.
For anyone, establishing (or returning to) a regular fitness routine can be a challenge. Routines which require a high time commitment can be difficult to balance with other commitments as part of a busy lifestyle, and staying motivated to stick to the routine in the long term can be tough.
For this reason, it is important not to overcommit. Before setting your New Year’s fitness goals, realistically plan out how much time and money you can dedicate to exercise. Be sure to think about this in terms of months and years, not just weeks: you want to establish and long-term fitness routine that you will stick to.
If you are not sure what goals to set, experts recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate exercise, 3 times a week, so this is a good place to start. Moderate exercise could be a brisk walk, jogging, swimming, light weights training, or a dance class. You can always step up your commitment from there!
Eat More Fruit and Vegetables
There are always new fads and trends when it comes to an optimal healthy diet. We are constantly being told to eat more carbs, less carbs, more protein, less protein, less fat, or more fat. However, one thing which is fairly comprehensively agreed by nutritionists and health experts, is that it is essential to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Official UK guidelines state to eat a minimum 5 of serves (in total) of vegetables and fruit a day, one serve being defined as 80g. Some people, however underestimate the size of a serving, so it is important to know what this is and make sure you eat enough! For example, one serve of cooked vegetables is equal to 3 heaped tablespoons. For uncooked spinach or salad greens such as lettuce, one complete serve is two double handfuls – nearly a whole pre-packed bag. One apple, banana or pear counts as one serve, whereas for smaller fruit you will need to have more to make a complete serving: two plums, 2 kiwi fruit, 3 apricots or 7 strawberries.
If you struggle to get enough vegetables into your or your family’s diet, there are a few tricks you can use. Always include a salad or some vegetables with each meal, and have a few pieces of fruit as snacks throughout the day, and you will quickly meet your recommended dailyservings. If you find this a challenge, you could try making fruit and veggie smoothies to boost your intake. You can also incorporate vegetables into a variety of dishes: add chopped carrots to your Bolognese sauce, put sweet corn, mushrooms or red peppers on your pizza, and mix some kidney beans or peas into your soups and sauces.
If you are hoping to embrace 2019 as a healthier, happier version of yourself, the answer is simple: exercise more, eat better, and give up smoking! That much may seem obvious, but all of these are easier said than done.