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Make These 12 Lifestyle Changes For A Healthy New Year (And Beyond)

14/12/2015 8:34 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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It's almost time to bid farewell to this year and welcome the one that lies ahead. It's time for introspection, time to break old resolutions and make some new ones. It's time for a reality check! Did you stick to the health resolutions you made last year? Kudos to you if you did! But don't lose heart if you fell off the wagon by the end of first month. Let bygones be bygones!

Healthy living is not a matter of one day, one month or even one year. It is and it should be ingrained in your system for life. The following everyday simple lifestyle tips will ensure that you have a happy, healthy, stress free and successful life for years to come.

1. Stay in motion

Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Do what you like doing the most and make a commitment to do it every day until it becomes a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don't give up if you've decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn't for you. It easier to keep fitness goals when you have a friend to help push you along when you're down (and vice versa), so find your fitness accountability partner.

It easier to keep fitness goals when you have a friend to help push you along when you're down

2. Follow a healthy diet

Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein-rich foods, healthy fats such as those found in olive oil, fish, nuts and seeds have impressive health benefits. Obesity, elevated blood sugar, increased blood pressure, and other factors that raise your risk of heart disease and diabetes are improved by eating healthy. One of the best ways to eat clean is to reduce or eliminate the consumption of processed foods. These foods often contain excess calories, sugar, fat and unhealthy preservatives. In fact, one of the best lifelong resolutions you can make is not to buy those namkeens and biscuits from the store. Take time out and make snacks at home like your mom or grandma did -- add less salt while preparing food as sodium leads to water retention and high blood pressure.

3. Incorporate more antioxidants

When your body breaks down food it produces molecules called free radicals. Over time, the damage from these substances can result in conditions like cancer, inflammation and heart disease, and also increase your susceptibility to infections.

Antioxidants, found in fruits, vegetables and tea, help your body fight free radicals and can protect you from a number of diseases. Pomegranates, coffee, green tea and dark chocolate are rich sources of antioxidants.

4. Quit smoking

Smoking is the most preventable cause of premature death worldwide. Smokers have a higher risk of developing many chronic disorders, including atherosclerosis, which can lead to coronary heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Heart disease can be prevented and quitting smoking is a big part of it.

5. Drink in moderation

Heart disease is less common in moderate drinkers than in people who don't drink at all. But too much alcohol bloats the belly, boosts blood pressure and can cause a host of other health problems.

6. Floss your teeth

Bacteria in your mouth can lead to serious problems if you neglect oral health. One simple thing you can do to head off bacteria is floss your teeth. Brushing teeth once after waking up and once before going to bed should be part of your daily routine.

Sleeping less than five hours per night puts you at greater risk of premature death, so make getting those Zs a priority.

7. Get enough sleep

Adequate sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle, and can benefit your heart, weight, mind and more. Getting enough good quality sleep can lower the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and mood disorders. Sleeping less than five hours per night puts you at greater risk of premature death, so make getting those Zs a priority.

8. Find a life partner

Several studies show that married people tend to outlive their single counterparts. Glenn Stanton, director of Global Family Formation Studies explains that "married people benefit from the regular advice to 'Eat your vegetables', 'Get a good night's sleep', 'Don't drive so fast', and 'How many donuts have you eaten today?' Children receive this guidance from their parents, but even adults benefit from regular motivation to make healthy choices."

9. Practice spirituality

Research shows that things such as positive beliefs, comfort and strength gained from religion, meditation and prayer can contribute to healing and a sense of wellbeing. According to WebMD, "People who attend religious services tend to live longer. The strong social network that develops among people who worship together may contribute to their overall health." Improving your spiritual health may not cure an illness, but it may help you feel better, prevent some health problems and help you cope with illness, stress or death.

10. Let go!

Letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Remember, you don't forgive someone for his or her sake -- you forgive them for your sake. Forgiveness will reduce anxiety, lower your blood pressure and help you to breathe more easily. These benefits tend to increase as you get older. Well, let's practice forgiveness then.

Letting go of grudges has surprising physical health benefits. Remember, you don't forgive someone for his or her sake -- you forgive them for your sake.

11. Make health-conscious friends

Friends might help you live longer. Australian researchers found that elderly people with friends were less likely to die over a 10-year period compared to people with the fewest friends. Your friends' habits rub off on you, so look for companions with healthy lifestyles. A recent study found that your chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if you have a friend who becomes obese.

12. Manage stress

According to Dr Dean Ornish, MD, lifestyle changes such as stress management help to both prevent and reverse heart disease. Although avoiding stress altogether is not a viable option for most people, there are effective ways to control it. Try yoga, meditation or deep breathing. Even a few minutes a day can make a difference in your life.

Incorporate the above habits and start your healthy journey today. Have a healthy and happy 2016 - and many other years ahead.

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