Every New Year ushers in hopes for newer opportunities, happiness and success. On the New Year’s Eve, most of us do set some resolutions or list of things to do in the coming year. Often, these are forgotten the very next day but somehow our brain subconsciously registers them. The best way to make sure we fulfill our New Year resolutions is to write them down and declare it in front of family members and well-wishers!
Good health is pivotal to enjoying life to the fullest. So New Year resolutions frequently involve health-related commitments. Here is our take on some of the popular new year resolutions!
Which of these resolutions is there in your list?
Being healthy is perhaps the most popular new year resolution!
Now-a-days media projects an ideal figure as size zero for women and sculpted six packs for men. But, health goes beyond a stereotype figure or disease free body. It is a feeling of being fit to perform everyday activities and enjoying simple pleasures of life. WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
A popular medical survey site reports that about 71% of New Year resolutions are related to making diet more healthy and balanced and improving fitness. There is no rocket science behind weight loss. Most of us do know what’s healthy and what’s not, it’s just about taking that one firm decision and staying committed to it.
The best indicator for measuring obesity is waist circumference especially among Indians. A waist circumference >40 inches for men or > 35 inches for women puts them at increased risk for obesity and related diseases. When we exercise, our goal must be to lose inches (reducing fat around the waist, hips, arms, and thighs) rather than just weight. This way we can ensure that we are losing fat mass and not the essential muscle mass. Slow and steady weight loss is better than rapid and drastic methods.
Smoking kills an average of one person every six seconds. By 2030, the death toll will rise to 8 million a year. Each time a smoker lights up, that single cigarette takes about 5 to 20 minutes off the person’s life.
Lung cancer, caused predominantly by cigarette smoking, is the most lethal of all cancers worldwide, responsible for 1.2 million deaths annually. Nearly 700 million or almost half of the world’s children, breathe air polluted by tobacco smoke, particularly at home.
Quitting smoking takes several attempts, but the journey counts and eventually multiple attempts are often the path to success. Seeking different ways to quit or joining some self-help group can be very useful.
Cut back on alcohol
Common reasons cited for initiating alcohol intake are mainly peer pressure, absent parents, easy money, and rising stress and depression. In today’s fast-paced lifestyle with increased stress accompanied by loneliness, depression and the desire to ‘fit in’; more youngsters are resorting to alcohol as much as adults and elderly.
Like any other food component, alcohol also contributes to total calorie intake with every 1gm providing 7kcal. But these are considered as empty calories as they do not supply energy to the body. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver to produce a toxic end product which gets accumulated in the tissues resulting in disease.
Drinking alcohol in excess affects the brain’s neurotransmitters and can increase the risk of depression, memory loss, or even seizures. Chronic heavy drinking boosts your risk of liver and heart disease, hypertension, stroke, and mental deterioration, and even cancers of the mouth, throat, liver, and breast.
Small amount of stress improves our immunity and gives us an energy boost. But chronic prolonged stress can lead to many disease conditions such as insomnia, depression, obesity, heart disease, and more.
Long work hours, little sleep, no exercise, poor diet, and not spending time with family and friends can contribute to stress. Instead of trying to avoid or run away from stressful situations, we must try to confront and manage them effectively.
Use relaxation techniques to relieve stress
· Maintain positive attitude
· Deep breathing
· Visualization (positive and relaxing images of situation and people we enjoy)
· Progressive muscle relaxation
Get more sleep
Often we compromise on sleeping hours to accommodate other activities and work. But sleep affects both mental and physical health. It’s vital to your well-being.
While we sleep, our brain and body don’t just shut down but rather internal organs and processes are hard at work servicing all aspects of our body in one way or another: molecular, energy balance, as well as intellectual function, alertness and mood.
Sleep helps us to think more clearly, have quicker reflexes and focus better. Less sleep impairs higher levels of reasoning, problem-solving and attention to detail. Research shows that lack of sleep increases the risk for obesity, heart disease and infections.
Although personal needs vary, on average, adults need 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Babies typically sleep about 16 hours a day. Young children need at least 10 hours of sleep, while teenagers need at least 9 hours.
Wishing everyone a very happy & healthy New Year 2016!
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