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Top Tips For a Healthier New Year

For many of us the start of a new year is the perfect time to start looking at our health habits and see if there are any areas that we can improve on, and let’s face it, there are many ways we can get healthier. But with the New Year also being the beginning of a new decade, it seems the ideal time to look deeper and see exactly how we could be making changes to our lives.

A study in 2019 of nearly three million people found that severely obese people had a much higher chance (50%) of dying early than participants who maintained a healthy weight. By combining a healthy diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do, you can prolong your life significantly.

There are many different ways you can maintain a healthy diet including reducing your intake of “ultra-processed” foods as they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and in some cases, cause premature death. A study in 2019 found that packaged snacks and ready meals were both usually high in fat, sugar, and salt meaning that by dropping these types of foods from your diet you can increase your health significantly.

While we are looking at diets, 2020 could be the year you reduce your intake of meat. The average person should only be eating 7 grams of meat each day, which equates to roughly one bite of a sausage. By reducing your meat intake you not only reduce your chances of an early death, but you will also be doing your bit to help the planet.

However, it is important that you maintain your vitamin intake. Researchers at the University of Oxford in England have announced that a low-meat diet could increase the risk of a stroke due to the lack of vital vitamins that meat provides. Maintaining a low meat diet – or even going vegetarian or vegan – can be healthy so long as you make sure you are getting your nutritional needs.

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If you are a coffee addict – and with Starbucks making sales of $19.7 billion in America alone it appears we all certainly are – than you may worry about the impact caffeine could be having on your health. While we have been told that our daily intake could be stiffening our arteries, therefore causing heart issues, recent research states that so long as you do not drink coffee in the later part of your day, you should be fine.

It is not just our diets that we should be looking at. 2020 could be the year we start setting our alarms earlier. A recent study shows that by getting up at a decent hour can bring improvements to both your physical and mental health. Even those who stay up late found that by setting their alarms two hours earlier than their normal waking time, woke up feeling more refreshed and able to face the day ahead.

Another great way to live longer is to have children. While many parents up and down the country may feel this is incorrect, a study from early 2019 indicated that our immune systems become “refreshed” when our children head off to kindergarten. It is a known fact our immune systems can start to weaken throughout our lives, however, the many infections that our children bring home from school will help parents to keep their immune systems healthy.

Obviously having children is a huge social responsibility, not just in our own lives but also in relation to our planet, so having children is an important decision that should not be taken lightly.

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If you are still not sure what you should be doing for a healthier life why not try asking for help? Alexa, Siri and Google all offer health advice – with Alexa joining forces in the UK with their NHS to offer specific tips – and it could be the easiest way to find out what you should and should not be doing.

Or why not download a few apps? There are many apps available from professionals to help you lose weight, get fit, stop smoking and reduce your drinking as well as self affirmation apps to help you get through your day.

If the gym is not really your thing or you are not part of a sports team it can be hard to maintain a good level of exercise. Yet just one jog a week can lower the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Running for less than 50 minutes a week at a speed of around 8kmph should see a significant improvement in your overall health.

Finally one of the most important ways to improve your mental health is to increase your positivity. Research proves that happier people live to around 85 years old – and some even longer.

By looking at the positive side of things, as well as believing good things are heading your way, you should be able to balance your behavior and emotions easier as well as handle stress more productively. Positive thinking people also seem to have healthier habits, which will also be an improvement on their health.

However you decide to spend the next year – and decade – we hope you all have a happy and healthy time.