Every year we set resolutions to help us in the long run and improve ourselves. 2020 has been a tough year for many of us, but we can't wait to see what we can achieve in 2021! Improving our physical and mental health are key to keeping us healthy and assisting in coping with any hardships we may be facing.
Here are 10 tips from our Maple Ridge Kinesiologist, Tina, to start your 2021 off right and determine your possible resolutions.
1. Establish S.M.A.R.T goal(s) to assist in changing your health behaviour. The 5 SMART criteria are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Using these criteria can help you to achieve your goals more efficiently.
2. Add 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week. Even 10 minutes of daily cardio exercises such as biking, jogging, or running can help to release endorphin chemical substance which reduces the pain perception in your body and also boost your mood. The body and mind are connected, so physical activity can help to boost your energy level and get a positive perspective of life.
3. Make daily stretches and joint controlled articular range of motion a habit. Our joints require movement to stay healthy. The movement not only nourishes the joint as the blood flow increases but it also assists to improve the range of motion over time.
4. Add variety to the types of foods you’re eating. We require different micro and macronutrients to stay healthy and not a single food provides them all. So, it's about balanced food choices. It’s recommended that the majority of our foods come from plant-based products such as whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables as they are nutrient-dense. Pro Tip: You can always find useful info about healthy eating by checking the Canada Food Guide website.
5. Reduce your simple carbohydrate intake. Cut products containing refined carbohydrates and simple sugar such as white rice, bread, cookies, and candies. Simple sugars elevate your blood insulin level faster and provide you with energy for a shorter period of time. However, complex carbs (which originate from legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables) release the energy at a slower rate and can keep you energized for a longer period of time.
6. Cut processed and fast foods as much as possible. Processed/fast foods generally contain fewer vitamins and minerals and higher calorie levels along with fat, sugar, and salt. Your main goal should be to cut saturated fat, sugar, and salt intake as much as possible.
7. Drink plenty of water. Around 60% of your body is made up of water. Thus, enough water intake is essential to keep the body hydrated. Besides, water can help to increase the metabolic rate by 24-33%, which assists in weight loss. Generally, the water intake recommendation for women and men are 2.7L and 3.7L respectively. This value can change depending on your activity level and the types of food you’re eating.
8. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start your day with a glass of warm lemon water. It helps to detoxify your body, boost your metabolism, and assist your digestive system. Make your breakfast protein- and fibre-rich. The types of foods you ingest at breakfast will set your metabolism for the rest of the day.
9. Get enough sleep. Poor sleep can impact the appetite hormone and also disturb the mental and physical performance. So, a night of good quality sleep is essential to improve your quality of life.
10. Get your mind off of any negative thoughts and avoid overthinking. To achieve that, you can simply distract yourself with a positive and healthy alternative. It can be anything like dance, meditation, yoga, fishing, or drawing. Find YOUR individualized healthy alternative and stick to it.
All of these tips can contribute to lower your stress and improve your mental and physical health in the long run. Make these changes gradually, but stick with it! Create the right approach with a proper mind frame to accomplish your goals. It’s just a matter of time!
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American College of Sports Medicine. (2018). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription. Walter Kulwer.
Canada Food Guide. (2020). Retrieved from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
Revila, M. Titchenal, A. Calabrese, A. Gibby, C. Meinke, B. (2018). University of Hawai‘i. https://pressbooks.oer.hawaii.edu/humannutrition/front-matter/preface/