Weekly Feature

2018-01-24 / Editorials

New opportunities exist for healthy living in new year

With the new year having arrived and the gluttony of the holiday firmly in the rearview mirror, January aptly marks National Healthy Living Month.

“Healthy living” can comprise a multitude of topics and ways of staying fit — from getting a good night’s sleep to committing oneself to exercise habits every day.

One surefire way to keep the calories at a minimum is to let go of the hedonistic eating habits developed during the holiday season. Healthy eating does not have to consist solely of a few shreds of lettuce on a plate. Veggies, fruits, lean meat, seafood, salsas, wraps and stews can prove to be just as popular at your Sunday tailgate as the greasy burgers that so often take up the majority of grill space.

It’s important to remember that alcohol is also packed with calories. It is certainly fine to enjoy your favorite brew, but switch it out for a zero-calorie beverage. The holiday season can be an incredibly stressful time. Rushing around to hunt down the perfect gift, party-hopping or simply spending time with the in-laws can cause one’s stress levels to rise exponentially. Spending at least 15 minutes every day finding pleasure in something that you enjoy, practicing deep-breathing techniques, or even getting bouts of fresh air can help you get back into a level-headed sense of mind now that the rush has passed.

However, exercising regularly is the most effective and efficient way of both reducing stress and maintaining a healthy lifestyle well into the new year. Start slowly. Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of activity on most or all days of the week. Exercise at the same time of day so it becomes a regular part of your lifestyle. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way. It’s also important to keep reasonable expectations for yourself.

It’s easy to develop ways of looking for chances to be more active during the day. Walk the mall before shopping, take the stairs instead of the escalator or opt for 10- to 15-minute breaks while watching TV, perhaps taking a walk or participating in some activity.

Don’t get discouraged if you stop for a while. Get started again gradually and work up to your old pace.

With a combination of these tips, you’ll be able to decompress from the adrenaline trip of the holiday season and more effectively prepare yourself for the busy months ahead. Oftentimes, we tend to slip and follow gluttony with sloth, which never results in a positive or healthy lifestyle for anyone.

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