A new year brings opportunity for a new you

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

(BPT) – The new year is widely accepted as a time to start fresh, and every year people make resolutions to better themselves. For many, this means vowing to make lifestyle changes to improve how they look and feel. However, sticking to restrictive diets and intense workout programs can be difficult and not sustainable for most people. Before you get hooked by the annual flood of diet tips and gym promotions, focus on a few key areas to commit to a healthier lifestyle for 2013.

Consume whole foods

Adding more whole foods into your everyday diet is a natural way to obtain the nutrients your body craves without feeling like you’re making a drastic change. One of the easiest ways to do this is by incorporating fresh juices into your daily routine. Whole-food juicing is a quick and easy way to get several servings of fruits and vegetables at once, making it a perfect on-the-go solution for those juggling hectic schedules. Simply toss whole fruits, vegetables, or a combination of both into a high-performance blender like a Vitamix, and then add ice. In seconds, you’ll have a delicious, nutrient-packed beverage, plus the fiber from the whole foods to keep you full longer. A variety of recipes to suit any taste is offered at Vitamix.com, making eating more whole foods something you’ll actually enjoy.

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Add more exercise

It’s not unusual for a person to drive from a desk job to the drive-thru at a fast food restaurant, and then go directly to the couch to watch television. It isn’t surprising that lack of exercise is an issue for many Americans, and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to a number of health concerns, regardless of weight. Incorporating exercise into a daily routine is important and can have many health benefits. To begin living a more active lifestyle, experts recommend starting slowly and building up length and intensity of physical activity. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym to reap the benefits of exercise; use the stairs, go for a walk, take a bike ride, or play with your dog or children to get moving and start looking and feeling better.

Rest up

Although jam-packed schedules make it seem like there aren’t enough hours in the day, it’s extremely important to set aside enough time to rest and recharge. Getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night allows for optimal mental and physical performance, and making sleep a priority can have significant impact on overall well-being. To enjoy the many benefits adequate sleep offers, adopt a bedtime routine at the same time each night. Avoid food and drink for 30 minutes prior to going to sleep and stay away from computers, televisions and other screens. Instead, enjoy a relaxing activity, such as reading or meditating, to help you fall asleep.

De-stress daily

Stress can cause many mental, emotional and physical health issues, and long periods of high stress can have debilitating effects. To avoid lasting health problems, learn to recognize stress and how to deal with it effectively. Despite your busy schedule, making time for yourself each day is important and can help you avoid severe stress problems. Whether it is taking a walk, playing an instrument, practicing yoga or even calling an old friend, do something you enjoy every day. It’s also important to make sure you are getting enough exercise, sleep and proper nutrition to help your body deal with the physical effects of stress.

With a few adjustments to your daily activities, you can look forward to a happy, healthy new year and beyond.