Each New Year brings the promise of a fresh start. We look forward to making changes that will improve our lives and our health; and with good reason. The way we feel can impact our energy level, outlook, accomplishments and even our confidence. Here are five easy tips for showing your body some love in 2014.
Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety, stress and insomnia, boost creativity and brain power, and even improve your sense of well-being. It is easy to build a regular meditation practice even if you have a very busy schedule. No special equipment is needed. Although there are different kinds of meditation you may want to begin by just taking time to sit in present moment awareness. Take five minutes to sit comfortably in a place where you will not be disturbed. With your spine straight, simply notice your breath moving in and out of your body. When your mind wanders redirect your focus on your breath. You will do this many times. That is okay. Begin again as many times as you need to and celebrate your commitment to cultivating a quiet mind.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. Get that heart rate up in any way that you enjoy and are likely to stick with. That could mean hiking, basketball, dance or aerobics classes or even the treadmill. Just get moving.
Some researchers have gone so far as to say that sitting is the new smoking. In her book, Sitting Kills, Moving Heals: How everyday movement will prevent pain, illness and early death – and Exercise alone won’t, Dr. Joan Varnikos presents evidence that points to the dangerous health outcomes associated with prolonged sitting. Staying active all day can improve overall health, reduce obesity and risk of diabetes.
Follow the 80-20 Rule
Choose foods that contribute to good health at least 80% of the time. The Prevent Cancer Foundation reports that lifestyle choices, including our diet and exercise habits, have a significant impact on cancer risk. Reduce your chances with choices that show your body love.
Always wear your seatbelt, never text and drive, avoid binge drinking and drunk driving. On average someone in the United States dies in a car accident every 13 minutes. There are nearly six times as many injuries as there are car accidents. All of these are preventable.
Make this the year you keep all (or at least most) of the promises you make to yourself. Keep yourself healthy and well enough to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Love your body a little bit every day.