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New Year, New You

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Author: Holly Hannigan, Posted: Monday, 17th December 2018, 09:00

It’s that time of year again, after the festive over-indulgence, when people make New Year’s resolutions that are rarely kept for more than a few weeks! New years can often make us reflect on what’s not serving us or what has been holding us back over the past year, and so we say out with the old and in with the new, time to make some changes.

The most common ones are to eat healthier, to get fitter (often resulting in a massive influx of gym memberships), to stop smoking and to do more of something you love. These are all great ideas in theory and if you need to make positive changes then the first step is having a positive mindset about it.

When it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle, there are some great free or inexpensive ways to start.

Walking

Walking is great because it’s free and easy for most people to do. Counting steps on a watch or app has become common, but there is no need for that. Simply getting out in the fresh air and being around nature, walking for 30 minutes a day will:

• Increase cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness

• Reduce risk of heart disease and stroke

• Improve management of conditions such as hyper-tension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes

• Stronger bones and improved balance

• Increase muscle strength and endurance

• Reduce body fat

If you are feeling slightly more energetic then you can advance to running and some local parks now have outdoor exercise equipment which is free to use and can be a very effective workout aid.

Cycling

Dig out your old bike that’s been pushed to the back of the shed or garage, or get online and find a cheap, second hand one and get out cycling. This is especially great if you have kids, as you can all go on family bike rides. Along with the previous benefits of walking/running, cycling also improves posture, coordination and joint mobility.

Swimming

If swimming is more your thing, then head down to your local pool for session times and reap the added benefit of an all over body workout that is low impact.

Exercise in whatever form you choose to do it not only has physical health benefits, but it also boosts your mood, increases self-esteem, improves sleep quality and energy, along with string evidence to suggest it reduces the risk of dementia and mental health issues.

So this new year, make the most of what you already have available to you, to lead a healthier lifestyle that improves your physical and mental wellbeing without hurting your bank balance.

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