5 Exercise and Lifestyle Tips to Create a Happier and Healthier You this New Year

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Rachel Hawkins (Accredited Practicing Dietitian & Nutritionist)

If you are trying to live a happier and healthier life this New Year, it’s not just enough to focus on the foods you eat.

Read our article 10 Healthy Eating Tips to Get You Back on Track this New Year, Minus the Diet. Exercise, sleep and social relationships are also important. Small changes to these areas can improve your overall health and wellbeing. Follow these 5 exercise and lifestyle tips to make your New Year’s wishes come true and be well on your way to becoming a happier and healthier you in 2020!

Be active on most, preferably all, days of the week.

Exercise is incredibly beneficial for our overall health and wellbeing. It promotes good cardiovascular and mental health and can also be used to strengthen and maintain our musculoskeletal system. Australia’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that people be active on most, preferably all, days of each week. Aim to complete a mix of cardiovascular and strength-based exercise each week. And remember, any form of exercise is better than none!

Learn to love exercise

Exercise shouldn’t be undertaken as a punishment for your dietary choices or solely for aesthetic purposes. It should be undertaken because you enjoy it and like the way it makes you feel. Improve your relationship with exercise by finding a form of exercise that you love. Working out with a friend has also been shown to increase exercise enjoyment and help people stick with it long term.

Develop a healthy routine.

Success is determined by the things we do every day. This is particularly true in relation to improving our health, therefore the importance of developing a healthy routine to support lifestyle changes should not be overlooked. Develop a list of practical strategies that you can use to help prioritise your health and fitness. This may include scheduling a time to exercise, meal planning, limiting screen time at night and establishing a nighttime routine to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Get more sleep.

Because life is so busy, sleep can often be seen as less important than other activities, however it is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Good quality sleep provides our body with a chance to rest, recharge and reset so that we can function at our best. Poor sleep can disrupt appetite hormones, reduce physical and mental performance and increase your risk of weight gain. Everybody thrives on a different amount of sleep; however, 7 hours seems to be the sweet spot for most adults.

Prioritise your relationships.

Social relationships are incredibly important for mental health and wellbeing. Having good social connections is associated with lower rates of anxiety and depression and higher self-esteem. Consider the relationships that you currently have, and the type of relationships that you would like to have. Invest time into building a group of people around you that care about you, and who you also care about. Your body and mind will reap the rewards.