Looking for a new goal this New Year?

From Dr David Crichton, Chair of the Doncaster CCG

The New Year is always a good time to try to get in shape, and new year’s resolutions are great to make positive changes.  After the winter festivities, we often feel a bit out of shape if we eat or drink too much and have not had much activity and fresh air.  A combination of these can make us feel lethargic  which can see our  physical health suffer and our mental health can also be affected.   The good news is both can be boosted through positive lifestyle changes, which can help boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk developing long-term illnesses, stress and depression.

A fresh start could look like moving your body more, eating healthily, dropping a bad habit or picking up a good habit.

Becoming more active
No matter how much you do, physical activity is good for your body and mind.

A daily brisk walk can boost your energy, lift your mood and make everyday activities easier.  People who do regular physical activity have:

  • a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • a lower risk of type 2 diabetes

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.

Stopping smoking
Half of all long-term smokers die early from smoking-related diseases, including heart disease, lung cancer and chronic bronchitis. Stopping smoking is the single best thing you can do for your health and there is help available from your local NHS so you can quit smoking for good.

When you stop smoking, you give your lungs the chance to repair and you will be able to breathe easier.

It’s never too late to quit – you can visit the NHS Smokefree website, or call the Smokefree National Helpline to speak to a trained adviser on 0300 123 1044.

Drink less
Cutting back on alcohol can be a really effective way to improve your health, boost your energy, lose weight and save money.  Any reduction in the amount you drink every week will be beneficial to both your physical and mental health.

One simple way to cut down is to have at least a few drink-free days every week,  You can also download the NHS Drink Free Days app where you can update and track your drink-free days as well getting simple and practical tips to help you control your drinking.

January also sees the annual campaign Dry January.  People who take part in Dry January are twice as likely to have a totally alcohol-free month.  A month without any alcohol has a lots of benefits which include:

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Reduces diabetes risk
  • Lowers cholesterol
  • Reduces levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.

Cut down on sugar in your food and drink

Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, which increases your risk of long-term health conditions, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

By cutting down on sugary fizzy drinks by substituting them for water, lower-fat milks, or sugar-free, diet and no added sugar drinks. You can also make simple swaps for a bowl of sugary breakfast cereal to plain cereals such as porridge oats which contain vitamins, minerals and fibre.

Some packaging uses a colour-coded system that makes it easy to choose foods that are lower in sugar, salt and fat. Look for more ‘greens’ and ‘ambers’ and fewer ‘reds’ in your shopping basket.

Choosing healthier foods is easier than you may think. Visit the NHS Livewell website to find out more about small changes you can make when you have your next meal or drink.

To help you on your journey, here are some of the most common New Year health resolutions, with links to help you get started and achieve your goal:

Whether it’s new exercise, new foods or new habits, there are lots of simple ways to kickstart your health in 2022.

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