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Ten New Year Wellbeing Tips

Start the New Year the right way using the wellness tips provided by Peter Bell, Fitness Manager at Rockliffe Hall 

1. Avoid Junk Food

Although avoiding junk food is deemed as stating the obvious with regard to healthy eating, we still struggle to eliminate junk food from our diet. Believe it or not, food manufacturers often create foods with the goal of igniting that cycle of addiction in consumers. They aim for the bliss point; this is the point that the eater experiences the ultimate pleasure with the sweet and fatty flavours.

These combinations are hard to resist and your brain reacts in a way as with cocaine and other addictions.

One of the key strategies is to think about junk food differently. A 2013 study showed that when people were trained to look at junk food in a major negative light, the desire for it lessened.

2. Drink the recommended daily allowance of water

During the winter months we tend to consume a lot less water and steer towards a preference of hot drinks. Most people associate dehydration with sweltering summer days, or over exertion in hot and humid climates. Research claims that more people are dehydrated during the winter months compared to the summer months.

Research also states that although we sweat less, we lose a lot of moisture in cold weather, but without sweat as an indicator. Therefore, since we do not necessarily associate dehydration and cold weather, we can make less of a point to stay hydrated. Remember hot caffeinated drinks can cause dehydration. As well as drinking water try and get water from the foods you eat, such as vegetables and fruit.

3. Eat vegetables

vegetables are important as they are a good source of vitamins and minerals and an excellent source of dietary fibre, which is essential to maintain a healthy gut. Worryingly, research informs us that as each decade goes by, we are consuming less vegetables, and more worryingly the younger generation are consuming even less!

Vegetables are classed as a dieter’s best friend, because most are ‘free’ foods, meaning that you can eat an unlimited amount. The reason behind this lean indulgence is because of a neat little biomechanical quirk that only veggies enjoy: the body uses almost as many calories to digest calories as they are vegetables in the first place. Try to make vegetables the main centrepiece of a meal and let the other food groups accompany them.

4. Eat healthy fats

Healthy high fat foods are not something to shy away from; the body needs a certain amount of fat from the diet to aid hormone function, memory and the absorption of specific nutrients. Including healthy fats in a meal also creates the sense of fullness, slows down the digestion of carbohydrates and adds flavour to food.

The healthiest fats are monosaturated and polysaturated fats, which include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

5. Keep Active

Exercise is the miracle cure we have always had, but for too long we have neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence. Whatever your age, there is strong scientific evidence suggesting that being physically active can help lead to a healthier and happy life.

Those who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing many long-term chronic conditions, research shows that exercise can also boost self-esteem, mood sleep quality and energy.

‘If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented’, says Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.

Recommended daily activity levels to maintain a healthy lifestyle are at least 150 minutes aerobic activity, moderate intensity per week. Do strengthening exercises that work all the major muscles at least two days per week, the more physical activity you do the better.

6. Relax More

A certain amount of stress is necessary to deal with difficult situations in our everyday lives. Physical changes in our bodies occur, enabling us to take action, which fades quickly once the problem we have encountered has gone. If we stay in a state of high stress for too long, it can be damaging to our health.

Why relaxation is important is that when we relax the flow of blood increases around our body giving us more energy, it helps us have a calmer and clearer mind, which aids positive thinking, concentration, memory and decision making. Relaxation slows our heart rate, reduces our blood pressure and relieves tension. it also aids digestion as we absorb essential nutrients more efficiently when relaxed, which helps to fight off disease and infection.

‘Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax’, says Mark Black

7. Be more positive

Psychology researcher Suzanne Segerstrom claims that optimists are psychologically and physiologically healthier. Even if positive thinking does not come naturally to you, there are plenty of great reasons to start cultivating affirmative thoughts and minimising negative self-talk.

Researchers have found that immunity is one area where your thoughts and attitudes can have a particular influence. They claim that activation in the brain areas associated with negative emotions led to a weaker immune response to viruses.

8. Be kind

Science shows that as children we are biologically wired to be kind and we can further develop this trait with practice and repetition. Sometimes however due to outside influences and the stress of our day to day lives, we can lose this inherent ability.

Besides kindness improving personal relationships, it can also make you healthier. Doing kind thigs for others helps boost your serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of satisfaction and wellbeing. Like exercise you also release endorphins, which is known as the ‘helpers high’. A study on happiness from the University of Columbia reported that being kind to others can be one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep anxiety at bay.

9. Reduce alcohol intake

The recommended allowance of alcohol is 14 units per week, which is the equivalent to 6 pints of average strength beer or 10 small glasses of low strength wine. The largest and most detailed research claims that even the occasional drink is harmful to your health and suggest that governments should think of advising people to abstain completely.

Although national guidelines claim there are some health benefits to one or two glasses of wine or beer per day, the results from the above-mentioned research claim there is no benefit at all from consuming alcohol. Taking into consideration it would be difficult for most people to completely give up alcohol, I think it is safe to say that simply reducing your alcohol consumption will lower the risk.

10. Be consistent 

Consistency in maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to maximising health benefits. Your ‘why’ or ‘your wellness’ why is the deep rooted, emotional reason behind wanting to change. When you know your ‘why’ and become committed to it, this can propel you forward, giving you the motivation to stay consistent.

Without a strong ‘why’, it is unlikely you will follow through with the time and effort required for successfully sustaining your long-term goals.   

You can contact the Rockliffe Hall team at any time by calling 01325 729999 or emailing enquiries@rockliffehall.com

In light of the advice of the Government and Public Health England, Rockliffe Hall is temporarily closed until further notice. Read our latest update in relation to Covid-19.