So what will your health 2012 resolutions be? I took a look at some of the best advice given over many editions of Longevity from a variety of experts and here are some ideas on resolutions to help you become healthier in 2012.
1) TAKE CONTROL of your health and become the CEO of your health. Get to know and respect your body and mind. It’s not someone else’s responsibility – it is yours, so be as well informed as you can. Self-care is a distinct trend in developed countries. We know the 9,000+ health-related apps in the Apple App Store are expected to balloon to 13,000 by the end of 2012. Having said this, no matter how much you think you know and can manage, you need to be responsible about information used and especially if have a special health condition, you should seek/be under professional medical care.
2) EAT WELL: Your mother/grandmother knew what she was talking about when she told you fresh home cooked meals are best. Good nourishing food is what we all need and make sure you eat yours and include in this the recommended daily requirements of fruit and vegetables. As nutritionist Celynn Erasmus advises: “Ensure 1 to 2 fists of colour in each meal, those high in anti-oxidants.” Cut down on the junk food, transfats “Frankenfats” sugar and salt and don’t let your time pressures get in the way of eating healthy food. Read food labels so you know what’s what and reduce alcohol consumption. DRINK lots of water. Do not starve yourself and get caught in the Yoyo dieting syndrome. All experts will tell you that this will not result in sustained weight management over time. It’s all about a consistent balanced approach over time and moderation, moderation, moderation!
3) EXERCISE: Find an exercise that you like and do it regularly, preferably close to nature and at least 20 minutes a day. Walk 1000 steps, start yoga, join a cycling group, a gym routine/class, join a running club, swim, surf, paddle, play action cricket, play golf, tennis or squash, ride a horse, take up martial arts, go hiking… but whatever you do, make sure you move. There are no excuses now!
4) STRESS LESS: Learn to manage stress, because stress damages your health and wellbeing. Learn to deal with conflict, reduce stressors at work in home, express your views find coping mechanisms through family, friend and colleagues. Do not be afraid to get professional help if you are not managing your stress correctly.
5) SLEEP: Dr Oz says you must get at minimum of 7 hours of sleep! New evidence links inadequate sleep with weight gain, high blood pressure, depression and lowered immunity. Globally, sleep deprivation affects the quality of life of 45% of the world’s population, according to the World Association of Sleep Medicine. Sleep contributes to longevity. Don’t skimp on it!
6) NO SMOKING: Give up smoking. It will contribute negatively to your life expectancy. A recent infographic on http://www.good.is/post/infographic-smoking-around-the-world/ shows that SA still ranks in top 20 countries that smoke – 31% of our population still smokes and by 2030, 8 million people a year will die from tobacco related diseases.
7) MAKE TIME FOR INTIMACY. This may mean different things to different people, but fundamentally love in whatever form it takes makes the world go round and we all need it to feed our souls. Intimacy releases oxytocin, dubbed the “hormone of love” because, in addition to controlling appetite and such female reproductive behaviors as breastfeeding, it is also involved in mother-child and mate bonding. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102093035.htm
8) BECOME A FLEXITARIAN: More conscious people are becoming “Flexitarians,” those that consciously reduce their meat intake for health reasons, but still occasionally enjoy animal protein. One of the best evidences of this trend is the growing popularity and social media following of the nonprofit Meatless Monday initiative, developed in association with John Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health. http://www.thevaluesinstitute.org/.
9) IMPROVE YOUR MOOD: Do not underestimate the power of the mind and mood on your overall sense of wellness. Find ways to be happier. Laughing is very good for you! Small children laugh 300 to 400 times a day on average adults laugh less than 15 times. If you have to, go rent a video to make you laugh or spend time with people who are fun to be with. Smile at people (even if they don’t smile at you). Find the joy. Being happy will really improve your sense of wellness this year.
10) GIVE: They say you have to give to receive and now research shows that those who give more in fact release feel good hormones and feel better about themselves. Giving can be in any way, not just in the material sense, but also of your time or skill to someone who needs it.
11) BE TECHWISE. According to TIME Healthland, “there are more than 5 billion cell phones in the world, and many of us spend our days glued to our devices, bathed in their fields of electromagnetic radiation. So you’d think it would be important to have absolute scientific certainty about whether cell phone use can contribute to the risk of brain cancer. Despite years of studies, however — including a World Health Organization review in May — the answer is still unclear. The bulk of the research has shown no clear method for cell phones’ weak radiation to lead to tumors, but there is enough outlying, epidemiological evidence that some experts recommend using a wired headset, which can greatly reduce radiation exposure. For 5 billion people, safe is better than sorry.” Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2011/12/27/8-health-stories-to-keep-watching-in-2012/#ixzz1iCWnRcTL. In South Africa our vehicle accident rate is one of the highest in the world. So don’t drive and talk on your phone. This is a known health hazard and cause of accidents and death. Then banish the stuff from your bedroom at night so you have tech free zone to chill, spend time with a loved one & be free of any disturbances.
12) LIVE EACH MOMENT: Teach yourself to live each moment and have no regrets. Live a longer, healthier and happier life!
Information for these resolutions was extracted from many different editions of Longevity magazine over time as well as specific references from www.GOOD.com, http://healthland.time.com, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111102093035.htm, and http://www.thevaluesinstitute.org/.
Gisèle WERTHEIM AYMéS is Publishing Editor of Longevity
What are your health resolutions for 2012? We would love to know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or post below. We’ll be giving away 12 annual subscriptions to Longevity magazine for the best 12 resolutions we receive. Have a healthy 2012!