Some of the most common new year's resolutions are to exercise and develop healthier habits. Exercise is crucial in maintaining healthy and pain free joints. Here are some tips for a healthy new year:
1. See physical activity as an opportunity, not an inconvenience. The human body was designed to move, so the message is, stay active for a healthy mind and body.
2. Give yourself an incentive. We all like some recognition for our achievements. So when you reach your goals, give yourself a reward by doing something special.
3. Be realistic. Set realistic goals and write them down. Doing this with a friend or family member can help you keep on track. Its okay to set your goal high but its important to breakdown your goal into achievable milestones.
4. Be prepared. Wear comfortable clothing that is loose fitting and light in weight. Shoes also should be comfortable and well cushioned.
5. Warm up before physical activity. To avoid injuries, include warm up time at the beginning of your activity program. Start slowly and gradually pick up the pace.
6. Find 30 minutes every day. All it takes is 30 minutes a day, preferably every day. Work out your own 30 minute moderate physical activity routine. Brisk walking in 10 minute bursts will
do for a start.
7. Build up slowly. 30 minutes every day is the goal for good health, but if you haven’t been active for a while aim towards achieving this goal over time.
8. Keep it interesting. Trail walking, visiting parks with friends or family, a picnic, visiting old friends, helping with community events or a trip to a market . It’s great if you can combine a social occasion with some fresh air and physical activity.
9. Bend and stretch. Add some stretching exercises to your morning routine. This will help keep your joints flexible and help you move with more freedom and comfort. Think about joining a tái chi or yoga class or taking up swimming.
10. Keep busy around the house. Housework is ideal for some easy bending and stretching. There are also plenty of things in the garden such as weeding and mowing lawns to keep you moving.
11. Make it fun. Decide on a program that includes being active every day and includes activities that you like. There are many forms of exercise from group classes to home work outs. If you like what you are doing, chances are you will stick with it.
12. Park further away. If possible, leave your car a little further away from the shops. It’s often easier to park and you will get a gentle workout.
13. Walk the dog. Rather than just letting your dog out in the backyard, walk it to a park or around the block a few times. Better still, ask a family member or neighbour to join you.
14. Build up your strength. Consider including two or three strength building activities and balance exercises into your routine every week. Carry a bag of groceries. Do chair exercises, wall push-ups and arm curls using weights or food cans.
15. Find strength in numbers. Physical activity is something you can enjoy on your own. But it’s also a great family or social opportunity. Many people find it easier to be active in a group at a set time and place and it’s a good way to maintain your enthusiasm.
16. Record your progress. Keep a diary of your program and record your progress and any changes you notice. If you miss an activity, don’t give up, just pick up from where you left off.
17. Share your progress. These days its easier than ever to share your goals to help inspire others and hold you accountable. Technology such as fitness trackers and websites allow you to share and compete with friends and family.
18. Keep hydrated. Make sure you drink water before, during and after your activity.
19. Warm down after physical activity. As you complete your program, cool down your muscles by slowing the pace before stopping.
20. Consult an expert. If you are just starting your physical activity program, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first. Moderate activities such as walking usually pose little health risk, but it’s always a good idea to check first.