New Year new you

Here, we look at some of the simple steps we can all take to look after our health as we welcome a new year

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Many of us will have resolved to start the New Year with a healthier outlook, and the good news is that often it only takes a few small changes to see a big improvement.

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Here, we look at some of the simple steps we can all take to look after our health in the New Year.

1)      Set yourself a goal

Having an objective to work towards can be a great motivator, so think carefully about the health goals you’d like to achieve this year. For example, if your aim is to walk more, you might want to set yourself a target of 10,000 steps a day. Alternatively, if you want to lose weight, you may decide to try to lose a set amount each month. Be realistic though, setting targets which you’re not likely to meet could cause you to lose heart and give up, so make sure they’re achievable.

2)      Move more

Lots of us have sedentary lifestyles, so look at ways you can do more exercise during the day. If your job involves sitting at a desk for most of the day, make sure you get out at lunchtime for a brisk walk, or consider walking part of your journey to work rather than sitting on the bus or train.

3)      Get more sleep

If you’ve got into a habit of checking your phone just before bedtime, try and stop it, as this can prevent you from sleeping. Make a rule that you put down all screens at least an hour before bedtime, as getting more sleep can help boost your immune system.

4)      Make your own food

If you usually buy a sandwich or fast food for lunch, get into the habit of making and taking your own packed lunch in. That way you’re in control of exactly what goes into it, and you’ll avoid the processed food route.

5)      Choose healthier snacks

Grabbing a packet of crisps or a biscuit when you’re on the go might seem the easy option, but it won’t fill you up. Try going for unsalted nuts if you need a snack, or a piece of fruit. Both have a much greater nutritional value and will make you feel fuller for longer.

6)      Use apps to help you get active

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There are loads of useful apps which you can use to support you in your quest to get healthy this New Year. For example, the NHS’s ‘Couch to 5k’ app is designed to motivate you to run regularly, with a narrator guiding you as to when you need to run and when to walk. You can find out more about Couch to 5k at https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/get-running-with-couch-to-5k/