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2017 is finally here, and many of us have already chalked out our New Year resolutions. But this year let’s be different. Instead of having a resolution around how we look, let’s aim towards, ‘how we feel’.

Instead of counting calories and aiming to become a size zero, how about setting goals that are centered on health and holistic well-being than external appearance? Here are some resolutions that are worthy to be there on your list:

Indulge in more exercise: Though it is easier said than done, one can easily achieve this goal by making minor alterations to their daily schedule. For instance, walking or biking instead of driving, and taking stairs instead of the lift or elevator can alleviate one’s fitness level. There is a principle in the exercise known as FITTE. The acronym stands for frequency, intensity, time, type, and enjoyment. The last ‘E’ is the most important one. You should try to discover a physical activity that you can enjoy.

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If you like tennis, search for a facility that offers the sport. Similarly, if you love dancing, opt for a dance-based workout like Zumba. In fact, do whatever you like, but make sure that involves enough movement and muscle engagement. Just because jogging and running are more common forms of cardio exercises, you don’t have to stick to just those. If you like a particular activity, it is more likely that you will engage in it often. Therefore, try out a wide variety of activities to find the one that you like the most.

Cut the use of medications: Though pain medications give instant relief, it is imperative to evaluate its potential benefits along with the risk and side-effects. Excessive reliance or usage of pain medications can lead to fluid retention, digestive disorders, kidney damage and so on. Therefore, think twice before reaching out for your medicine cabinet. It is advised to refrain from self-medication and always consult a physician before taking any medication.

Quit smoking: In addition to causing cancer, lung disease, and respiratory problems, smoking is likely to manifest underlying symptoms and ailments.

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Smoking curtails blood flow to the kidneys and interferes with medicines which are used for treating blood pressure and other ailments. Though you might find it daunting to quit smoking, it is one of the most effective ways to bring positive change to your lifestyle.

Stay active: Long period of sitting at one place can have a serious impact on your health, and can even reduce the life expectancy. This rings true even for people who are otherwise healthy. Though sitting for an extended period of time is common these days, thanks to our blue-collared desk jobs, but most of us go beyond that. Watching TV and driving are some of the other examples of daily activities that involve no movement. While it is difficult to resist the temptation of sitting down at all time, how about infusing a little creativity? For instance, use a standing desk while working or walk when talking on the phone. These minor changes in your day-to-day life can make a big difference.

Get more sleep: Do you consider sleeping a waste of time? Do you think that three or five hours a day enough? Or you make up for a sleep deficit during the weekend? If the answer to these questions is yes, it’s time to change your relationship with sleep. Limited hours of sleep every night can increase your blood pressure (BP) which in turn makes a person susceptible to cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

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It can result in the production of stress hormones and cause cognitive impairment as well. Therefore, rectify your sleeping schedule and hit the sack early. A minimum of 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night is recommended for a healthy body and mind.  Your body needs time to recover from the stress that it goes throughout the day. When you sleep, cells in your body produce proteins to repair damaged cells. So, cuddle and snooze your way to a healthy body and mind.

Reconnect with Mother Nature: When was the last time you travelled to a place without your mobile phone? Don’t fret, if your answer is ‘I don’t remember’. In today’s fast-paced life, it is hard to imagine a day without gizmos and gadgets. Start the year with a face-off with Mother Nature. Leave your smartphone or tablet at home and take a walk to a nearby park or go on a hiking trail with friends. Take regular breaks from your smartphones and other portable electronic devices to meditate and unwind. Your weekend away from gadgets is a healthy way to reconnect not only with yourself but also with friends and family.

De-clutter your house: Retaining junk and trash in the house is referred to hoarding which is often linked to depression and anxiety. So, instead of allowing clutter to take over your mood, declutter and remove all unused and old items from the house. The rule is simple, if you have something in your home that you haven’t used in a while, it’s time to bid goodbye to those things.  For example, donating old clothes, books, utensils, etc. is noble as well as a therapeutic exercise. It symbolizes freedom. Therefore, resist hoarding and live in a decluttered home.

Buy health insurance: While all the above points will keep your body and mind healthy, it is highly recommended to buy a health insurance that will come handy just in case something goes wrong. In the present scenario when medical inflation is all time high, failing to hold on to a comprehensive health insurance policy can be financially draining. It could push an individual into a financial crisis and even abyss of poverty due to escalating medical bills. But a comprehensive health insurance can shield you from soaring medical costs. Moreover, if you already have a health insurance policy or corporate health cover, you can expand your coverage with a super top-up policy that covers you once a particular threshold limit is crossed.

Remember, no journey is perfect, and the road that leads to optimum health is indeed long. You might have bumps along the way, but you should be ready to pick yourself up and get back on track. Above all, it is necessary to acknowledge your progress and recognize how far you have come by celebrating your success; no matter how small it is.

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