Despite most people failing to keep their resolutions, many are planning to make 2022 their healthiest year yet. In fact, improving fitness is the most common New Year’s resolution in the UK, with losing weight and diet improvements taking second and third place.
With this appetite for an improved lifestyle in mind, the Medical Director of men’s health platform Manual, Dr Earim Chaudry, has revealed the top New Year’s resolutions that can be achieved and maintained throughout the year, for those looking to become a little bit healthier.
Manage stress levels
When stressed, our bodies produce chemicals – such as corticosteroids, a type of stress hormone – which suppress the functioning of our immune systems. Whilst these chemicals are used for the treatment of conditions such as asthma and arthritis, they reduce the ability of the immune system to do its job.
Keeping a lid on stress – through meditation, mindfulness, or exercise – is an important way to get your immune system working as it should again.
Adopt better sleeping habits
A lack of sleep hampers your ability to fight infection. This is because, during sleep, your immune system releases proteins known as cytokines, which target hostile germs and microbes. Simply speaking, if you don’t get enough sleep, you don’t produce enough of these vital infection-fighting chemicals.
Generally, seven to nine hours of sleep a night is recommended.
Try Veganuary (or eat less meat)
Switching to a plant-based diet can be a great option for those looking to lose weight or those wanting a healthier lifestyle. Red meats are often high in fats and cholesterol, which can cause weight gain.
A vegetarian diet can also do wonders for your skin as fruits and vegetables are high in antioxidants which can prevent ageing. Skin imperfections can also be reduced with a plant-based diet, as red meats and dairy can contribute to acne.
A recent study also found that 84% of vegetarians have a better sex life compared to meat-eaters, with results determining that dietary preference was connected with sexual frequency.
Get more exercise
Exercise can improve many aspects of life, from improving mental health to keeping the heart in good condition. Recent studies have found that regular exercise can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut, reducing inflammation and the risk of inflammatory bowel disease and type-2 diabetes.
If you can, aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, but always consult with your GP before entering into a new exercise regime
No matter what sort of lifestyle improvements you want to achieve health-wise, quitting smoking will always rank highest on the list of priorities for overall health and longevity.
Where poor circulation is concerned, it’s the nicotine found in cigarettes and e-cigarettes that’s the main culprit.
Nicotine harms the walls of your arteries while making your blood thicker, meaning it can’t flow as effortlessly around your body.
Quitting can be hard work, but in the end, it’s always worthwhile. Check-in with the NHS for a range of services to help you stop the habit, and remember, you’re never too old to stop smoking.
Prioritise your mental health
Suicide still remains the biggest single killer of men under 45, and males are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, according to ONS data.
Financial worries, stress at work and stigma around mental health means that many men struggle in silence.
Prioritising your mental health can be a great resolution to adopt in 2022. Reaching out to a friend or even a mental health professional can be a great place to start if you feel as though you are struggling. You can also try practising more mindful exercises such as meditation which can help with anxiety levels.
Cut down on the booze
Alcohol consumption can have negative impacts on many other aspects of your life, including your mental and physical health, finances and relationships with other people.
Cutting down on alcohol can lower blood sugar, increase fitness levels and also help with weight loss.
Alcohol can also make stress and anxiety worse. Drinking less can mean that you feel happier, more of the time, have increased energy levels and also become more clear-headed.