When it comes to making new year’s resolutions, your wellbeing often comes top of the list. Here are some tips on how to make sure you achieve your goals in 2012.
It can be a struggle for office-bound workers to find time to exercise and, as a result, fitness levels can suffer.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) suggests both employees and employers resolve to make health in the workplace a priority in the new year.
Professor Mike Kelly, public health director at NICE, points out that physical activity is essential for good health, contributing to both physical and mental wellbeing. It also helps to prevent or manage conditions including heart disease, diabetes, some cancers and obesity.
‘Workers aren’t always active enough to benefit their health, so we’re recommending ways that employers can encourage staff to increase their levels of physical activity on their way to work, or during the day,’ he says.
These include providing information about walking or cycling routes and encouraging employees to walk or cycle some or all of the way to and from work.
Becoming more active is also recommended by Arthritis Research UK, who have funded research exploring the connection between healthy bodies and pain-free joints.
‘This year we’re recommending that instead of relying on painkillers, people with back pain try yoga,’ says Professor Alan Silman, medical director at Arthritis Research UK.
‘Yoga provides real, positive benefits for people with chronic low back pain, plus there are no side effects.’
Feeding your body a nutritious diet goes hand in hand with maintaining physical fitness. But it can be easier said than done.
One way to maintain healthy eating resolutions is by keeping a food diary, suggest MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it!), who run family healthy eating and fitness programmes.
They suggest writing down everything you eat and drink after it’s consumed so you can begin identifying your dietary strengths and weaknesses. For example, you might notice a tendency to snack at certain points in the day or recognise there’s not enough nutritional variety in your diet.
‘Only once we identify the factors impacting on our food choices and patterns – and see when and why we’re doing things the way we are – can we work on breaking any habits contributing to them,’ says Lucy Hannagan of MEND.
As well as taking steps to improve your health at the start of 2012, it may be an idea to check your current physical condition.
Adults who have not seen their GP for three years are entitled to a general health check-up. This will usually include height and weight measurements, a blood pressure check, and cholesterol and blood sugar tests.
In addition, the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF) suggest an oral examination.