Happy New Year! Now that we have officially entered a new year, it’s time to start making good on those resolutions. For many, these might involve something like eating healthier, getting more exercise or sleep, reducing stress, and taking more time for yourself. Whatever the case, and whether it’s a resolution or a simple self-promise, there are plenty of health and fitness strategies and healthy habits you can adopt to get your year started in the right way. Once you start strong, it’s that much easier to keep going.
Looking for some simple ideas? Here are a few I plan to (and already try to) practice myself.
Get more and better-quality sleep
Sleep is so incredibly important to your overall health and wellness, including not only your body but also your mind. It isn’t just about getting enough sleep but also enough good quality sleep. You can sleep for eight hours a night, but if you are tossing and turning the entire time and spend little time in deep and REM sleep stages, you aren’t really getting a “good night’s sleep.” Try to set a consistent bedtime for yourself and stick to it. Reduce the consumption of alcohol or caffeinated drinks and food a few hours before bed. If possible, reduce screen time as well so you aren’t going from a bright screen to a dark bedroom.
A fitness tracker or smartwatch can be a key device here in helping you monitor progress. Use one to set a bedtime reminder alert for when you should start winding down for bed. Then track sleep details and look at your nightly numbers.
Fitbit is among the best when it comes to sleep tracking, breaking down a night’s sleep by light, deep, and REM, comparing your numbers to others of the same age and gender. With a Fitbit Premium subscription, the app will even analyze and compare your sleep habits to that of an animal. Track the progress over time and work on getting more sleep and good quality sleep.
If necessary, you can also use sleep tech devices like white noise and sound machines for background white noise to help calm you to sleep, or sleep earbuds like the Bose SleepBuds II I reviewed late last year, which serve both as earplugs and earbuds to play back white noise and other soothing sounds. For more ideas on how to improve your sleep, check out our sleep well buying guide.
Increase your activity
The recommendation is that the average individual takes about 10,000 steps per day. For those who work an office job, that number might seem unattainable. But it’s possible with day-to-day activities and adding a short workout or even brisk walk to your daily routine. Start by aiming for at least 7,000 steps and work your way up from there. A fitness tracker or smartwatch is, once again, the perfect companion device to keep track of this.
Check out our suggestions on quick and easy ways to stay fit this winter if you are having difficulty finding time to work exercise into your daily schedule. For motivation, consider investing in at-home workout equipment, including cardio machines like a stationary bike, treadmill, walking pad, or even weight bench. If you don’t have the room for something so elaborate, simply look at basic strength training gear like a few dumbbells, resistance bands, medicine ball, and a foldable mat for comfort.
If you’re ready to set up a home gym, or even just a corner of a room as your “workout space,” look at the home gym buying guide for ideas on things you can get, both big and small, to encourage more exercise and physical activity at home.
Eat a balanced diet
If the concept of healthy habits was a tentpole design, the third pole alongside enough exercise and sleep would be eating a balanced and healthy diet. Consider some small appliances that can help on this journey, from steamers for quickly cooking raw vegetables, fish, or other proteins, to blenders for making nutritious smoothies.
You might even want to consider something new and exciting like a sous video machine to cook proteins and other dishes slowly and in a way that maintains all the healthy nutrients. An air fryer is a great option for those “cheat day” snacks like fried chicken and French fries, allowing you to cook them without deep frying and mountains of oil. Plus, air fried vegetables are to die for.
For more ideas, check out Shelly Wutke’s article highlighting small appliances that motivate healthy eating.
Carve out some “me” time
One thing we all tend to forget in the hustle and bustle of busy day-to-day life is carving out some quality time for ourselves. Even if it’s just 20 minutes, take a moment to yourself to de-stress and forget the everyday responsibilities.
You can sit down with a good book and a massager to help not only calm your mind but also ease sore joints and muscles after a long day of being on your feet. Aromatherapy is a great way to relax thanks to the calming scents like lavender and soft lighting. Or even just relax with a good music playlist, audiobook, or meditation app playing through a pair of headphones. Some headphones come embedded in a soft headband so you can comfortably lie down and maybe even catch a quick nap while relaxing.
Consider a good eReader so you can immerse yourself in an engaging novel and shut off overstimulation from brighter, more vivid screens for 20-30 minutes per day. (Many of the latest ones can play audiobooks, too). It’s a great alternative to watching TV right before bed.
Get the year started off right
Start off the new year fully refreshed and ready to take on the world. Whether you adopt a new health and fitness regimen or simply make a promise to yourself to try and eat healthier, get more sleep, and do what you can to reduce stress, these are all positive moves in the right direction.
Check out plenty of health and fitness gear at Best Buy Online.