Here, 5 healthy resolutions for 2018

Try something new to reduce stress

Stress can affect our mental health, harm our immune systems and even make us sick. Chances are if you're "feeling it" then you're likely not doing enough to mitigate its effects. If you're stuck in a rut, try:

- Listening to classical music. Believe it or not, a half hour a day of listening to classical music can reduce blood pressure. (Check out our sample playlist.)

- Volunteering. While it may be adding another commitment to an already busy schedule, helping others is good for your state of mind. Start small, like committing to a couple of hours per month at your place of worship or favourite charity.

- Saying no. We want to please others, but not knowing when to draw the line can lead to burnout and stress. (Not sure how to do it? See The art of no for strategies.)

- Exercising regularly. Physical activity has been proven to improve mental health and it's a healthy way to cope with stress. Experts recommend activities that focus on breathing, strength, flexibility, meditation and balance as part of your fitness regime. (See Boost your spirits with exercise for details.)

- Taking a break. While shrinking travel budgets have many of us in "naycation" mode, skipping vacations can actually be hazardous to your health. It's doesn't have to be a long or expensive trip, but taking some time off from your usual work and routine will help prevent burnout and give your creativity a jolt. (See how Vacations reduce your stress.) Short on time? Even something as simple as working in a few minutes of deep breathing exercises and stretching into your daily routine can help soothe the nerves. (And don't forget to give lots of hugs.)

Take a class, join a club or play a sport

How often are we told about the risks of not getting enough exercise and not watching our weight? Inactivity and excessive weight increase the risk of a whole myriad of diseases like cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer's. However, many of us broke with our usual diet and fitness routines during the holidays, so suddenly delving into a strict new regime can spell disaster. Our motivation lags when we don't enjoy what we're doing or we can't meet unrealistic goals.

Instead, start with something enjoyable that requires a regular time commitment and provides support. For example, make this the year you finally try yoga, take an aqua aerobics class or find out why pickleball is taking off here in Canada. Join an activity like a mall walking group, hiking association or running club. A scheduled time means you're committed to at least one workout a week, and the support of your classmates, group members and instructors will help keep you motivated.

And don't just be a spectator when it comes to sports. A Statistics Canada report showed that participation in sports is waning. Only 28 per cent of the adult population participated in 2005 -- down from 45 per cent in 1992. The study blamed the "aging population" for part of the decline, with obstacles such as family responsibilities, careers, heath conditions and a lack of interest preventing participation. However, there are more and more activities, sports and clubs available for adults of all ages and abilities -- and finding them may be as simple as looking in your local recreation guide.

For more tips, see How to keep your fitness resolution.


Copyright 2018 ZoomerMedia Limited

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Elizabeth Rogers