Ten Tips To Improve Your Wellness This Year

As a perennial student I enjoy keeping up with fitness research. Perusing the latest journal artifices helps me stay in tune with fitness trends, practice separating fitness fact from fitness fiction, and glean a few wellness pearls that I can employ myself and share with my clients.

Here are 10 outcomes (simplified and paraphrased) from last year’s research that might intrigue, motivate, and possibly help guide your 2019 wellness goals.

  1. Mindful Healthy Eating Works. Researchers found that adopting a health focused versus a pleasure based mindset helped people trim portions. While this outcome seems obvious, it is really just a reminder to keep your intention to live a healthy lifestyle front and center!
  1. Breakfast Eaters Are Slimmer. Based on data from 50,000 people, those who ate a larger breakfast than dinner had lower body mass indexes.
  1. Exercise Prevents Depression. As little as one hour a week of any type of exercise provides protection against new-onset depression. Just ten minutes a day of conscious activity can make a big difference in your future.
  1. Exercise improves Gut Microbiome. The variety and prevalence of preferred gut bacteria can improve mood, balance blood sugar, and boost metabolism.
  1. Exercise Outside to be happier. Regular forest bathing is a cornerstone of Japanese preventive medicine. Being active or simply ‘being’ outdoors results in lowered anxiety, improved memory, decreased negative thinking, and a more varied gut microbiome.
  1. Strength training trumps cardio for older adults who want to stay lean. The older we get the easier it is to gain fat as opposed to muscle. Cardio training, while good for the heart, does little to improve muscle mass. Strength training was also found to significantly reduce depression.
  1. All or Nothing Dieting Fails. Those who think of weight loss as a process in a continuum of changes are more successful at weight loss than those who adopt an “all or nothing” approach.
  1. Dining Alone Proves More Deadly. Researchers found that being a dining extrovert is beneficial to your health. In general, primarily solo diners are more distracted when eating, eat irregular meals, and consume fast food. They are also more likely to have metabolic syndrome.
  1. Walking does little to improve bone density. To strengthen your bones it’s best to employ a combination of strength training and high impact moves such as running, jumping and skipping, along with posture and balance training.
  1. Practices That Keep the Blues at Bay: regular exercise, spending time outdoors, eating a high fiber diet, keeping a gratitude journal, relaxing more, hugging and be hugged.

In addition to (or perhaps In lieu of) New Years resolutions, compassionate self reflection can help propel your year in a healthier direction.  What kind of year would you like to have? How would you like it to be different from last year or the last decade even? From your answers, create an overarching intention to guide your new year. For example if you’d like to be more active, make the daily intention to honor yourself by being more active. Then commit to specific activities that you think you will enjoy doing. If you find yourself not following through, instead of completely throwing in the towel, try decreasing the amount of time spent exercising, find a friend to join you in your endeavor or try a completely new activity. The point is to stick to your intention creatively, one way or another. Happy New Year!

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