Five health objectives to start off the new year

The start of each new year is marked by all kinds of resolutions. What will yours be? Professional decisions, individual finances, and personal objectives—everyone has their own challenges. What if staying fit by maintaining a healthy lifestyle was at the top of your list?

Health—a question of choice

Now that the holidays have passed, the new year has set in with its share of noble resolutions. Living a healthier lifestyle is a classic that typically becomes wishful thinking. Do you dream about better health? Turn that dream into reality.

Contrary to a common misconception, health is not only a result of chance or misfortune. It is often the result of certain choices, both good and bad. Of course, we do not have complete control over our health, but we can choose to maximize our chances to maintain it as much and as long as possible. Choosing your health is also about opting for balance, well-being, quality of life and improving longevity.

Resolutions—the imperatives

All resolutions directed at happiness, harmony, success, and health are attractive, but they also have to be achievable on a daily basis. The five measures we are proposing in this text are within your reach with a strong dose of goodwill, discipline, and commitment. Support from your loved ones and healthcare professionals, and access to useful information are valuable assets that will allow you to celebrate at the end of the year not only the holidays, but also a great victory!

1

Eat well

In some people's minds, eating well means following a diet or having restrictions. Yet, this is not the case at all. It is the quality of nutrition and not necessarily the quantity of food that determines its impact on your health. Above all, better nutrition involves making better choices.

Eating more fruits, vegetables, fish, and fibre-rich foods, for instance, is a simple and effective strategy. Limiting your consumption of alcohol, salt, calorie-rich foods that are high in fat or sugar will also help to improve nutrition. Aim for the long-term benefits to get the best out of the process. The best advice is to follow the recommendations of Canada’s Food Guide, which can be found at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/food-guide-aliment/index-eng.php.

Eat well

2

Be more physically active

It is a well-known fact that sedentariness in Canadians of all ages has become a major public health concern over the years. The beneficial effects of regular physical activity on health have been proven. The main message is as follows: everyone should practise at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day of the week. There is no need to be an athlete or to strive to become one!

The goal is to start at your current level and gradually increase physical activity, while respecting your abilities and limits.

3

Lose weight

If you change your diet and become more active, you should eventually see the benefits on your physical appearance. Obesity and being overweight are significant risk factors for several diseases, including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and some types of cancer. Not to mention their harmful effects on well-being and self-esteem.

Does the prospect of dieting put you off? That is understandable. There is no need to follow a restrictive diet to lose weight. On the contrary, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, from a nutrition and exercise perspective, you will have a good chance of reaching your healthy weight and of maintaining it. Don't compromise your long-term weight loss goals for haste!

Lose weight

4

Improve sleep and better manage stress

In order to remain in top shape, your body needs rest. Stress can cause sleep problems and in turn, a lack of sleep can lead to stress. Therefore, proper sleep hygiene is essential to physical and mental health in the same way as adequate stress management.

How many hours sleep do you get on average? It may be time to increase this number if it turns out to be insufficient. Although needs may vary from one person to another, it is generally estimated that an adult should sleep between seven to eight hours a night. As for stress, it is very difficult to quantify or eliminate, but it can be reduced or better managed. Recognized stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and massage therapy can help.

5

Quit smoking

Do you tell yourself every year that it is time to do away with cigarettes? Do you find it difficult to reach this goal? Rest assured—you’re not alone. You know that quitting smoking would bring you many benefits, but you lack the will and courage? It makes sense to turn to allies who can help you quit for good.

There are a number of resources at your disposal. Pharmacists, among other resources, can help you in various ways—they can offer you support, information, valuable advice, and prescribe a smoking cessation aid. Call on their expertise to improve your chances of success.

The best resolutions are those that lead not only to reflection, but also to action. The start of the new year is a golden opportunity to take charge of your health.

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Five health objectives to start off the new year

The start of each new year is marked by all kinds of resolutions. What will yours be? Professional decisions, individual finances, and personal objectives—everyone has their own challenges. What if staying fit by maintaining a healthy lifestyle was at the top of your list?
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