As the new year starts I wait again with baited breath to find out what the latest ‘must have’ fitness secret for 2023 will be…
Over the past 20 years I’ve seen many trends and fads come and go, each new year. Many of these are led by the desires of a company or individual looking to make money from people desperately looking for results, rather than from any sound scientific evidence.
Working your way through these fads and trends can be difficult. As a health professional, I know for certain what I would have advised a client 10-15 years ago is different to what I would advise now.
More experience and further learning continually challenges the status quo and I think this is an important part of being a good trainer. However there are certain pieces of advice that I can give today with a great deal of confidence, and I am putting my neck on the line and listing these as:
The 7 bulletproof health tips that we should all be doing to get (and stay) fit and healthy in 2023!
These tips won’t just kick start you health and fitness plan – they will improve your health and wellbeing for years to come.
I am so confident that if you read this blog again in 2033, the information below will still be valid and still work!
1. Strength Training is beneficial for almost every adult.
Fortunately it is no longer a hard sell trying to get people to lift weights. Most of the myths and worries around strength training that I had to regularly put people at ease around have been publicly debunked now. The resounding message on almost every platform is that strength training is king for better health and longevity (even more so in the over 50’s age group).
You must aim to find a way to incorporate lifting weights 2 to 3 times per week on a regular basis if you want to:
- Be in good shape
- Have a better quality of life
- Increase your chances of being healthy for many years to come.
Don’t worry if you haven’t done this before or have any injuries or illnesses. A good coach will design a progressive and appropriate strength training program for anyone.
2. If you want to be healthy you need to have a good sleep routine
Sleep is undoubtedly the cornerstone to any healthy lifestyle. People with good sleep patterns have been shown to live longer and be at lower risk of suffering from the majority of common major health issues that we face (dementia, heart disease, cancer, diabetes).
That’s pretty conclusive for me, and should be strong enough reasons to start to prioritize your sleep. Turn off Netflix and get to bed!
3. If you live in the northern hemisphere you should be supplementing with Vitamin D
The whole supplement and herbal remedies space can be a very murky area to look into. However research on Vitamin D is pretty conclusive and I have lost count of the number of leading health experts and doctors I have heard speak about the vast health benefits from supplementing with Vitamin D.
Trust me, as I write this on a cold and dark December afternoon in Scotland, you will not be getting enough Vitamin D in your diet, or from the sunshine. Getting a good quality vitamin D should be a priority to enhance your health.
4. Eating a diet that is widely focused around a mediterranean diet is most likely the best for improved health outcomes
A diet high in vegetables and fruit supplemented with some fish, meats, nuts and seeds is most likely going to increase your chances of avoiding the most common health problems and will also likely lead to you being a healthy weight.
Again the research around a mediterranean diet being the healthiest diet is pretty conclusive, and has held up over a long period of time across hundreds of studies.
5. Staying connected in society and having a purpose will increase your chances of living longer
In a study by Harvard university, Berkman said that the stress of isolation can weaken people’s immune systems, making them more susceptible to infectious diseases. She also noted that people with strong social connections tend to have better health behaviors, like eating healthy foods and being physically active.
It is not an overly discussed area of health but being part of a community might just increase your chances of living a longer and healthier life.
I’m watching a great documentary series with the actor Chris Hemsworth (Thor in the Marvel movies), where he is looking at different aspects of health longevity. In the episode about memory, a scientist spoke of how the chances of getting Alzheimer’s increase by 50% when a person is isolated!
A growing body of evidence suggests that living with purpose may help you live longer. A sense of purpose can drive healthy behavior and make a person more resilient to stress. Prior research has shown that having a sense of purpose is associated with living longer. A new study shows this association is true for older adults across race, ethnicity, and gender. According to the findings, the link between a strong sense of purpose and longevity is also slightly more significant for women.
6.Prolonged unmanageable levels of stress will eventually show up in health problems
We all have periods in our life where the stress put upon us outstrips our ability to cope with it. This is inevitable and is often unavoidable:
- Sleepless nights with kids
- Relationship problems
- Work demands
- Losing someone we love
These are all part of life and we will experience most of these things at different stages.
The body has systems to deal with short periods of stress. However high stress levels over a long period of time can have a really detrimental impact on our lives. Chronic stress will:
- Lower our immune system
- Increase inflammation
- Impact negatively on our sleep
- Make us more likely to be an unhealthy weight
- Have a general negative impact on our health.
When it comes to chronic stress there are two main ways to attack this problem (and the best results are seen when you do both of these simultaneously).
The first angle is: Can you reduce the stressor?
This can often mean making hard decisions and being honest with yourself. Often we bury our heads in the sand and don’t want to face up to the issues that are placing a great deal of stress on us. Looking at your circumstances and changing the things you can control can be a great first step to reducing your stress levels.
The second approach is learning and implementing skills and habits that reduce stress such as:
- Playing sport
- Relaxation techniques
- Going for walks in nature
- Doing a hobby that takes your mind off your worries
Coping strategies have been shown to have a really positive impact on health when done consistently in people with chronic stress levels. You just need to find a few that work best for you!
7. Do regular mobility exercises (especially if you are over 50)
- Play sport
- Have a sedentary job
- Exercise regularly
- Are over 50
- Regularly feel stiff in certain parts of the body
You should be doing mobility exercise to improve your ability to move well and reduce your chances of injury, and perhaps reduce chronic pain.
Mobility exercises impact the joints, muscles and nervous system and are much more effective in the long term, compared with stretching exercises.
So there you have it! Save this and come back to me in ten years to let me know if you agree.
If you found this article interesting and want to take a different approach to your new year’s resolutions, we are running a FREE Healthy Habits Challenge where we will help you to implement many of these principles in a successful and sustainable way.
To get involved drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you added to our group of people who will be taking part and helping each other each step of the way.
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