10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Health in the New Year
It’s that time of year again. Time to take stock and make a plan for having a healthier and happier New Year. According to Statistic Brain, only 14 percent of people over 50 achieve their resolutions each year. This may be because many resolutions are overly ambitious and it simply takes too much effort to make them happen. In that spirit, we’re offering you 10 easy ways to improve your health, so you can feel good at the end of next year for having reached your goals.
Get a puppy
Studies have shown that pet owners are healthier than those who live without pets – they provide companionship, unconditional love, and a quick pick-me-up after a hard day. The also provide an opportunity to get off the couch to go walking and playing.
Take a nap
Studies have shown that sleep – even in the form of a quick nap – helps us do everything from maintaining a healthy weight to improving our memory to spurring our creativity. It may even help us live longer.
It may turn out that laughter really is the best medicine. According to the Mayo Clinic, laughter reduces stress, strengthens the immune system and improves your mood. It’s also good for the heart and the brain.
Who doesn’t enjoy spending time with a good friend over a cup of coffee or dinner? A study from the Rush University Memory and Aging Project concluded that a higher level of social engagement in old age is associated with better cognitive function.
It’s a big, beautiful world out there, just waiting for you to appreciate it. Getting up off the couch and going outside has all sorts of benefits. It makes exercise feel easier, so you’ll be inclined to do more. It can increase creativity, reduce stress, and may even help us age more gracefully. Those who get out of the house more often have significantly fewer complaints regarding pain, sleep problems, and a decline in the ability to perform activities of daily living.
Eat some chocolate
Okay, this one comes with a bit of a caveat. While eating a Snickers bar may not improve your health, dark chocolate with at least a 70 perfect cocoa content or higher has been shown, in some studies, to reduce your risk of stroke, lower blood pressure, and, not surprisingly, to improve your mood.
Have a glass of wine
In moderation, red wine has been shown to improve heart health. Red wine is high in antioxidants, raises HDL cholesterol (that’s the good cholesterol), reduces the formation of blood clots, and, according to the Mayo Clinic, may help prevent coronary heart disease.
Taking deep breaths can, for many people, instantly alter their mood, making them more relaxed. Deep breathing increases the flow of oxygen in the body and flushes out carbon dioxide. It may also help lower your blood pressure and help you manage stress and anxiety.
Take off your shoes
Taking off your shoes before entering your home helps prevent the spread of bacteria that your sneakers, high heels and wingtips have gathered throughout the day.
Buy a plant for the living room
Plants help purify indoor air – spider plants, which are one of the easiest houseplants to grow, reduce formaldehyde. Dracaena comes in 40 different varieties and removes benzene and xylene. As a bonus, plants add beauty to almost any space in your home.