5 healthy New Year’s resolutions that can change your life

It’s that time of the year again, a time to look back at the past year, and more importantly look forward to the year to come

Racha Adib
Racha Adib - Special to Al Arabiya News
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It’s that time of the year again, a time to look back at the past year, and more importantly look forward to the year to come. If improved health is on your mind for 2016, make sure to include these 5 health resolutions in your list.

There are lots of things in this life that we don’t get to choose. On the other hand we have the choice to determine our attitude every day. It is up to us to decide how we perceive and react to the world around us. Our thoughts eventually become reality.

By having more positive and optimistic thoughts you can reach a fulfilling life.

Positivity is good for your health. A large prospective 2010 study found that people with positive, joyful and enthusiastic emotions were about 20% less likely than their gloomier peers to have a heart attack or develop heart disease.

Where are you with your attitude? Evaluate your situation, and no matter where you find yourself, this year decide to take your attitude to the next level. Remember it’s your choice, your life, and your responsibility so only you have the power to take control.

Worried about heart disease? Need an emotional lift? Low on energy levels? Getting active can help and it does not have to be an all-consuming and excruciating effort.

According to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, you need to do get two types of physical activity each week. You need at least 2 and a half hours of moderate intensity activity such as brisk walking. That’s equivalent to 150 minutes each week.

Although that may sound like a lot of time, but you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it down to 10 minute chunks spread throughout the day and week.

You’ll also need to work all major muscle groups – legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms – 2 or more days a week. That can be done by lifting weights, working with resistance bands, or doing body weight activities such as sit ups.

Fear that you’ve failed too many times to try again? Talk to any quitter, and you’ll see that multiple attempts are often the way to success. Tobacco accounts for around 6 million deaths every year and is projected to increase to 8 million by 2030.

If you want to quit, the solution is stop smoking cold turkey. Remember that each cigarette you smoke damages your blood vessels, lungs, and all the cells in your body. Before you quit, write down your reasons for quitting. Do you want to protect your family from second hand smoking? Are you after better health? Do you wish to be around your loved ones? Every time you feel like giving up, go over the list. And finally, remember more than half of all adult smokers have quit, and so can you.

The best way to stay healthy is not to go beyond the sensible drinking guidelines. Excess drinking is associated with numerous health problems and may increase your risk of depression, memory loss, liver disease, stroke, heart disease and cancers of the mouth. It can also affect you on a day to day basis by disturbing your sleep, increasing your weight, and bringing about a headache the next day.

According to the guideless, moderate alcohol consumption is defined as having up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men. Have at least two alcohol-free days every week, giving your body a break. Alternate alcohol with juice or water to make sure you stay hydrated or opt for mocktails.

Try smaller measures of alcohol and dilute your drinks by adding more juice or soda.

The average person is eating way too much sodium. Too much sodium could raise blood pressure, a major step toward heart disease. The Institute of Medicine estimates that reducing sodium intake nationwide could prevent 100,000 deaths every year.

Most of the sodium we consume is in the form of salt. The problem is the majority of it is found in processed food and in restaurant food while only a small amount of the sodium we consume comes from our salt shaking habit. So what should you do?

Go easy on processed foods, eat out less often, and focus on cooking with fresh ingredients. Those changes will cut the amount of sodium you consume dramatically.

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