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Three healthy habits to add to your routine

By Tori Taylor, January 7 2019 —

The time for New Year’s resolutions and fresh motivation has arrived. Two types of people emerge every time the new year rolls around: people who hunker down with a list of ways to become their best self and people who boycott the whole process and actively avoid anything that sounds New Year’s resolution-y.

Healthier living can happen in many ways. There are three things you can do that are simple, inexpensive and don’t take up much extra time: hydrating yourself, exercising more and eating better. Your body, cognitive mind and interpersonal relationships will all thank you for adding these three things to your weekly routine. If you’ve got the desire to make healthy life changes, here’s how to take on 2019.

H2-Oh so good:

Give me an H! Give me a 2! Give me an O! What does that spell? A more youthful complexion and stronger functioning body.

Swap out sugary sodas and juices for fresh water. If drinking water is difficult for you, don’t be discouraged. You can spice up your water with fresh-chopped fruit, mint or basil leaves or fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice. Avoid processed powders like Crystal Light — these add aspartame, sugars and artificial colouring.

The human body is largely made up of water, so it’s no wonder why we get headaches and muscle cramps when our supply becomes depleted. Health professionals say we should drink a minimum of eight glasses a day. But this is the minimum recommended amount and drinking more will only add further benefits. When your body is properly hydrated, it shows in your physical appearance. Healthier looking hair, nails and skin are all perks to drinking the right amount of water.

Find your fitness:

Get your sweat on. Plan out time for 30 minutes of elevated heart rates and sweaty foreheads three or four days a week. This will keep your heart strong and healthy. Before you groan and skip this suggestion, note that cardio can enter your life in many forms. I love to run and I love to cycle. However, this year I really got into high-intensity interval training (HIIT), a form of intermittent exercise that alternates short bursts of intense cardio with less strenuous ones. HIIT is perfect for people who don’t enjoy long cardio sessions — the time goes by much quicker and it’s easier to stay focused.

Try circulating through five to eight minutes of different activities that elevate your heart rate. If you’ve never tried it, skipping with a jump rope is a fun exercise that tones the whole body and can be part of your circuit. I like to start with a jogging or cycling warm up and then move into the more intense exercises. With so many different types of cardio, it’s easier than you’d think to stay excited about this lifestyle addition and form it into a weekly habit.

Snack smarter:

Start packing a lunch or dinner for school or work. It might seem like an inconvenience to get up early or stay up late to make meals. However, the benefits for your body and bank account make it well worth your while. Not only will you feel better during the day, but you’ll also save money. The best things to pack are fresh veggies and fruits, nuts or homemade trail-mixes, hummus, hard-boiled eggs and protein bars or shakes.

Opt out of processed foods and foods high in sugars. Look instead for snacks that are high in healthy fats like omega-6. Fruits and vegetables are a good source of nutrients and fibre while protein are essential for keeping you feeling full longer. Breads that have lots of seeds are excellent sources of fibre and carbohydrates. Eating whole foods that steer clear of added chemicals, dyes and sugars will fuel your body and mind without causing mood imbalances or feelings of unnecessary fatigue.

The new year is in full swing and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Let proper hydration, a strong body and healthy diet assist you in whatever goals you set out to conquer in 2019.

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