Your new year health goals guide

Kick-start your new year with some suggestions for setting your resolutions – and the expert health advice to keep them.

Is there an area of your life where you’d like to be doing better? Here’s a practical guideline for working towards your chosen goal.

 

Work/life balance

The ever-elusive work-life balance is getting harder to achieve – partly because of technology.

“Email and smartphones allow us to be incredibly responsive to colleagues and customers, but often there are unwritten expectations to respond to messages at all hours of the day,” says Mark Bowker, facilitator of the Time and Priority Management short course at Swinburne University of Technology.

Not only does this pull us away from time with family and friends, it also means we’re almost constantly distracted and take longer to get things done, without many opportunities to rest and recharge.

Instead of thinking about time management, Bowker suggests it’s more productive to look at self-management.

“This means focusing on renewing your energy levels more regularly and effectively,” he says. In addition to getting 7 to 8 hours’ sleep a night, drinking plenty of water and exercising, he recommends taking plenty of mini breaks throughout the work day.

Try turning off your email notifications – instead rather earmark certain times to read and respond to them.

 

Weight loss and fitness

There are two main mistakes people make when starting a new fitness regimen: “Their goals are too general, like saying they’re going to lose weight or get fit, and they monitor their progress by the bathroom scales,” says accredited exercise physiologist and Exercise Right spokesperson Alex Lawrence

To sidestep these errors, arm yourself with a specific plan – and a tape measure.

Weight loss doesn’t occur in a nice steady fashion, you will put weight on, lose weight and stagnate,” he says. “This is all normal but discouraging if you’re going by what the scales are saying. They’re not an accurate measure of health, weight loss or body composition.”

Plan-wise, the simpler you make it, the better: aim to do two exercise classes a week, then build up to three in a couple of months. “The more complex and difficult we perceive a task to be, the harder it is stay motivated,” Lawrence explains.

Don’t forget about strength training. The benefits include a reduced risk of injury and age-related deterioration, improved competence, bone health and mental wellbeing.

 

Want to read more? The full version of this article is available in the January issue of Health Agenda magazine. Subscribe to receive your free copy quarterly in the post or download the Health Agenda magazine app from iTunes or Google Play.

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