January 23, 2018 • Malyse Uwase
Healthy Habits for 2018
A new year has started and it’s the right time to see if we can incorporate healthier habits into our lives. I am not going to call them New Year resolutions because “resolutions” at least for me tend to end with the month of January. I want these habits to have a longer life span (understand ETERNITY) so I’ll call them health goals or health targets–honestly anything to make them last.
There is a lot we can do to make sure we are treating our bodies well and by extension our health too. Let’s dive in and explore 3 habits we are going to make our best friends this year (and forever).
Honestly, I think you all knew this was coming. Physical activity is extremely critical for our well-being. In case you’re still doubting, below are some benefits of getting up and moving around regularly this year:
With so many health benefits, anyone can pick at least one or two reasons or more to start exercising. But how do we get started? My recommendation? Simply do you! The goal is to incorporate some form of exercise in your life that you can maintain. If you like to run, run! If you prefer to walk, walk. If you don’t want to/or cannot join a gym or if you don’t like to exercise in public use YouTube in the comfort of your home. YouTube is also good for fast exercises (I know because my excuse is often that I don’t have time or I am too hungry to sustain a 40-minutes work-out). At the very least–if you live in Kigali–take advantage of the car free day once a month and move around.
This is one of those secrets we all know but also like to secretly ignore. However, in the end, our body is what we eat and we know some foods are great while others should be consumed moderately so that our body has the right fuel.
According to the World Health Organization, developing healthier eating habits protects against heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, and cancer as well as weight control. So here again, plenty of reasons to start having more veggies and fruits proudly.
I had to include one habit that is somehow easy to adopt at least for the majority. Personally, I am always in awe of people who hit the pillow and fall asleep right away while I am counting sheep, goats, and butterflies in order to fall asleep. Not having enough sleep can impact a person’s performance and mental well-being. Without enough sleep, a person can be less focused, have trouble with decision- making, and be in an irritable mood. In addition, there is evidence that poor sleep is associated with a higher risk of mortality and cardiovascular disease (help!).
Here are a few easy sleep hygiene practices to foster better sleep:
Overall, physical activity, better nutrition, and better sleep are three habits that are good to adopt. They are particularly important in the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Consequently, let’s plan to exercise, eat healthier, and sleep better in 2018. Let’s all have a goal in each of these 3 areas that can work with our own schedules and that makes sense budget wise. Maybe it’s an additional carrot a day, maybe it’s participating in the Kigali Peace Marathon, or not using technology an hour before bed. You alone know your goal, now go forth and conquer!
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