Four Tips for Staying Healthy in 2023 That Actually Work

The arrival of a new year always presents a timely opportunity to give up bad habits and tread the path toward a healthier lifestyle. New Zealand’s annual health survey results show that while about 88.4% of Kiwis report that they are in good health, a breakdown of the general population’s daily habits doesn’t quite reflect that. A significant portion of adults (19%) are hazardous drinkers, and although daily smoking rates decreased, the use of vapes or e-cigarettes increased, particularly among young adults aged 18 to 24. While the obesity rates were not measured in light of the pandemic, physical activity levels were not up to standard, with nearly 13% of adults doing little to no exercise in the past year.

To improve these trends and approach the year healthily, here are four tips that actually work when it comes to eating well, losing weight, exercising regularly, and improving your overall quality of life.

1. Try a plant-based diet

It’s not just empty platitudes to say you are what you eat, as your diet is integral to your health and functioning. The first step to a healthy and well-balanced diet is to follow the Ministry of Health’s eating guidelines, which specify eating a wide range of foods to get your recommended levels of carbohydrates, fibre, calcium, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Cutting back on animal products and trying a plant-based diet is also a viable way to eat healthily. On top of underlying personal, environmental, or cultural beliefs, people choose to adopt a vegetarian or vegan diet for its benefits in reducing the risk of chronic diseases and improving kidney and bowel functions. It has become more mainstream not only through the rise of vegan-friendly restaurants and destinations worldwide but also through the 3% increase in the vegetarian and vegan population here in New Zealand.

2. Manage your physical and mental health through mobile apps

Instead of wasting your precious time and attention on highly addictive social media, you can make better and more mindful use of your smartphone by tuning into health-based apps. WeightWatchers’ weight loss programmes are accessible via its mobile app and can even be tailored to your daily habits and overall lifestyle. Besides a meal plan customised based on your nutritional needs and eating habits, there are also trackers for exercise, water, and sleep to ensure your physical health is on track. To make healthy living more holistic, focus on your mental health through the on-demand and guided meditation sessions from the Headspace app. There are various courses that can help you cope with stress, improve your mood, and motivate you in your day-to-day life.

3. Make exercise fun and social

If you’ve put exercise into your list of resolutions every year but have always been unsuccessful, maybe it’s time to switch it up by approaching physical activity differently. Rather than imposing a strict schedule of going to the gym every day, why not try playing sports with your friends on weekends to hang out? There are also public physical activity events like parkruns where you can join for free and get to know your fellow community members in the process. Lastly, physical activity can also be incorporated into volunteering activities such as by joining environmental groups like Conservation Volunteers New Zealand.

4. Keep up with health screenings

Routine checkups and health screenings are not something you can take for granted, as they help detect health problems early on. Health screening programmes are provided by the National Screening Unit (NSU), and these can range from general tests for cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar, and heart health to specific assessments for metabolic disorders and cervical cancer among women. Even if you feel physically well and are in top condition, take the opportunity to schedule regular appointments with your doctor to get an accurate picture of your current health status.

For more news and resources on health and lifestyle, you can check out the rest of our website.

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