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Health & Wellness

A New Year, A New You

Get ready to focus on self-care and live your best life this coming year.

We all know that 2020 didn’t quite turn out as we expected, but now’s the perfect time to make a fresh start and set yourself up for a healthy transformation so you can thrive in the coming year.

First, take some time to reflect on the past few months. Write down your health and wellness goals and be honest with yourself. What do you hope to achieve? Where are you falling short? What lifestyle changes do you want — or need — to make to improve your overall health?

Below are some areas of your life you may want to focus on in order to make 2021 your best year yet.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Extreme or fad diets are not recommended. They usually lead to short-term weight loss, and then you may see your weight bounce back up again. This is often referred to as “yo-yo dieting.” The key to losing weight and keeping it off is to establish healthy habits. Some of the things you can do to achieve a healthier lifestyle include balancing your diet, setting realistic goals and expectations, and moving your body every day.

Try to incorporate the major food groups into your daily diet, with a focus on lean protein, healthy fats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Set a weight loss goal that is achievable and continue to work toward that goal. Even if you experience a setback, don’t give up. You won’t see drastic results overnight, but you will soon begin to feel better and have more energy. Lastly, commit to exercising on a regular basis so you begin to burn more calories than you are consuming. Even if you can only exercise 30 minutes, moving your body every day will make a big difference.

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, you are more likely to stick to it if you make it enjoyable. Instead of dragging yourself to the gym or spending an hour on a treadmill, head outside and enjoy the great outdoors. Or pick a sport you like, such as swimming, kickboxing, tennis, or even cycling. Rukus Cycling Studios in Coral Gables offers high-energy rides for 30, 45 or 60 minutes. These unique, exhilarating classes not only focus on cardio, they also strengthen your upper body.

When it comes to weight management, it’s important to consult with your doctor. While we all have essentially the same core nutritional needs, your individual needs may vary greatly depending on your age, gender, physical condition and overall lifestyle.

Boost Your Immunity

With everything we’ve experienced this past year, it’s crucial to keep your immune system functioning at a high level. Experts suggest you can boost your immunity by maintaining a healthy diet rich with key nutrients. Supplements such as vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, echinacea, and probiotics are important for immune system function and gut health. Other factors that can play a role in improving your immune response include getting a good night’s sleep, avoiding excess stress, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight.

Incorporating superfoods into your diet is also a great idea. Papaya, berries, oranges, kiwi and cantaloupe, for instance, are all rich in vitamin C.

Age Gracefully

Many of us have felt the pressure of staying young. Everywhere you look, you’ll see anti-aging products that promise to give you a more youthful appearance. Luckily, there are several ways to keep wrinkles, dry skin, and other signs of aging under control. Among other things, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends you don’t smoke, reduce your alcohol consumption, eat healthy, and exercise regularly. All of these practices will help you look and feel better. Of course, you should always practice good skin care as well. In addition to applying sunscreen, be sure to use gentle skin cleansers and quality moisturizers that are made for your skin type.

Focus on Mental Health

With everything we’ve experienced this past year — especially isolation and financial setbacks — it’s no wonder why mental health issues have become a growing concern. The heightened stress can affect anyone and make things overwhelming. Be sure to take time for yourself and do things you enjoy; practice yoga, meditation or any other stress-reducing activity; get enough sleep every night; maintain a healthy routine; and nurture your relationships with family and friends. Even if you’re still social distancing, you can connect with loved ones on the phone or virtually. If taking these actions isn’t enough or you notice worsening symptoms, make sure you reach out to a mental health professional and ask for help.

When it comes to improving your health and well-being, there is no single right way to go about it. Your story is unique, so be sure to do what’s right for you and find what makes you happy and healthy.

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