Five tips for a healthy and active lifestyle throughout the year

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If your new year’s resolutions are starting to wane, keep up your motivation with our small changes that will keep you feeling great all year

From eating vegan food to keeping active with an exciting new sport, here are five ways to make 2019 your healthiest year yet…

Try a vegan diet

Veganuary is a charity campaign that aims to encourage people to try a lifestyle free of animal products, and has a huge selection of recipes online for you to try. People join for a range of reasons, with health the second-most popular after love of animals.

Many combine Veganuary with their new year’s resolutions and see trying vegan as the healthiest start to the year. In fact, researchers have found that people following a vegan diet have lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure, with a decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. And you can try the health benefits of going vegan at any time of the year.

Stay healthy in winter: eat fruit and vegetables

Read more ways to boost your wellbeing

Eat your five a day

We all already know why we should be eating five portions of fruit and veg every day as part of a balanced diet. There’s evidence of a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers, plus the possibility of higher energy levels and better mood from all those essential vitamins and minerals.

And getting five portions in a day can be easier than you might think. Having a sliced banana with your morning cereal is a quick way to get a portion in, as is swapping your mid-morning biscuit for a tangerine. Your recommended daily portions of fruit and veg can be fresh, tinned, frozen or dried, but it’s best to consume dried fruit, juices and smoothies at mealtimes to prevent tooth decay. The NHS has more of a lowdown on nutrition and recipes with sneaky ‘hidden’ vegetables, which work especially well for kids, too.

Visit the dentist and optician

Regular check-ups will not only maintain the health of your teeth and eyes, but can also pick up early signs of other issues. Your optician will test for problems with your eyes that may suggest diabetes or high blood pressure, while your dentist will check for gum disease, which is linked to a higher risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues.

Family walking trails - forest walk

Get active

Want to move a little more this year? Finding new walking trails across the UK is a great first step, especially for families. For something a little more strenuous you might like to try Nordic walking – it’s a great way to explore your local area and make new friends, all while breaking a sweat.

Many people hitch their fitness goals to a bigger challenge – like running a tough new distance, walking 1000 miles in a year, or trying a triathlon.

The NHS has great resources to help you include more exercise in your daily life, such as the Strength and Flex five-week running plan for beginners, featuring a series of 24 videos from just ten minutes long, covering aerobics, strength and resistance, Pilates and yoga.

Find a friend

Research has found you’re much more likely to stick to your new year’s resolutions if you have support from a friend or loved one, so tell people about your goal. They’ll help you to stay motivated on days when you’re not feeling so enthusiastic, and may even join you.

Getting the entire family out and active is a brilliant way to slip some exercise into your daily or weekly routine, for example. You might event discover a new sport or activity that you all love – such as climbing – or give back by walking or running for charity together.

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