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3 Keys points to focus on heading into the new year

Richard Lemon
Richard Lemon
5 min read
3 Keys points to focus on heading into the new year
Photo by Danil Aksenov / Unsplash

2023 is around the corner, so it's time to start thinking about new year's resolutions. If you haven't done so, these three key points will help you on your way.

Get on a program or have a weekly plan for your workouts (movement)

A program or weekly plan can be a great way to ensure that you consistently engage in physical activity and take care of your overall health and well-being. There are a few key things to consider when creating a movement program or plan:

  1. Variety: It's essential to include various types of movement in your plans, such as cardiovascular exercise, strength training, flexibility work, and balance and coordination activities. This can help to challenge your body in different ways and prevent boredom.
  2. Frequency: Consider how often you want to move each week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise per week.
  3. Intensity: Consider the power of the activities you want to include in your plan. Higher-intensity activities will generally provide more benefits in improving cardiovascular fitness and burning calories. Still, it's also important to consider your current fitness level and any medical conditions you may have.
  4. Duration: Consider the length of each session and the total amount of time you will spend moving each week.
  5. Goal setting: It can be helpful to set specific goals for your movement program or plan, improving your overall fitness, increasing your strength, or reducing stress. Having clear goals can help you stay motivated and on track.

It's also important to remember that adjusting your program or plan is okay as needed. It's essential to listen to your body and make changes as required to ensure that you can sustain a consistent and enjoyable movement routine.

A details of a shop inside Mercado de La Boqueria, in Barcelona.
Photo by Jacopo Maia / Unsplash

Start consuming more whole foods, water and less processed (nutrition)

Whole foods are unprocessed, unrefined foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. They are rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants and have been shown to have numerous health benefits. These benefits include improved cardiovascular health, lower risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and better weight management.

One of the critical features of whole foods is that they are minimally processed. Processing can remove or alter food nutrients, so whole foods tend to be more nutrient-dense than their processed counterparts. For example, whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, and oats are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. In contrast, refined grains like white bread and pasta have had the bran and germ removed, which removes much of the fiber and nutrients. Similarly, whole fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. At the same time, juice and other processed products can lose some of these nutrients during processing.

In addition to being nutrient-dense, whole foods also tend to be high in fiber, which is vital for digestive health and weight management. Fiber helps keep you full and satisfied, which can help with weight control. It is also crucial for maintaining regular bowel movements and preventing constipation.

Whole foods also tend to be rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and contribute to the development of chronic diseases. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and help to protect the body from their harmful effects.

Many types of whole foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Incorporating various foods into your diet ensures you get a wide range of nutrients. Some examples of whole foods include:

  • Fruits: apples, bananas, berries, citrus fruits, mangoes, pears, etc.
  • Vegetables: broccoli, spinach, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.
  • Whole grains: quinoa, brown rice, oats, whole wheat, etc.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds: almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.

Incorporating whole foods into your diet can be as simple as making minor changes to your meals and snacks. For example, you could:

  • Swap out refined grains for whole grains. This could be as simple as choosing whole-grain bread instead of white bread or brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Add more fruits and vegetables to your meals. This could mean including steamed broccoli with dinner or adding a few slices of avocado to your sandwich.
  • Choose whole-food snacks. Instead of grabbing a bag of chips, try snacking on a handful of nuts or fruit.

In addition to incorporating whole foods into your diet, paying attention to portion sizes and overall calorie intake is essential. While whole foods are generally healthy, they can still contribute to weight gain if consumed excessively. It is necessary to balance your intake of whole foods with regular physical activity to maintain a healthy weight.

Overall, whole foods are a critical component of a healthy diet. They are rich in nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants and have been shown to have numerous health benefits. Incorporating a variety of whole foods into your diet ensures you get all the nutrients you need to maintain good health.

On a very cold, gloomy weekend, after receiving some distressing news… this face.
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Prioritizing your sleep and recovery habits

Sleep is a vital process that allows the body and brain to rest and repair. During sleep, the body produces growth hormone, which plays a crucial role in muscle growth and repair. It is during sleep that the body has the opportunity to repair and restore tissues that have been damaged during the day.

There are two main types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep is further divided into three stages: stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 (also known as slow-wave sleep). The stages of sleep progress in a cycle, with stage 1 being the lightest and stage 3 being the deepest.

During the first stage of NREM sleep, the body begins to relax, and the brain waves slow down. In stage 2, the brain waves slow down further, and the body becomes more relaxed. Stage 3 is the deepest stage of sleep, and it is during this stage the body repairs and restores tissues, produces growth hormones, and strengthens the immune system.

After stage 3, the body enters REM sleep, characterized by rapid eye movements and increased brain activity. REM sleep is thought to be necessary for learning and memory consolidation.

Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night to function at their best. However, the amount of sleep an individual needs can vary depending on age, lifestyle, and overall health. Some factors can affect sleep quality, including stress, caffeine intake, and exposure to light. Disruptions to the body's natural sleep-wake cycle, such as those caused by shift work or jet lag, can also impact sleep quality.

Proper sleep hygiene, which includes establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a comfortable sleep environment, and minimizing distractions and disruptions, can help improve sleep quality. In addition, practicing relaxation techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, can also help improve sleep.

In addition to getting enough sleep, it is also important to incorporate recovery habits into your workout routine. This can include foam rolling, stretching, and using a massage gun to help reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility. It is also essential to give your body adequate rest between workouts to allow for proper recovery. This can mean taking an entire day off from exercise every week or taking a few days off between heavy lifting sessions.

Sleep and recovery habits are crucial for working out and lifting heavy weights. Adequate sleep and proper recovery help the body repair and rebuild muscle tissue, improve performance, and reduce the risk of injury. Incorporating these habits into your routine can help you achieve your fitness goals and maintain good overall health.

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I'm a creative front-end developer from the Netherlands, and this is my blog. I write about code, cycling, quantified self, and everyday life. I'm a proud father of twins.