9 Healthy Ways to Kickstart the New Year

Jennifer Purdie
by Jennifer Purdie
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9 Healthy Ways to Kickstart the New Year

Rather than skipping sleep or overindulging and spending January 1 lying in bed, opt for a healthier approach to ringing in 2018. These nine ideas might spark a new tradition:

1. TAKE A HIKE

“I always start the new year off by taking my clients for a hike,” says Ramsey Bergeron, owner of Bergeron Personal Training in Scottsdale, Arizona. Bergeron says he encourages clients who want to celebrate New Year’s Eve to watch the ball drop in New York City, which is only 10 p.m. in Arizona. Besides, getting up to exercise and watch the first sunrise of 2018 can feel empowering and spiritual.   

Consider inviting friends to join you. “Fitness friends are a sort of commitment device,” says Lindsey Cormack, PhD, fitness instructor at Bowery Crossfit. Getting up early January 1 can feel rough, but if your friends are waiting, you might feel more likely to show up.   

2. VOLUNTEER

Instead of signing up for a New Year’s Day race, volunteer for one. You can give back to the races that give you so much. Better yet, invite the whole family to join you and teach your children the value of altruism. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, Office of Research and Policy Development, “those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.”

3. BOOK A TRIP SOMEWHERE WARM

“When people feel more depressed in the winter, they often toss it off as a simple case of ‘winter blues,’” says Bradley W. Bloom, licensed clinical social worker at Silver Hill Hospital in New Canaan, Connecticut. “But seasonal affective disorder is a real mental illness.” To combat the condition, head to a locale offering balmy temperatures and try out a new warm-weather sport, such as scuba diving.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) says diving slows breathing, and the underwater silence allows the mind to relax and unwind. The sport also helps with muscle strength, increases endurance and balance and improves blood flow.

4. CREATE A REBUTTAL LIST

“For every excuse you know you are guilty of telling yourself, come up with a rebuttal,” says Bergeron. For example, if you know you use the “I don’t have time for exercise” line, you could come up with a refutation like committing to working out during lunch or waking up an hour earlier. “Poke holes in your own excuses in 2018 before you even make them,” he says.  


READ MORE > 10 AWESOME RUNNING RACES TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR


5. TAKE A DIGITAL DETOX

Spend New Year’s Day device free. Elisette Carlson, founder of SMACK! Media, a branding, digital and Public Relation(ship)s®  agency and fitness enthusiast, tried this for two days during Thanksgiving with her husband.  “Our minds were clearer, and we savored the moments. For example, we watched a beautiful sunset one night and I said to my husband, ‘I want to take a photo of that’ and he responded, ‘What for? You’re living it! You’re experiencing it!’ Then I told him I wanted to have photos of a fun outdoor bootcamp I attended (really, more to post on Instagram) and he said, ‘But you were there,’ and he was exactly right.”

6. SHAKE UP YOUR DIET

Make a January 1 grocery trip extra special. List fruits, vegetables and healthy foods you want to try. “Why not make a goal to try a new item each week of January?” says Enright.

7. HEAD TO THE MALL

Retail therapy can make a cold winter day a little brighter. “Buy a new workout outfit or equipment. Nothing makes me more excited to start the fitness year on the right foot quite like new gear,” says Mandy Enright, RDN of Nutrition Nuptials. Many stores are open on New Year’s Day and the internet is always open.

8. COMMIT TO WORKING OUT NEW MUSCLE GROUPS

Think pelvic health for 2018. “Pelvic health and the pelvic floor muscles — they are an area completely ignored until someone has a problem. They are really the base of your “core,”’ says Lynda McClatchie, physiotherapist and owner of Elevation Physiotherapy & Wellness in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. To work out your pelvic floor muscles, try incorporating bridge pose into your routine.

9. OUT WITH THE OLD

“Write down the top three things you did not enjoy or did not go as planned the prior year, and throw it in the fireplace, fire pit or recycling bin to start the year with a truly clean slate and motivation,” says Enright.

About the Author

Jennifer Purdie
Jennifer Purdie
Jennifer is a Southern California-based freelance writer who covers topics such as health, fitness, lifestyle and travel for both national and regional publications. She runs marathons across the world and is an Ironman finisher. She is also a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. You can follow her on Twitter @jenpurdie.

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