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Here’s How To Give Yourself A New Year’s Health MOT

Start the new year as you mean to go on.
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After the excesses of the festive season, the new year is the perfect time to make some simple, positive changes for the good of your physical and mental health. From checking your blood pressure and appraising your diet to ditching bad habits and starting a gentle exercise programme, here are our suggestions for putting your best foot forward for the coming year.

Check in with your health centre

When you’re planning to make some health changes, it’s worth speaking to a professional – your GP, practice nurse or healthcare assistant – to make sure you are up-to-date with routine checks such as cervical screening and vaccinations such as tetanus. They can also check your blood pressure (everyone should know their normal readings) and body mass index (BMI), and offer advice on diet, exercise, smoking and alcohol consumption. It’s also an opportunity to mention any health worries you may have, and your doctor can organise further tests if necessary. If you’re over 40, you are eligible for an NHS Health Check, designed to spot early signs of serious conditions.

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Get outside and embrace nature

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes, goes the saying. Before you hit the sweaty gym, consider wrapping up warmly and visiting a green space, whether it’s a park, common, field or woodland, for some gentle exercise. Research suggests that proximity to green spaces has a positive effect on cardiovascular health and stress and may even lower the risk of type 2 diabetes. And it’s been suggested that the more flora and fauna you encounter during your outdoor exercise, the better your psychological health too.

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Upgrade your diet

Winter is a great time to take a closer look at your nutrition. Because our gloomy British autumn and winter makes it difficult to get enough Vitamin D (the body makes vitamin D from sunlight on skin and it’s hard to get enough from foods), The Department of Health recommends we take a 10mcg daily vitamin D supplement. You may wish to kick-start your nutritional MOT by taking a multivitamin that contains 10 mcg of Vitamin D – one Centrum Men or Centrum Women tablet each day will supply your recommended 10mcg of Vitamin D.

The role of microbes in your gut is a hot topic in medicine right now. Study after study shows that dietary fibre consumption can help to nourish your gut microbiota, and this in turn has positive health implications, affecting immunity, appetite, energy and metabolism. Stepping up your intake of dietary fibre is easy and delicious: the lovely fruit and vegetables of your five-a-day are rich in fibre anyway, choose wholegrain bread, pasta, rice and cereals over processed white ones, make salads and soups using peas, beans, lentils and nuts, and serve potatoes in their skins. There are encouraging, although not as yet conclusive studies into the benefits of live yogurt and kefir and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kimchi for supporting gut health; enjoy these anyway as part of a healthy balanced diet – they’re delicious. And as you increase your fibre intake, make sure you drink the recommended 6 to 8 glasses of fluids daily.

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Refresh your mind

Good mental health is as important as good physical health for your New Year’s health MOT. Studies show that learning a language may be a good way to sharpen thinking skills and help to stave off cognitive decline. Music training, such as learning to play the piano, has similar cognitive benefits to language learning. Volunteering—rattling a tin for guide dogs, helping out in a charity shop, clearing litter in the park or picking up some shopping for an elderly neighbour—can reduce stress, improve emotional wellbeing and gives a fulfilling sense of social connection. While it’s great to be busy, it’s also important to give your brain and body some downtime. Schedule some ‘you time’ into your New Year’s health MOT: reading, listening to audio books or music, catching up with some box sets, and maybe some quiet meditation or mindfulness practice to calm your busy brain.

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Micronutrients made easy

To help support your health and well-being outside and in, Centrum has partnered with HuffPost to help you make small but yet effective changes.*

Centrum wants to motivate you to boost your health in a simple, enjoyable and sustainable way. Working with leading experts, nutritionists, exercise and wellness brands, we have curated a wealth of tip-packed, easy-to-follow content from healthy eating ideas, to on-trend activities and ways to de-stress and relax. Centrum’s range of multivitamins is specially tailored to help support your nutritional needs every day based on your age, gender and lifestyle.

To find out more, and discover which Centrum is right for you, visit centrum.co.uk

DISCLAIMER:
*Multivitamins are intended to supplement your diet and should not be regarded as a substitute for a varied diet and a healthy lifestyle. Centrum contains vitamin D, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system, and vitamin B12, which contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue.