New Year tips for a healthy 2016

Walking Snowdonia National Park

Heart Matters is here to help you lead a healthy lifestyle in 2016. Our website is packed with extra tips for the year ahead.

January is the month of New Year’s resolutions. Many of these focus on weight and diet, which is good news for heart health, as increased physical activity and achieving a healthy weight can cut your chances of developing cardiovascular disease.

A survey conducted by YouGov about people’s intended resolutions for 2015 showed the top three were:

  1. Lose weight (35 per cent)
  2. Get fitter (33 per cent)
  3. Eat more healthily (31 per cent)

The same survey showed that 32 per cent of people tend to break resolutions within one month – three per cent even break it on the first day.

Trying to make drastic changes too quickly can be the downfall of many resolution-makers. Instead, small changes you can stick to will help you form healthy habits and meet your goals.

At the British Heart Foundation, we’re here to help you look after your heart – which includes getting active, eating healthily and controlling your weight.

We’ve taken a look back over the past year and picked a few of our favourite articles to help you achieve those top three resolutions.

1. Lose weight

Shaista KhaliqLast January, our cover star Shaista Khaliq (pictured) shared her story of weight loss. She told us how she shed weight gradually and took up boxercise and Bollybeats dance classes to help.

She also used BHF recipe finder to create healthier meals and cut back on fizzy drinks and fried foods. 

It’s easy to deceive ourselves about how much weight is too much and what we’re actually eating. Get to the truth with 5 lies we tell ourselves about our weight and find lots more weight loss inspiration.

Victoria Taylor, BHF Senior Dietitian says: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today. We’re always waiting for the New Year, Monday or to reach a certain weight before we make changes. The best time to start is now.”

2. Get fitter

Resistance bands exerciseImproving your fitness can be easier than you think, especially once you’ve taken the first step. Our Physical Activity Specialist Lisa Young presents a 10-minute workout to set you on the path to 150 active minutes per week. Read all about 10-minute workout and watch the video.

There’s also a resistance-band workout suitable for people of any age, including those with reduced mobility.

It’s natural to be a bit worried about getting active and building fitness if you’re recovering from a heart event or heart surgery. Read our recent guide to first exercise steps, including a handy chart showing how long to wait before trying certain activities.

Lisa Young, Physical Activity Specialist says: “Start where you are. Do the little things you can. Be proud of what you achieve.” 

3. Eat more healthily

Carroty couscous salad

Eating more fruit and vegetables is a great step towards a healthier diet. From a video showing easy swaps to sensational salad suggestions, we’ve got lots of information and healthy recipe ideas at our 5-a-day section.

Lack of confidence in your cooking skills or finding yourself with little time to make meals can lead some people to take unhealthy shortcuts. We solved both problems at once with 25 healthy dishes you can cook in five minutes or less

Giving up alcohol or cutting down was a resolution for 11 per cent of people. Read more information about alcohol and your heart.

Professor Peter Weissberg, former British Heart Foundation Medical Director, says: “Imagine trying to make a machine that operates 87,000 times per day for 80+ years without stopping. That's your heart - take care of it!”

Maureen Talbot, Senior Cardiac Nurse and Heart Matters Medical Editor says: “Life is for living, so understand the benefits as well as the risks in everything you do.”

Top 15 of 2015

1. Heart-healthy recipe finder 

2. 15 money-saving ways to use your leftovers

3. Watch how to measure your blood pressure at home 

4. Interactive infographic: a rainbow of fruit and veg

5. Behind the headlines: get the facts about heart health stories in the news

6. Interactive guide to long-distance paths

7. A medical who’s who: the health professionals you might meet in hospital and beyond

8. Drug Cabinet: get detailed guides to the most common heart health medications, plus painkillers, antidepressants and more

9. Women and heart disease: from pregnancy to heart risk after the menopause, everything you need to know

10. 12 foods you wouldn’t believe are so fatty

11. Exclusive interview with life saving heart surgeon Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub

12. Sir Ranulph Fiennes meets the surgeon who saved his life: video and exclusive interview

13. 10 inspiring women making waves in the world of science 

14. Seven pieces of science fiction the BHF is turning into science fact

15. On your bike: cycling inspiration

More useful information