Have you made a resolution to get fit and healthy this New Year but not sure where to start? These simple tips from Discount Drug Stores Pharmacist and National Professional Services Manager, Stephanie Shea, may help make your New Year's resolution to be healthy go the distance and easier to keep.

5 tips to a healthier you this New Year - Women's Health and Fitness Magazine



There's no denying resolutions are notoriously hard to stick but with health and fitness representing one of the highest numbers of resolutions made annually, many of us want to get fit and start the New Year on a healthy note. Start the year on the right note with these five simple tips.

1. The importance of beauty sleep

A good nights sleep goes well beyond keeping you alert and does wonders for your complexion, eye and hair health. The key to getting a solid night's rest is your ability to switch off and the right amount of shuteye.

"For a good night's sleep, it's important to turn off the 'white noise' and rest – that means turning off phones and tablets, and choosing to go to sleep at a reasonable hour," says Shea.

"If you are struggling to switch off or find yourself waking up at all hours of the night, you might want to ask your pharmacist about ways you can improve your sleep health. As life gets busier and busier, we often don't think about the simple but important things we can do to improve our sleep habits," Shea suggests.

2. Give H2O a fairer go

Our bodies are dependent on water and drinking enough H2O ensures we are able to transport nutrients, regulate body temperature and flush out toxins. Drinking enough water has also proven to increase metabolism, make us feel fuller, quell those hunger pains and aid in weight loss. With the summer weather in full swing, it's even more important to say hydrated.

"Be on the lookout for dehydration warning signs including headaches, fatigue and aching joints. If you find eight glasses of water each day hard to stomach, try adding slices of fruit to keep things fresh and interesting," Ms Shea said.

3. Put down the salt shaker

Excess salt in your diet can raise your blood pressure, and high blood pressure (also known as 'hypertension') is the silent condition you don't want. High blood pressure can lead to serious long-term health problems
and greatly increases the risk of stroke and heart disease. The good news is, along with cutting back on salt, your blood pressure can be more easily managed with a few simple additions to your diet.

A natural diet, largely made up of fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and lean fresh meat or fish, is believed to be the healthiest diet.

"If you're worried about your blood pressure, Discount Drug Stores across the country offer free blood pressure tests and can provide a record for you to take to your doctor. It's also a good idea to keep active and limit your alcohol consumption to minimise high blood pressure," says Shea.

4. Don't let fashionable shoes become your Achilles heel!

While heels does wonders for your overall outfit, wearing heels day in and day out is not doing your Achilles heel any favours. So why not break the status quo and invest in some classic brogues or new flat mules this year - because you don't want to be caught limping around.

"Swapping to flat shoes is a good alternative to ensure you minimise long term health risks like back pain and ankle instability associated with wearing heels. If you simply can't give up the heels, be sure to stretch your leg muscles before and after wearing heels and invest in a good pair of insoles," Shea suggests.

5. Check your iron levels

It is estimated one in 12 Australian women have iron deficiency, with menstruation and pregnancy making iron deficiency more prevalent among women than men. It's important to have a look at how much iron you're consuming in your current diet and the symptoms of an iron deficiency.

"Be sure to have a well balanced diet consisting of red meat, leafy greens and legumes to ensure you're getting enough iron. If you're often fatigued or get sick frequently it may be worthwhile talking to your doctor about a blood test and iron supplements," Shea concludes.

If you need help battling high blood pressure or getting a good nights sleep, drop into your closest Discount Drug Store to get free advice from your friendly local pharmacist.