From a daily nap to hobbies and getting more sun, New Year resolutions that can help your health – without being a chore
WE often pick optimistic New Year resolutions that, come February, have already fallen by the wayside.
But some goals can enhance your life without being a chore — and they could help you live longer, too.
According to Alcohol Change UK, one in seven UK adults — 8.8million people — plan to do Dry January.
And a survey by Aqua Pure has found the top five New Year’s resolutions we are planning for 2023 are: Save money (33 per cent), do more exercise (30 per cent), lose weight (28 per cent), drink more water (21 per cent) and get more sleep (18 per cent).
But this time, why not try something different? Here, we present our health resolutions for 2023.
BE CONSCIENTIOUS: Playing a board game, driving carefully or trying your hardest at work could be good for you in the long term.
An 80-year study in the US found that conscientious people — those who try to do what’s right, and pay attention to detail — live the longest.
Professor Howard Friedman, from the University of California and co-author of The Longevity Project, said: “Conscientious individuals tend to get better educations, move into more responsible jobs, avoid risky behaviours and develop more stable and supportive social relationships, all of which can promote health and longevity across the years.”
EAT BETTER: It’s no secret we’re supposed to eat five portions of fruit and veg a day.
But research from Imperial College London, which investigated people’s eating habits, found those who consumed little to no fruit and veg died earlier than those who packed their diet with plenty of it.
As well as scoffing your five a day, researchers in Italy found eating raw vegetables and salads increases life expectancy by two years, as cooking veg destroys some antioxidant properties.
A study by Rush University in Chicago discovered one portion of salad or vegetables daily kept brain function a decade younger.
So make friends with the veg aisle — cabbage, greens and sprouts are all good right now.
HAVE FAITH: To celebrate many more Christmases, finding religion might be one answer, according to a study by Ohio State University.
The researchers studied 1,500 obituaries and found those with religious ties lived longer than those without.
PICK SMART: The mates you pick for yourself can say a lot about your judgment — and your longevity.
Experts at Harvard University have found a connection between choosing the right friends and living longer.
The research suggests whatever our pals do rubs off on us, which holds true for bad habits like smoking as well as good habits like exercise — so select friends wisely in 2023.
NAP TIME: A daily snooze can help you live longer.
Napping for 30 minutes regularly cuts the chances of having a heart attack in later life by 37 per cent, a study from the Harvard School of Public Health in Athens found.
The small amount of extra shut-eye was also said to lower blood pressure by the same amount as a low dose of medication for the condition.
New research from Stanford University in the US found interrupted sleep to be the biggest indicator of mortality.
The team analysed 12,000 sleep-related studies and discovered good-quality sleep leads to a longer life span, while sleeping less than five hours a night can boost chances of premature death.
So best get your snooze on.
LEAVE SOME ON THE PLATE: People from the Japanese island of Okinawa, have one of the longest life expectancies on Earth, with many living into their hundreds.
Studies attribute their longevity to eating lots of yellow and green vegetables and only eating 80 per cent of the food on their plate.
So while it might be polite to finish your meal, you could be around a tad longer if you leave some.
FIND ‘THE ONE’: You can tick this one off immediately if you’re happily loved up.
Several studies from across the globe have found those in happy marriages live longer than their single friends.
The science suggests the co-habiting social care and economic support from having an other half increases life expectancy.
DITCH ANGER: To live longer, make like Anna and Elsa from Disney classic Frozen and “let it go”.
Getting rid of rage and finding forgiveness increases life expectancy by positively affecting the cardiovascular and immune systems, according to research published by Luther College, Iowa, in the Journal of Behavioural Medicine.
GET A HOBBY: Whether you’re a keen gardener, football fanatic or stamp collector, keep it up.
The Prospective Study Group at the Japan Public Health Centre found people with hobbies were less likely to die from heart disease and stroke.
And researchers at the University of California found participants who devoted two or more hours a day to their chosen pastime were 21 per cent less likely to die early.
MOVE MORE: Exercise really does work wonders at lengthening your lifespan.
A study by Brigham Young University in London found people who exercised for around three hours a week had DNA and cells nine years younger than a control group who didn’t exercise.
Even a 15-minute walk a day could add years to your life.
A study from Taiwan’s National Health Research Institute found participants who did 15 minutes of moderate intensity exercise every day lived on average three years longer than a control group of couch potatoes.
It can all help you maintain a healthy weight, which is vital, as researchers from the University of Alabama in the US found having a body mass index between 25 and 35 (the overweight range) shortened life expectancy by around three years.
BE AN EXTROVERT: While it’s not terribly British to stand out in a crowd, it might help you live to a grand old age.
Studies from both the Albert Einstein School of Medicine in New York and the University of Edinburgh tracked the lifespan of 298 gorillas, who are genetically similar to humans, and found the louder and more outgoing ones in the group lived between three and four years longer than their quieter fellow primates.
QUIT WORRYING: Easier said than done in a cost-of-living crisis, but researchers from Purdue University in Indiana found constant worrying can shorten lifespan by up to 16 years.
Cambridge University Press has come to the same conclusion.
Its research found people with depression and anxiety have a higher risk of premature death than those without the mental health conditions.
CATCH SOME RAYS: The UK isn’t known for its sunlight hours, but getting some sunshine can help you live longer.
High levels of vitamin D, which comes partly from exposure to sunshine, can increase your life expectancy by five years, scientists at King’s College, London found, while the NHS suggests taking a daily Vitamin D supplement in the winter months.
Vitamin D can also be found in shiitake mushrooms and oily fish.
GO NUTS: Whether it’s walnuts, almonds or even the humble peanut, if you want to eke out a few more years, start snacking on nuts.
A study from Loma Linda University in California, which followed 34,000 participants, found those who ate nuts five days a week lived 2.9 years longer than those who didn’t.
READ ALL ABOUT IT: Bookworms will be pleased to hear that, whether it’s before bed or on the commute, reading increases life expectancy.
A study from Yale University found reading for three-and-a-half hours per week increased life expectancy by almost two years.
LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: It might be difficult to see positives sometimes, but a study from Yale University in the US found being optimistic will add to your longevity.
Its research, which compared lifespans of optimists and pessimists, found those who look on the bright side live over seven years longer than those who don’t.
SEXY TIME: If you want to extend your life, spend more hours between the sheets.
Research from the University of Singapore found regular orgasms, either alone or with a partner, increase life expectancy and reduce mortality risk.
SEA WORTHY: Fish isn’t particularly healthy when it’s been battered and deep fried.
But researchers from Harvard University in the US discovered that people with higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids — found in salmon, mackerel and sardines — lived for approximately two years longer than those with low Omega levels.
FAKE YOUR AGE: Now this is an easy one. The next time someone asks how old you are, tell them how old you feel on the inside instead.
In a study published in Psychology and Aging, researchers from the German Centre of Gerontology revealed that people who felt younger than they were saw less of a link between their stress levels and health decline.
So remember your new mantra: “I feel like I am 22!”
HIT THE BOTTLE: Finally, some good news for anyone dreading the thought of Dry January — a glass of red wine could be seriously good for your health.
Researchers from Wageningen University in the Netherlands found drinking half a glass of red wine every day could increase life expectancy by four years.
There are compounds only found in red that reduce the build-up of bad fatty tissues in arteries.