NSW Health is urging people to ditch the over-ambitious New Year’s resolutions and start off slowly in 2018 with small, healthy, lifestyle changes.
Executive Director of the Centre for Population Health, Dr Jo Mitchell, said small steps are the secret to making big lifestyle changes that will last.
“People often make and break their New Year’s resolutions within a few weeks because they try to change old habits too fast,” Dr Mitchell said.
“We need to remember a healthy life is a marathon not a sprint, and our Make Healthy Normal campaign shows people how to pace themselves.
“The campaign website is full of tips and teaches people that less is more – small steps, small portions, small improvements – lead to long-term habits.”
Figures show more than half of people in NSW aged 16 and over are overweight or obese because we are eating more than we need and not exercising enough.
Dr Mitchell said exercise doesn’t need to be intense to be good for you and activities like walking, gardening or even housework can improve fitness.
“No one likes chores but rest assured pushing a mop and bucket across the floor and wringing it out, cleaning your windows or mowing the lawn, all helps to burn kilojoules,” she said.
“Walking, however, is a much more pleasant way to get active and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Doing any physical activity is better than doing none, and just an extra 10 minutes a day on most days will make a difference.”
NSW Health is also encouraging people who smoke to consider ‘butting out’ on January 1, with tobacco smoking still a leading cause of preventable death in Australia.
Each year in NSW there are 46,335 hospitalisations and 5,460 deaths attributed to smoking. Dr Mitchell said tobacco smoking harms almost every organ in your body.
“After just two days smoke free, all nicotine by-products have gone from a smoker’s body - their tastebuds come alive and their sense of smell improves,” she said.
Smokers can start planning now for their quit attempt by calling the Quitline 131 848 for advice, support and the Quit Kit.
The Make Healthy Normal website is full of tips for those seeking a healthier new year, including recipes and menu plans, and can be viewed at: www.makehealthynormal.nsw.gov.au