12 healthy suggestions for 12 months of well-being

The DKV Healthy Living Institute proposes 12 keys to looking after our health throughout 2016

We usually start out the new year with good intentions, little challenges we set for ourselves to improve issues that can determine our well-being. Proper diet, exercise, taking care of personal relationships and time and stress management are habits that, if practised properly, contribute positively to our health.

To this end, the DKV Healthy Living Institute suggests 12 goals for 2016, with a new opportunity to improve our habits each month:
  1. Watching what we eat. A balanced diet helps us to stay healthy and feel better. Eating properly means eating the five recommended daily meals and choose a balanced diet (the more varied it is, the better) with fruit, vegetables, bread, grains, pasta, rice, meat, fish, pulses and dairy products).
  1. There's no excuse for not getting our bodies moving. We will not be completely healthy unless we exercise regularly. You have to spend 30 minutes a day (at least) on exercising (in the case of a healthy adult) and take advantage of alternatives that require physical effort, such as climbing stairs, walking instead of riding, etc. For children, the recommendation is 60 minutes of daily exercise.
  1. Descansar lo necesario para vivir más activamente, más sanos y durante más años. Depriving ourselves of sleep harms our body and our health. We must rest and sleep every day as much time as we need: from seven to nine hours, uninterrupted.
  1. Breathe healthy and control our energy. Breathing is vital; it's the first physiological process we do independently. But breathing is much more than filling our lungs with air. Learning to breathe properly will allow us to ease tensions while improving our chest capacity. The best type of breathing for relieving tensions is diaphragmatic breathing: it relaxes muscles and promotes concentration.
  1. Fight stress and enjoy every moment. Stress is another thing that is bad for our health. We must try to avoid the stressful situations of everyday life and promote activities that bring us well-being and tranquillity.
  1. Spend at least 30 minutes on yourself.Feeling good about yourself is a must in order to be happy. Reading a book, taking a walk, taking time for personal care...not only prevent exhaustion, but will help us feel better with those around us and spread our sense of well-being.
  2. Maintain a healthy social network of family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours. People build themselves through interaction, and learning to interact is the foundation for growing and living better. A healthy relationship is one in which all members listen to and respect one another.
  1. Maintain an appropriate weight. If what we eat has more energy than we burn exercising, the amount of fat we retain increases and, therefore, so do our size and weight. Metabolising fat makes it act like a toxin for the body, generating slow acting damage like diabetes, cholesterol, hypertension, sleep apnea and heart failure, to mention just a few.
  1. Avoid toxic items. Tobacco, alcohol, overeating, drugs... are as harmful to the body as they are to the mind. It's important to know how to say "no" and say "enough".
  1. Avoid risks to my health by acting appropriately. At work, while driving, at home, during sport, using medicines, etc. We can prevent accidents and diseases only if we know the risks that surround us.
  1. Schedule the basic checkups as determined by age and sex in your agenda. Having periodic medical checkups can prevent the onset of disease. Women should consistently visit their gynaecologist on a yearly basis and men should have a colonoscopy carried out after the age of 50.

Be responsible for my health and take care of it as it deserves. To stay healthy, we must carry out all of the above suggestions and persevere.