A little does a lot – alternative ways to live healthily in the New Year

It’s that early time of the year where our New Year resolutions are still fresh and the "I’ll do it tomorrow" excuses haven’t started yet. While we can start off with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to avoid reverting back to the same old generic healthy living plans which can often be tough to maintain.

Health leaders in the Black Country are reminding people that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is a lot easier than they may think.

Dr Anand Rischie, Chair of NHS Walsall Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:

"For starters, making small changes to your diet is the healthiest and most achievable way to lose weight. Avoiding foods such as fats, salts and sugars and then swapping them for something healthier such as fruit and vegetables can help reduce your calorie intake.

"By making small, individual changes you can make big overall difference to your diet.

"Other examples of diet swapping includes swapping white breads, bagels and muffins for wholegrain varieties, changing creamy or cheesy sauces to tomato or vegetable-based sauces on your pasta, meat or fish dishes and swapping a cola or fizzy drink with some 100% fruit juice (with no added sugar) mixed with soda water."

You can find more information about health food swapping on the NHS Choices website at http://bit.ly/2DhfqZZ

Dr Rischie added, "What goes hand in hand with eating healthily in the ‘New Year, New You’ resolutions is the groan inducing exercising. Despite what many might think, it doesn’t all need to be 5k runs and push ups to make a difference.

"A regular 10 minute brisk walk a day can make a significant difference to your health; it can boost your energy, clear your head and lift your mood.

"Additionally, it can help people with lower back pain and those at risk of high blood pressure as well having serious benefits for your long-term health – it can reduce your risk of serious illnesses like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

"By starting off with 10 minute walks, you can build yourself up until you feel ready for something more potentially strenuous, such as jogging or joining a gym."

The Active 10 Walking Tracker app, one of many that One You have developed, can show you how many brisk walks you're doing and how to fit more into your day.

Find out more on the One You website at http://bit.ly/2mjFJaQ

The winter campaign to inform patients about the flu vaccine and the right NHS service to use for different conditions and illnesses is being run by the four clinical commissioning groups across the Black Country in association with the Black Country Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.