Drink More Water
This is a big one, and it’s an easy resolution to stick to. Drinking enough water maintains a correct balance of fluids, energizes muscles, and limits caloric intake. While optimal water intake varies depending on the individual, climate, and level of activity, for the average adult, experts recommend between nine cups of water for women to 13 cups of water for men per day. However, athletes, particularly outdoor athletes, may need to consume more to stay hydrated. The body loses water through breath, perspiration, and bodily functions, and this loss is accentuated when the body is working in overdrive during exercise. Further, water loss is even greater at high altitudes where the body uses more energy for respiration in the thin air, and the ocean’s salty environment can be dehydrating as well. Make a resolution to drink enough water this year: your body will thank you for it.
Tip: Find a really good reusable water bottle that makes drinking mess free and easy. Try to keep it with you throughout the day; the more you see it, the more you’ll be reminded to sip on it.
Oftentimes, it’s only too easy to skip out on sleep. Whether it’s working late, going out with friends, waking up early to surf before work, or watching the webcast until 3 am, it seems like there’s always something cutting into sleep time. Make an effort this year to try to get at least 7 hours a night. Further, it helps to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Getting enough sleep will help you stay energized throughout the day, from your morning session through the afternoon drag at work. As an additional benefit, getting regular and adequate sleep can help maintain a healthy weight, keeping you light on your feet and ready to paddle out.
Tip: Give yourself a bedtime. It sounds funny, but it will help you schedule your day more efficiently, and get things done ahead of time. It might not work on weekends, but you’d be surprised how easy it is to implement during the week.
Back off the Booze
Sure, everyone enjoys coming off the slopes or back from the beach to sit down and drink a cold one with friends. That being said, drinking too much or too frequently can have serious negative effects on your body. Limiting your alcohol consumption can help you lose weight, improve your mood and ability to concentrate, save money, and bolster your immune system. Reducing intake can also help protect your liver, heart, and brain from alcohol induced damage. It isn’t necessary to completely eliminate alcohol from your diet; as small amounts of alcohol have been known to have health benefits (i.e. a glass of red a day keeps the doctor away). That being said, there is a lot to gain from cutting back, and it’s a great resolution to make for 2016.
Tip: Don’t make cutting back just about inaction. Rather than focusing on not having another drink on Saturday night, focus on the fact you’re planning to get up early to surf on Sunday morning.
Taking time off work to travel or go on vacation is one of the best things you can do for your mental wellness this year. Unfortunately, more and more people each year feel too tied down at work to use allocated vacation days. This year, see these days as mandatory time-off that will actually improve your overall job performance. Get out, jump on a plane, train, or automobile, and experience something new. You’ll come back refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on whatever life/work/family throw at you. As an added bonus, choose a destination where you can do your favorite activity of choice (surf, snowboard, climb, bike, etc.). Being outside and doing what you love will leave you feeling even more content, and the memories of scoring perfect (insert surf break/mountain/river) will dampen even the dreariest of work days for years to come.
Tip: Plan your time-off during your works slow season (if there is one) preferably 2-3 months in advance. This will give you enough time to schedule important meetings and projects before or after your vacation minimizing stress.
You don’t need to be a full-blown yogi to tackle this resolution. Just start taking 10 minutes out of your day to stretch out. Target areas like your neck and shoulders, hamstrings and quads, and lower back and hips. It will help release tension and stress, and even more importantly, prevent injuries. If there’s one thing you want to avoid this year, it’s an injury; trust me, nothing is worse than missing out on amazing surf/snow because you’re laid up on the couch. A quick daily stretch will keep your muscles relaxed and prevent those pesky aches and pains.
Tip: Stretch in the morning. It will get you body moving and blood flowing, and it’s the perfect way to kill time while your coffee is brewing. You won’t have to worry about forgetting to stretch later, and it will start your day on the right foot.
Clean Up Your Diet
Believe it or not, new years isn’t just about losing weight. This year, don’t make your resolution about a number on a scale; make it about the quality of fuel you put into your body. Your body is a tool for performance, and if you’re only filling up the tank with crap, chances are it isn’t going to run very smooth. This year, commit to reducing your consumption of processed food and increasing your intake of fruits and vegetables. You’ll feel the results every time you paddle out, and your body will thank you.
Tip: Start with snacks. More often than not, processed foods make their way into our diets in snack food. Find fruit or veggie based snacks you love that leave you full and satisfied. It’s a great starting point.
Sit Less, Stand More
A friend recently told me, “Sitting is the new smoking.” That may be slightly exaggerated, but recent studies have shown that prolonged sitting daily can actually be harmful to health, even for otherwise active individuals. Excessive sitting has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and premature death. This year, make an effort to take breaks from sitting, even just short one. Try to sneak in a lunch-time surf, or if you don’t quite have the time and flexibility to pull that off, go for a quick walk around the block. Stand up and stretch every hour or so just to get the body moving. If the goal is to be surfing until you’re 90, you have to actually make it to 90; stand up.
Tip: If you spend a good amount of time in the office, consider investing in a standing desk. It will keep you on your toes most of the day, and you’ll burn 30% more calories.