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Over the past year, we’ve really learnt the importance of looking after our general health and wellbeing. In the first months of a year is usually a time when health is on the agenda only for the initial enthusiasm to wane, many people are hoping to make health resolutions that last way beyond the first month of the year. For those looking to improve their health on a permanent basis, here are just some of the things you can do to ensure you stay well in 2021.

Look after your immune system

The immune system is an amazing network of cells, organs and tissues that destroys harmful cells and keeps dangerous particles at bay. It’s our frontline defence against infection.

So, it follows that getting the immune system firing on all cylinders ready to ward off any bugs, is one of the best ways to stay well in 2021. You can do this by taking regular exercise, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and getting out in the fresh air – all of which are well known to boost immunity. There are supplements you can take too. The benefits of Vitamin D for the immune system are well documented. Vitamin B12, Zinc and Vitamin C will all support your body’s natural ability to fight off disease.

Stay in bed

We all know the importance of exercise, but rest is just as essential for staying well. Professional athletes build rest into their training schedules as it allows the body to fully recover, replenishes energy stores and promotes muscle growth. The coronavirus pandemic has forced many of us to slow down the pace of hectic modern lives and for general wellbeing this is really important. Getting the proper amount of rest helps the body to naturally fight off illness, so here is your excuse to stay in bed without the associated guilt.

According to the Sleep Foundation, “without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response. Cytokines are produced and released during sleep, causing a double whammy if you skimp on shut-eye.”

Improve your sleep by banishing phones and other ‘blue light’ devices from the bedroom, establishing a proper sleep routine and avoiding caffeine after lunchtime.

Kick those bad habits into touch

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption assault the immune system with added toxins, putting it under strain and making you more prone to disease.

Drinking impairs immune cells in vital organs, it makes it harder for the immune system to get into gear and fight off disease.

The NHS website also outlines how quitting smoking will increase blood flow and circulation, improving oxygen levels too. It states that by quitting smoking you’ll “give a boost to your immune system, making it easier to fight off colds and flu.”

Look after mental health

Eastern medicine portrays the idea that everything in the body and mind is interconnected. With this ideology, focusing on your mental health is another way to stay well physically. Practising techniques like meditation and mindfulness can help you live in the moment and focus on the positives in life, especially important during troubled times. Try yoga or Tai Chi to help stay grounded. And try to find ways to stay connected, even when social restrictions are in place.

Follow the rules

It sounds obvious but adhering to restrictions, including following the hands, face, space rules, is one of the best ways to stay well in 2021. Wear a face covering whenever you go to the shops or on public transport, or anywhere that you may come into contact with other people.