It is the beginning of a New (Lunar) Year, which means whether warranted or not we are all more aware of our health and fitness. Gyms and sports shops are the first to capitalize on this shared anxiety, but if you can (briskly) walk past the ‘10 percent off a lifetime membership’ or the pair of trainers that can tell you how far you need to run to burn off the doughnut you’ve just scoffed, there are some alternatives to improve your health.

Here are five tips to get you started.


1) Set attainable goals. Whatever you are doing, be it exercise or reducing your intake of fatty foods, you are more likely to stick to your regime with small reachable steps. Keep a record of your accomplishments so you can see your progress, which in turn will motivate you even more. But make sure whatever you do, you set goals. They just need to be realistic.


2) Listen to your body. If exercise is new to you or you are returning after a long break, don’t push yourself too hard at first. Your body is a great natural thermometer, try to understand what it is telling you, it will be the first to shout out if it is being over-exerted.


3) Listen to the law. Well, specifically, try and follow the ban on smoking in public places that was introduced in Vietnam last year. If you can cut out the sneaky cigarette in the toilet cubicle at work it is one step closer to not needing the cigarette before and after bed.


4) Turn off your phone, tablet or laptop. While staying active is beneficial, so is rest. Make room for downtime. You might tell yourself that checking your emails while on the sofa means your body is resting. However your head needs time off, too. An hour off in the evening will help you unwind, but don’t stop there. A good night’s sleep means no bleeping interference. Switch off. Stop the 3G and the auto-sync working. Put your phone on silent. You need a break.


5) Don’t be afraid to share! You will be surprised by how many of us feel the same way about our bodies and health. Talk to friends and family, they might have the same goals and the journey is much easier if you have support. If you are not comfortable speaking to people close to you, consider consulting a professional counselor. Don’t rely on Google, which can only inflame anxiety.


Good luck for a healthier new year. Receive more tips for improving your health by attending the Health for Life event hosted by Family Medical Practice and California Fitness and Yoga at the Royal City Centuryon Club (L2 Tower R3, Royal City, Hanoi) on Sat Mar. 29 from 2pm to 6pm. Attend to receive healthy benefits, gift bags and a chance to win in our prize draw.


Family Medical Practice is located in Vietnam’s major cities. For information or assistance call (04) 3843 0748 (Hanoi), (08) 3822 7848 (Ho Chi Minh City) or (0511) 3582 699 (Danang). Alternatively, click on

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