It's a new year and you've been setting new goals. Hopefully some of those goals are to incorporate healthy habits and maybe break some unhealthy ones. Cheerleaders need healthy bodies to keep them going strong! Here are some health resolutions to help you be at your best this year:

  1. Drink more water. This is probably the easiest thing you can do for your healthand one of the best! Carry a water bottle around school with you and set a goal of drinking a certain amount ever day. A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces (so if you weigh 140 pounds, you'll drink 70 ounces of water per day). You can set a goal of drinking half a bottle of water in each class, or something similar to keep you on track to reach your goal. This is so good for your overall health, but if you need another reason to motivate you to keep the water coming, it will clear up your skin and keep it looking fresh and healthy.

  2. Eat real food. Most of the food we eat today is highly processed. That means a lot is done to it from the time it's picked from the ground to the point that it's in our mouthsand many things in our foods were never real foods to begin with. Just look at the nutrition information on a bar or snack you're eating. If there's a long list of ingredients, many of which you don't recognize and can't even pronounce, you're eating highly processed foods. This is even true of supposedly healthy nutrition bars and meals. Try to get most of your food each day from real sourcesthings that are in their original form, like bananas, apples, berries, carrots, broccoli, asparagus, avocados, fish, chicken, eggs, almonds, and beans. Fill up on these types of foods and your body will thank you.

  3. Eat consciously. Think about what you're eating and how it makes you feel. Pay attention so you'll know what gives you the most energy for practice, what keeps you full until lunch, and what doesn't upset your stomach before competitions. That way you can fuel properly and effectively to attack whatever comes your way. Especially be mindful when you're enjoying dessert and snack foods. We all know the feeling of eating too much of a good thing and feeling uncomfortably full to the point where we didn't even really enjoy the treat. If you eat slowly and consciously instead of just mindlessly munching, you'll know when you've eaten just enough to enjoy it without making yourself sick.

  4. Drink less sugar. If you're drinking sugary drinks, stop. If you won't stop all together, at least limit yourself. Set a limit you can manage, with a goal of stopping all together someday. Drink water, tea, and coffee without adding sugar. Don't fall for too-good-to-be-true health claims. Diet soda is not good for you just because it has no calories. Diet anything probably isn't good for you because it would be better to drink real sugar than fake sugar. Flavored coffee drinks are full of sugar and most blended coffee drinks are, too. Cut back where you can while still enjoying life. If you drink a vanilla latte, ask for a latte with one or two pumps of vanilla (most places put four pumps). Anything you can realistically do to cut out sugar helps!

  5. Get your beauty rest. If you're a good sleeper, great! If you aren't, figure out ways you can get better sleep. Try taking a few minutes to stretch before bed to wind  down, take a bubble bath, read, and stay away from screens at night (that means phones, too!). To get the benefits of a good night's sleep, you're going to need to keep it consistent. Try your best to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends.

  6. Don't sweat it. When you're stressed you're more likely to break all the healthy habits we just talked about. You might crave more sugary drinks and unhealthy foods, and you'll definitely not sleep as well. So don't stress! That is easier said than done, but you can take steps to minimize stress. The most effective way is to prevent it all together. Figure out what causes you stress and try to avoid it. If it's school work, get it done ahead of time. If it's things you can't avoid, try different coping methods and see what helps you feel better. You can try playing certain music in the car or taking a few minutes at the end of the day to stretch and relax or even watching a show that makes you laugh.

What health resolutions are you making this year?