It’s easy to make healthy resolutions for the New Year. We’re almost compelled to, because the flip of the calendar offers the promise of wiping the slate clean and starting a whole new life for ourselves.
But often, our best intentions fall by the wayside by the end of January. So our concierge primary care doctors in Jupiter would like to suggest a few healthy resolutions you can make that will be easy to stick to but can still make a significant difference in your health in the coming year.
Before you dive into any changes, experts suggest you begin by making a list of what you’ll do to improve your health, and the reasons why you want to.
- Do you want to live longer?
- Avoid illness?
- Have more energy during the day?
- Sleep better at night?
- Lose five pounds?
- Feel more relaxed?
Rresolutions don’t have to be lofty or monumental to be worthwhile. Anything that makes you feel better about yourself and gives you a sense of achievement when you’ve accomplished your goal is worth resolving to do. And if you can incorporate them as new habits into your life, that’s more than many people do.
So whatever your ultimate aim, start small. If you want to lose 100 pounds, start by planning to lose ten. If you want to run a marathon, begin by running around the block every morning.
Then congratulate yourself for these accomplishments and build on them.
Here are some suggestions for simple, healthy resolutions that are easy to work into your daily life, and will have a positive impact on your health.
1. Any kind of exercise is good for your body.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 2.5 hours of moderate aerobic exercise a week. But if you can’t manage that, start by taking the stairs more often. Or park away from the store. Try to spare 10 or 15 minutes a day for a quick walk at lunch, or around your neighborhood before work or after dinner.
2. If you want to lose weight, start by cutting just 100 calories a day.
Maybe skip the cream or sugar in your coffee, or have one less tablespoon of butter on your meal, or have a wine spritzer instead of an evening cocktail. Save desserts for the weekend, or cut out just one processed food you now eat regularly.
3. To begin eating healthier overall, don’t revamp your entire menu.
Simply add one fruit or vegetable to your daily menu, or switch out a meal of red meat for fish once a week. Taste your food before salting it. Try baking a dish instead of frying it.
4. Add more nuts to your diet.
A 2013 Harvard study tracked 119,000 men and women over 30 years and found that those who ate nuts every day were 20 percent less likely to die over the study period than those who never ate nuts. They were also found to have lower levels of the so-called “bad” cholesterol (LDL) and higher levels of “good” cholesterol (HDL), as well as lower blood pressure. Those who ate nuts once a week were 11 percent less likely to die. And it doesn’t take much to reap the benefits: less than a handful a day will do it.
5. Sleep is essential to a healthy body and mind.
Try to keep to a regular sleep schedule. Turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime. Make a list of things you can put off until tomorrow so you can get to bed on time tonight. If worries keep you awake, list them, too, then put them aside for the morning. If you’re having trouble sleeping, let us know so we can help you.
6. Take small steps to reduce stress.
Take a stroll through your neighborhood after dinner. Practice mindfulness or deep belly breathing. Set your phone to remind you to stop every hour or so and step outside for five minutes. Turn off automatic notifications of texts, emails, or social media. When you feel your stress levels climbing, stop and take five slow breaths.
7. Get a vaccine for the coronavirus if you haven’t done so already.
There are still 1,000 Americans dying from COVID-19 every day, and the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others. And while you’re at it, get a flu vaccine, as well. We need to prevent a “twindemic” of COVID-19 and the flu. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the flu killed 22,000 Americans, and resulted in hospitalization of an additional 400,000. (At least 795,000 Americans have died of COVID-19 to date.)
It’s not that difficult to make small changes that can help your health overall. And in all these cases, little things can add up to big results.