We tend to make unrealistic health New Year’s resolutions that are hard to stick with, but this year try to take a different approach and make your resolution overall health, both physically and mentally. Here are some simple things you can do to prioritize your health for the new year.
Freshen up your diet!
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the best weapons for fighting obesity and diseases. Instead of planning to start a restrictive diet that is unsustainable, start adding to your diet. Expand your diet to include more fresh and whole foods.
Whole foods are unprocessed, free of additives, and rich in nutrients and vitamins. This may seem like a daunting task, especially with a busy lifestyle. You can include more whole foods into your diet by:
- Choosing a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet.
- Boost your diet with whole grains. Choose oats, whole-grain rice, and bran
- Lessen the number of times you eat out at a restaurant and try some new recipes to cook at home
Change your sleeping habits
Did you know that getting enough sleep is imperative for proper brain function? The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7-9 hours of sleep. It is possible to get enough hours of sleep, but still not feel well-rested. The problem may lie in your bedtime routine. To get establish a better sleep routine, try these tips:
- Develop a calming nightly routine, which could include reading, journaling, or meditating.
- Limit noise and distractions in your bedroom. When you sleep, it should be in a dark, quiet, and cool place.
- Turn off electronic devices 30 minutes- an hour before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol and sugary snacks at night before bedtime
Think you know about sleep? Take this sleep quiz!
Move your body more!
There’s a reason the gym memberships spike during the New Year and then taper off. Unrealistic and unsustainable exercise goals can set any resolution up for failure. If you are just starting with an exercise program, start slowly. Gradually build up to 30 minutes a day.
Choose an activity that you will enjoy. You are more likely to continue exercising if you are doing something that you like. At first, follow a program that includes moderate, not vigorous, physical activity. Start with 30 minutes a day. Add some variety to your fitness routine—not only in the fitness activity that you choose but also in the time and setting. This helps to limit boredom with any single activity or location.
Experts now advise participating in 2 types of physical activity each week. This can help to ensure aerobic health and muscle strengthening. Muscle strengthening activities include lifting weights, using resistance bands, and practicing yoga or Pilates. Do these exercises twice a week. They should include the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, chest, arms, shoulders, and abdomen).
If your lifestyle doesn’t permit an exercise routine, then focus on getting some form of daily movement where you can.
Schedule a visit with your primary care provider
Don’t let heart disease, stroke, and other health conditions sneak up on you. Instead, prevent them by seeing your doctor for a yearly wellness checkup. At your checkup, your doctor will likely suggest health screenings. These tests can help spot potentially deadly conditions before they become life-threatening.
A routine check-up is something that should be included in your lifestyle every year to monitor your health.
Remember habits do not form overnight. It's important to start off slow and remain consistent. Consider creating a habit journal to track your daily patterns, and adjust to best fit your lifestyle.
About Dr. Cecilia Tran
Dr. Tran specializes in Family Medicine at Touro. She attended LSU School of Medicine and completed her residency at LSU Health Sciences Center and is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine.