Sometimes setting easier resolutions works better than making ambitious ones
Are you going to turn over a new leaf in the New Year? Exercise every day, lose weight, keep the house clean, stop smoking, and teach yourself a foreign language? If so, then this article is not for you. But if you are like many of us who break our resolutions by January 15, then read on!
We are promoting 5 ideas for simple New Year’s resolutions that you can keep. They may not be earth-shattering or life-changing, but little by little, they can help to improve your health and wellness, and what’s more, they may put you in the right frame of mind to take on more ambitious goals as the year goes on!
Resolution #1: Step your way to better health
Walking is a fairly easy way to exercise. There is no need for elaborate exercise clothes, and no need to drive to the gym. It doesn’t take the place of rigorous aerobic exercise, but every step counts! So why not try to add more walking to your days? Here are some simple ways to do it:
- Take the farthest parking spot, and walk across the parking lot to your destination.
- Take the stairs! Avoid the elevators and escalators, and use your own energy to take you up. If you work on the 10th floor, take the elevator to 5 or 6, and walk the rest.
- If you get the urge to turn on the TV, take a walk around your block first.
- Buy a pedometer; try to increase the number of steps you take each day.
- In bad weather, take a walk at the mall.
- Buddy up! Meet a friend for a walk and a talk once a week.
Once you become an avid walker, you might be ready to add more exercise to your life. You’d be surprised how good it feels!
Resolution #2: Make a doctor’s appointment
Many of us neglect to get a yearly physical, and this could lead to missing important signs of our overall health. Give yourself until January 15 to make that call. Ask for a complete physical. This appointment is your chance to ask your doctor about any health concerns you might have. Be sure to write down a list of questions before the appointment so that you don’t forget once the doctor walks in. Your doctor will probably want to screen for the following:
- Blood pressure
- Good and bad cholesterol
- Blood sugar levels
- Examination of your head, neck, throat, abdomen, nerves, skin, and extremities
- EKG or other tests if recommended
Having a physical can help you decide which areas you need to focus on the most, and might lead to a renewed commitment to staying in good health.
Resolution #3: Add fish to your diet
Eating a diet that contains fish a few times per week can provide essential omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, which are believed to contribute to heart health. Start with adding fish to your meals once per week, and see if you can increase it to twice per week. Some fish are high in mercury contamination, so do not eat them frequently (such as albacore tuna, swordfish, mackerel, orange roughy, halibut, shark, marlin, and fresh tuna). The lower-mercury fish that are safe to eat regularly are:
- Lake trout
- Wild and Alaska Salmon
Resolution #4: Add a fruit or vegetable and hold the chips!
Processed foods are so easy and readily available that our diets tend to contain too many of them. They can contribute to weight gain and high cholesterol, so it’s best to enjoy them in moderation. Rather than banning them all (a resolution that might easily fail), try to remove a different processed item each week and replace it with a fruit or vegetable.
- Have an apple instead of a cookie
- Have raw almonds instead of chips
- Have baby carrots instead of crackers
- Have dried fruit instead of chocolate
As you get used to these healthier treats, you may start enjoying them, and work toward a healthier diet all year long.
Resolution #5: Take care of your skin with sunscreen
It’s not hard to put on sunscreen, and it is a very effective tool against skin cancer and premature aging. Give your skin some TLC and use sunscreen wisely this year. For the cooler, less sunny months when you won’t be in the sun much, wearing a moisturizer with sunscreen in it will help. For the sunny months from late spring to early fall, get more serious with your sunscreen:
- Choose 30 SPF.
- Put the sunscreen on all exposed skin about 30 minutes before sun exposure.
- Re-apply it every 2 hours, or after being in the water or sweating.
- Apply a lot of it! Many people do not apply enough for it to be fully effective.
- Don’t forget to cover your lips and ears too!
- Minimize the amount of skin exposed to the sun by wearing a hat and covering as much of your skin as you can.
Resolution #6: Drink water!
Good hydration is good for you. Aim for about 8 glasses of water per day if you can. Some people like to fill two 32-ounce containers at the beginning of the day, and slowly finish them throughout the day. And try to avoid sugary drinks, which simply add empty calories to your day. If you can’t get by without your soda, try substituting zero-calorie flavored seltzer water.
Here’s wishing a Happy New Year to everyone! We hope these small adjustments add up to big improvements in your life!
This article was brought to you by the Salter School for Nursing and Allied Health. Located in Manchester, NH, our school provides allied health training for nurse practitioners, nurse’s assistants, and patient care technicians. For more information, feel free to contact us at any time.