Make Better Health Your Resolution for the New Year

Setting a New Year’s resolution is tradition for millions of people across the United States. The start of a brand-new year offers fresh hope and a blank slate to improve your finances, health and wellness, relationships, job or overall life. And since you only have one life to live, and one body to live it in, resolving to improve your health and well-being is a worthy commitment to make. 

 

What can you do to promote better health and wellness in 2021? Find out here!

1. Exercise Regularly 

Exercising has more benefits than we could possibly name in this article, but the top ones include promoting weight loss and weight control, reducing the risk of heart disease, preserving muscle, bone and joint strength, improving mood and mental health, and improving sleep quality. The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week, or a combination of both. 

 

While “exercising more” is a common New Year’s resolution, many people give up because they can’t find the motivation or it’s too time-consuming to hit up the gym every day. We recommend starting slow and setting specific, achievable goals. For example, resolve to take a brisk walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week. Or commit to going to the local pool for an hour-long swim 3 days a week. You may also find it helpful to join a gym or group fitness class — having to pay for a membership or attend regular sessions can help you stay accountable. 

 

Over time, as you get comfortable meeting the small goals you’ve set, up the ante by making your goals more challenging.      

2. Reduce Sitting Time

Doing a full-blown workout isn’t the only way to start meeting your fitness goals and getting in shape. You can promote better health by reducing your sitting time and moving more during the day. Research shows that prolonged sitting increases the risk of health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sitting can also increase your risk of experiencing anxiety and depression.

 

Luckily, there are so many little things you can do to break sedentary patterns. At work, invest in a standing desk, use a smaller water glass and take frequent strolls to the cooler, walk a message over to a colleague instead of emailing it, and take the stairs instead of the elevator. At home, stand while talking on the phone or folding laundry, walk outside to check the mailbox every day, and incorporate at-home stretching routines into your daily schedule. Even chores like cleaning the house, washing the dishes, weeding the garden and mowing the lawn help get you up and moving — so remember that your health is at stake the next time you want to flake out on house cleaning responsibilities.

3. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Weight

Losing weight and eating better are common resolutions for a reason: good nutrition and weight management reduces the risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes, improves mood and mental health, and increases energy levels. Unfortunately, this is also one of the most commonly broken resolutions because it’s hard to eat better foods, lose weight, or even just maintain a current healthy weight. 

 

We recommend tackling healthy eating by taking baby steps. Too many people quickly become overwhelmed, frustrated and overcome with cravings when they make a blanket resolution to cut out all carbs, sugars, or “bad” foods. The all-or-nothing approach usually ends with a binge, shame, and guilt. Instead, make small changes, like swapping out chips for an apple or a soda for water. Or incorporate fresh, healthy foods into meals you’re already making — transform your scrambled eggs and bacon into an omelet with bacon bits, tomatoes, spinach and antioxidant-rich bell peppers. Once you adjust to one healthy change, add another and watch the small changes turn into big results over time.   

4. Quit Smoking

Smoking is one of the worst things you can do for your body and health. Not only does smoking increase your chances of developing chronic diseases and cancer, but it actually shortens your lifespan. Smoking and using tobacco products harms every organ in your body and it’s a leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. 

 

And once you’ve picked up the habit, it’s one of the most difficult ones to quit. Luckily, the CDC and the American Heart Association have some tips to help you get started. 

5. Make Sleep a Priority

The CDC recommends that adults get at least 7 hours of quality, restful sleep every night. Their data shows that those who don’t are more likely to smoke, be obese, be physically inactive and have chronic conditions. Adequate sleep improves mood, boosts energy during the day and promotes alertness and focus/  

 

But if you’re already juggling a busy schedule, finding the time to snooze for a few more hours every night may seem impossible. One approach is to start small by going to bed 15 or 20 minutes early each night. Once that’s become routine, add another 15 or 20 minutes. Keep going until you’re getting a solid 7 hours a night.

 

If the problem is that you struggle to fall asleep, change up your nightly routines and environment. In the evening, limit your intake of sugary snacks, alcohol and caffeine. Try to avoid stimulating activities for the last hour or two before bedtime. Instead of scrolling on Facebook or watching an action-packed movie, try reading a book, taking a warm bath, or listening to music. When it’s time for bed, make sure your room is dark and cool, the optimal environment for restful sleep.   

Let Integrity Spine and Orthopedics Help You on Your Health and Wellness Journey

Don’t let joint pain, back pain or neck pain slow you down in 2021. Whether you’re suffering from an acute injury or chronic pain, Integrity Spine and Orthopedics has the orthopedic care, pain management, sports medicine, and surgery services to help you to get back on your feet and back to doing the activities you love. 

 

 We have a convenient clinic located in Jacksonville, FL. Please call us or fill out a form to request your first appointment.

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