8 Great New Year’s Resolutions To Turn Your Health Around In 2015
Making New Year’s resolutions to better ourselves is a time-honored tradition only slightly older than the tradition of breaking them within the first month of the new year. Maybe we’re too ambitious in our goals, making grand and unrealistic plans to turn our lives around. The good news is, working on making yourself healthy doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Here are eight totally attainable goals for making 2015 your healthiest year yet.
1. Ditch the super-sizing and your sedentary lifestyle.
A study by McGill University has revealed that obesity can take up to eight years off of your life. While this information is alarming it is not exactly surprising – what is surprising is that over one-third of American adults can be classified as “obese.” To keep yourself healthy and keep from straining your body with the extra weight, you need to exercise – walking is fine to start off with, but try to work your way up to running for the cardio benefits. But you can’t only depend on exercise. You also need to control the your portion sizes while eating, and make sure that your meals are laden with fruits and vegetables, not fast food or comprised mostly of breads.
2. Schedule your check-ups now.
It’s important you make it in to see your doctor each year, and what better way to make sure it happens than to schedule your appointments in (way, way) advance? It’s good to touch base with your doctor so you can discuss any meds you’re taking, have your hearing and vision tested, go through routine cancer exams, and get a chance to discuss any questions or concerns you may have.
3. Fall-proof your house and yourself.
As we grow older our balance grows more precarious if we don’t exercise our sense of equilibrium. Our bones also become less dense, a combination which means that one-third of older adults fall each year, causing injuries like broken hips – or worse. Go through your house and get rid of anything that could cause you to trip, like throw rugs. Along with working on balancing exercises you can install night lights in the hallways, and a “grab rail” in your shower to reduce your chances of falling.
4. Take a dance class.
As described in our blog post, dancing is a great way to combat your chances for developing Alzheimer’s. The combination of physical and mental exercise as well as the socialization a dance class can offer not only helps to keep your brain healthy, it’s not so bad for you emotional health or body, either. You’ll be able to make new friends, increase your confidence, and keep active all at the same time!
5. Cut back on the treats.
Cutting dessert out of your diet entirely is an unreasonable goal – you might last a week or two, but then you’ll end up eating extra sugar to make up for lost time and be right back where you started. So instead, try to find sugar-free or low-fat options like Skinny Cow ice cream, or skip dessert just a couple of times a week. Alcohol also counts as a “treat,” and it’s not just bad because of the calories. As a depressant, too much can leave you feeling blue. Even if you’re a happy drinker, alcohol can contribute to decreased motor control and make you more likely to fall and hurt yourself, so try and cut back.
6. Exercise your noggin.
Your brain is like any other part of your body – you have to use it, or it will weaken. So work on the crossword four times a week, pick up a Sudoku book, or challenge a friend to play against you when Jeopardy! comes on. You can even use your mental workout as a chance to leave the house and take a new class where you learn a new language or skill, like knitting. You’ll be fighting dementia and improving your cognitive focus.
7. Quit Smoking.
You’ve probably been hearing it for years, but it really is time to quit smoking. It doesn’t matter how long since you started – your body will quickly start to benefit from quitting. Not only does it lower your odds of developing heart disease, but you will be able to sleep and breathe easier, and have more energy. Don’t be discouraged if you’ve tried to quit before. It usually takes people four tries to quit for good, which is why the National Cancer Institute set up a website to help long-term smokers.
8. Make it a point to soak some Vitamin D in every day.
Every winter about half a million people fall victim to seasonal affective disorder. As the sun sets earlier, people feel the “winter blues.” Unfortunately the toll on your mental health is a bit stronger than the name suggests: symptoms include withdrawing socially, increased need for sleep, overeating due to stress, and sometimes an inability to get out of bed. By the time the New Year rolls around, you definitely won’t be interested in keeping up with your resolutions if the blues have you. Fortunately, you can fight back by giving your body the vitamin D it needs. Even a five-minute walk during your lunch break can boost your mental health, or you can use high-voltage sun lamps. Vitamin D will give you the energy you need to get through the day, and as the season shifts to spring and summer you should make it a point to keep getting a bit of exposure every day: vitamin D also helps regulate your immune system, absorb calcium, develop bones, and reduce your likelihood of developing the flu or heart disease.