8 Easy to Follow Resolutions for a Healthy New Year
New Year’s brings along the time to reflect on the previous year and create resolutions to make the upcoming year better than before. It’s easy to make resolutions, but sometimes not so easy to stick with them. Not all resolutions have to be grand and unmanageable to keep up with though, especially resolutions pertaining to your health. Follow these simple resolutions to make the new year your healthiest one yet!
Talk to your Doctor
The most common New Year’s resolutions people make are to lose weight and exercise more, but often these can be turned into unhealthy fasting, extravagant diets, and a workout regimine difficult to maintain throughout the year. Instead of creating what could be an unhealthy diet and exercise routine, discuss with your doctor first and let them help you achieve your resolutions. Additionally, if you have any other resolutions relating to your health (such as quitting smoking, limiting drinking, or even a good skincare routine), then talk with your doctor before coming up with a plan. Remember, search engines aren’t the most reliable medical source, so it’s best to save your health-related questions for your doctor and receive guidance from them. If you feel nervous talking with your doctor, keep in mind that behind the scrubs and stethoscope is another human, and they want to help you be the healthiest you can be.
Get a Physical
Don’t skip out on your annual physical exam this year; these wellness visits allow your doctor the opportunity to check your health status and can potentially detect a condition early when it’s most easily treated. They’re a chance for your doctor to check all your vitals, go over your medications, and answer any questions you may have. Check out our blog post The Importance of Annual Physicals to learn more about why you should schedule your annual physical exam.
Annual Screenings and Vaccinations
One of the best ways to take control of your health is to prioritize prevention. Discuss with your doctor about what annual screenings and vaccinations may be due for you this year (some may be dependant on age, gender, and current health status) and be sure to schedule them as soon as possible.
Practice Safety in the Bedroom
Make it a resolution to practice safe sex by always using protection and by getting an STI (sexually transmitted infection) test whenever you have a new sexual partner, or at least once a year. Keep in mind that while the pill can prevent pregnancy, it does not offer protection against STIs. Women should ensure to keep up with their regular OB/GYN checkups and screenings, including a mammogram every 1-2 years as well as a Pap test and HPV test at least once every five years. Women should also make it a resolution to perform monthly breast self-exams and see a doctor as soon as possible if anything abnormal is felt.
Focus on Fitness
Instead of making a resolution to lose weight, make a resolution to be fit, which includes incorporating strength training into your exercises rather than just focusing on cardio. Using the treadmill may be in most people’s comfort zone, but it’s best to mix exercises and include weight intensive workouts to incorporate strength training into your routine. We lose muscle mass as we age, but consistently lifting weights can help to improve bone density and fight osteoporosis. Along with strength training, add stretching at least four times a week to your fitness resolutions list. Aging can lead to a loss of flexibility and cause muscles to shorten, but routinely stretching can make them longer and more flexible, which will improve your range of motion.
New Year’s resolutions are easier to keep when you can do them with loved ones, which is why making resolutions for the whole family is a fun and rewarding way to make everyone’s year healthier. Make a plan with your doctor to keep all the children up-to-date on their vaccinations and health exams, schedule family exercises to keep everyone active, and do a family pantry raid to toss out unhealthy snacks in the house.
Know your Numbers
Make one of your resolutions this year to track and manage important numbers, including your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and fasting blood sugar. These numbers are influenced almost directly by your lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and stress, and keeping track can help you determine the best ways to maintain healthy levels throughout the year. Discuss with your doctor about how often you should check these numbers and how best to maintain them at healthy levels.
Stress can severely affect your cognitive, physical, and mental health, so it’s vital to make finding stress-reducing activities a priority resolution for the new year. Practice mindfulness by trying yoga, reading, meditating, or anything else that may help you relax! We all have different stress relievers, just find whatever works best for you. Additionally, be honest with your doctor if you’re feeling overwhelmed or have any signs of depression; your primary care doctor is an asset for your mental health as well as your physical health, don’t hesitate to talk with them!
Care, for all aspects of life
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