Each year, we make resolutions to exercise regularly, eat well, and give up smoking and other bad habits. Following these basic rules could cut heart disease risk by 80 percent, diabetes risk by 90 percent and cancer risk by 50 percent. But, most of us fail to keep our promises to ourselves.
This year, skip the resolutions and stay healthy by sticking to these seven steps:
- Add strength training to your exercise program. Too many people neglect resistance exercise, particularly women for whom it’s crucial for preventing muscle and bone loss with age. In addition to getting at least 30 minutes of cardio exercise on most days, lift weights for at least 20 minutes, two- to three times per week.
- Focus on healthy eating, not dieting. Healthy eating starts with learning new ways to eat, such as adding more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and cutting back on foods that have a lot of fat, salt, and sugar.
- Go fish. The oils in darker types of fish, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and herring, are good for your heart and brain and may even lower your risk of cancer. Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Drink water. There are 1000’s of sugary drinks on the market and we’re drinking too many of them. These drinks are the largest source of empty calories in the American diet, and they’re causing us to pour on the pounds. Reach for water first when you’re thirsty.
- Sleep eight hours a night. Adequate sleep makes you feel better, decreases risk for cardiovascular disease, boosts memory and reduces the likelihood of being in a car accident. Make your bedroom a sanctuary. Keep it dark, cool and quiet. Don’t work, eat, watch TV, use a phone, tablet or computer in your bedroom.
- If you smoke, quit. It’s hard to quit smoking, but you can do it. Even ‘social’ smoking is bad for your health. Talk to your doctor about quitting and what options are best for you.
- Form a relationship with your Primary Care Physician. After downloading the MyChart app, learn about the many benefits as this provider will help you achieve optimal health and wellness … so what are you waiting for?! Make an appointment.