At the start of every year, millions of Americans promise to make lifestyle changes. Whether it’s through losing weight, changing jobs, budgeting expenses or strategizing other new initiatives, resolutions require sacrifice.
The results? People typically discard their new routines and plunge into old habits. One month into the New Year, how are you doing with your healthy living goals?
Oftentimes, we have trouble removing things from our lives. However, when it comes to healthy living, adding is often more effective than subtracting. Mercy Health family medicine physicians Dr. Erin Fries and Dr. Michael Todd suggest social relationships, hydration, movement, mindfulness and sleep hygiene. Try adding these five things into your routine to keep your healthy living streak strong.
Five healthy living goals to add this year
- Social Relationships – We need to begin prioritizing people. With mobile devices and the internet, we live in a world of screens. Especially with social media, it becomes easy to isolate ourselves from other people while getting the satisfaction of scrolling through their content. We should prioritize people instead. “We need to make those connections because it helps us understand where we fit in the community,” says Dr. Fries.
- Hydration – “In the winter, the humidity is gone from our environment. That slowly leeches water out of your skin and vital organs,” Dr. Todd says. He recommends drinking eight full glasses a day to replenish our bodies.
- Movement – Commit to taking 10,000 steps a day for physical and mental boosts of energy. This simple action measures to approximately 5 miles. Use an activity tracker – via smartwatch or mobile app – to count your progress.
- Mindfulness – Take at least three to four minutes to focus on the present. There are many mobile apps that can guide you through deep breathing exercises or meditation. “If you are mindful periodically throughout the day, your mind will be less cluttered by the time your head hits the pillow,” says Dr. Todd.
- Sleep Hygiene (Better Sleep) – For a full night’s rest, prepare your room for quality sleep. Dr. Fries and Dr. Todd recommend the following tips:
- Don’t drink too many fluids before bed
- Put all gadgets and screens away 45 minutes before sleeping.
- If you’re a nighttime reader, opt for a chair instead of your sleeping spot
- Keep your room cool and dark
- Dedicate 7-8 hours to sleep
Additional healthy living goals and tips
- Power Napping – According to the National Sleep Foundation, setting a routine of short naps quickly improves mood, alertness and performance. Rest that is timed for 15 – 20 minutes resets the body’s system, boosts alertness and increases motor performance. It also prevents grogginess and interference with nighttime sleep. Longer naps, on the other hand, boost creativity, and 30-60 minutes of sleep is good for decision making.
- Clean Eating – A nutritional diet maintains healthy weight and reduces the chances of heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and high blood pressure. You can start by choosing fruits and vegetables for snacks or planning meals that are based on the nationally recommended food groups and portions.
- Preventative Health Screenings – Routine medical checkups may intervene early stages of various health risks, such as cancers and other diseases or illnesses.
- Dental Care – Pay closer attention to your oral care routine and schedule annual checkups with your dentist. While attending the appointment, ask for advice on preventing cavities, plaque and yellowed teeth. Poor dental hygiene increases the risk for some cancers.
To learn more about how you can make your resolutions last, read our three tips for keeping New Year’s resolutions. If you have any questions regarding your healthy living goals or in how to implement a new routine, visit mercy.com or call 513-952-5000 to make an appointment with a doctor.