Work Towards a Healthy Lifestyle in the New Year
Whether it is a New Year’s Resolution, a disturbing medical report, or you are just fed up with the way you look and feel, you may finally be motivated to adopt a healthier lifestyle in Y 2018.
That is a smart move.
But, the truth is that making the decision to change is the easy part. Following through can be very challenging, and many people revert back to their old ways because they cannot see it through.
The Big Q: So how can one improve the odds of success?
The Big A: “The 1st thing it takes is to make a commitment to be responsible for your own health, and not rely on your doctors or anyone else,” says Dr. Mitchell Ghen, a Boca Raton, Florida.-based integrative physician.
Dr. Ghen says that the journey to good health is Marathon, not a Sprint.
If you go on a crash diet, suddenly start running miles every day and otherwise take things to an extreme, you are likely setting yourself up for failure.
“At first, make small changes,” Dr. Ghen says. “The old adage that a 1,000-mile journey begins with one step is relevant in this regard.”
Below are the Key lifestyle areas to address, as follows:
Eat Real Food: The 1st task is to learn which foods are healthy and which are not. In general, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, legumes, nuts and seeds are all on the healthy side, and going Organic as much as possible will reduce your exposure to toxins. Processed and fried foods, sugary drinks, and simple carbohydrates are not healthy. Try substituting out the bad stuff with the good a little at a time.
There are plenty of healthy foods out there so do not try to force yourself to eat something you do not like. Make conscious choices about what you put in your mouth; do not fill up your body with the wrong kind of food.
Try starting with 20 mins of moderate exercise 4X a week. “The most important thing is to exercise regularly,” says Dr. Ghen. “Vary what you do so you get some strength training and some aerobic. And find things you enjoy, whether it’s martial arts, running, weightlifting or whatever.”
Experts suggest working exercise into your regular routine by doing things such as taking stairs instead of elevators, parking at the far side of lots, carrying groceries in a hand-basket rather than a cart, and walking around while on the phone.
Chill Out: It may be hard to escape stress in the 24/7 frenzy of the 21st Century, but it is vital to our health. “Stress increases the levels of cortisol and other hormones that are damaging to the heart, brain and even DNA,” explains Dr. Ghen. “In many aspects, stress is a Killer.”
Exercising, meditating, controlled breathing, singing, and having a good laugh are a few ways to beat stress.
So, set aside some time for yourself every day, where you can relax and get yourself back to center.
Get Good Sleep: The human body needs sleep to clean and repair itself. But too little sleep or too much is no good. Studies show that 6-8 hours of sleep a day is optimal. And avoid sleep aides because they disrupt the natural sleep-wake cycle.
“If you have a problem sleeping, you need to see an integrative physician who can analyze your biochemistry to find out why,” says Dr. Ghen. “Once you fix your biochemistry, you should be able to sleep normally again.”
Socialize: Studies consistently show that people who have the most social connections live healthier and longer lives than others. And that does not mean relying only on social media. You also need face-to-face encounters.
“As humans, we require social interaction with others,” says Dr. Ghen. “Just like the cells in our bodies need other cells to perform properly, we need other people.”
To help turn this New Year’s Resolutions into a permanent lifestyle I will be providing 1 health tip daily in our Health Section in January, tune in.
Together, these 30 tips will form the guide allowing those who follow it to take control of their health.
Best Wishes for a Happy, Healthy New Year.