KEEPING NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
Strategies for New Year’s Resolutions
by ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine
Tips for New Year’s Resolutions.
- Losing weight is usually the #1 New Year’s resolution.
- Less than 50% of all people make New Year’s resolutions.
- Reducing the size of the plate or bowl has been linked to weight loss.
- Increase your intake of antioxidants to help prevent infection, inflammation, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Seek the advice of a Physical Therapist if you are unsure of the proper exercises to add to your daily routine.
Happy New Year! Even as we offer and receive this greeting, we begin thinking about what changes the New Year will bring. As we look back on successes and challenges of the past year, it is like looking into the mirror. We assess health, finances, relationships, habits and consider what changes might improve our overall quality of life. While many New Year’s Resolutions are often abandoned in less than 30 days, we can set realistic goals that can lead to genuine change and improvement.
If you are going to set resolutions avoid drastic change. Be realistic and make changes slowly and gradually. Choose attainable goals and pursue them with vigor and devotion. When you experience a positive result and your life has begun to change, maintaining the resolution will become much easier and the success will stimulate you to follow through on your resolution.
Some of the most popular resolutions are:
Lose weight – Over 60% of Americans are considered overweight/obese: losing weight is one of the most common New Year’s Resolutions. Start out with a realistic weight goal like losing one to three pounds per month. Stay focused on moderate lifestyle changes in your eating habits. Avoid fad diets. While these usually produce drastic results in a short period of time, the severe alteration in your diet is very difficult to maintain. Most people end up “falling off the wagon” and gaining more weight than they lost.
Get in shape – Increasing fitness levels has been linked to many positive health outcomes. A better cardiovascular condition helps to reduce the frequency of heart disease. Improved fitness has also been associated with reduced stress levels, decreased onset of some forms of cancer, enhanced mood, helps to maintain a desired body weight and reduce the effects of osteoarthritis. You should incorporate both cardiovascular and strength training exercises into your fitness program. A cardiovascular routine should be performed a minimum of 3 times per week for 30 minutes. Your heart rate should be elevated and maintained at approximately 70% of the maximal heart rate. (A simple way to figure out your maximum heart rate is use the following formula: 220 – your age = max heart rate). Strength training can help to develop muscle, support the joints dynamically, and reduce the stress and strain on the static stabilizing structures. Increased muscle will enhance the metabolism and aid in maintaining a desired body weight.
Quit Smoking – If you’re still smoking, this is a perfect time to quit. Smoking damages your body on many levels. There are carcinogens in cigarettes and cigar smoke. The carbon monoxide that is found in the smoke “steals” vital oxygen from the red blood cells, and oxygen is needed for every bodily function therefore the body’s ability to perform is reduced. Tar and nicotine accumulate in the lungs, which can lead to chronic breathing problems. If you have struggled in the past, don’t give up. Most people that try to stop smoking will attempt to stop 4x before they are successful. When attempting to quit, you should leverage the support of local groups and cessation programs. There are also new and improved products on the market that help to reduce the nicotine craving.
Reduce Stresses in your life – The non-stop pace of our contemporary culture is full of stress. Money, work, relationships and family can cause your “blood to boil.” This kind of stress can be devastating to your body, causing the body to release the hormone cortisol. While this hormone can save your life in an emergency by stimulating the “fight or flight” reaction of the nervous system, it can be detrimental to all bodily functions when it is too high. High levels of stress have also been linked to some forms of cancer, depression, chronic fatigue and other illnesses. Start reducing stress by managing your finances, improving your relationships and starting an exercise regiment. Regular exercise can help reduce cortisol levels over time.
The New Year is a time for reflection and change. Take a moment to think about the good and bad in your life and build on the good and change the bad. You can improve the quality of your life and be a better person with a little effort and change.
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