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Ten Steps to a Healthy New Year

By Kathy Hubbard
“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” This quote by American writer, Melody Beattie is going to set the stage for today’s article.
One in three of us will resolve to better ourselves in the coming year. And about 75 percent of us will stay on that course, says an article on Health.com, for at least a week, anyway. And, almost half of us will claim to be on target six months from now. Not bad. Is that you?
Here are ten ideas for resolutions that may improve your quality of life and health this coming year:
1. Lose weight. “The fact that this is perennially among the most popular resolutions suggests just how difficult it is to commit to. But you can succeed if you don’t expect overnight success,” Health.com says.
So, what to do? Keep a what-you-eat journal so you can cut back on high calorie, low nutrition valued foods. Watch how often you eat fast foods and limit your intake of soft drinks even so-called diet ones. Read labels and control your portions.
2. Quit smoking. Sure, it might help to reduce the amount of tobacco you use, but the best idea is to just cut it out. We all know that it can be hard, so get help from your primary healthcare provider.
And, if you’re using an e-cigarette to get your nicotine blast, quit that too.
3. Get more exercise. Buying a gym membership doesn’t do you any good unless you use it. So plan accordingly. Figure out when during your busy day you can take an hour to exercise. Then do it.
Oh, so you don’t have an hour? Go online and check out 7 Minute Workout. No equipment needed and you can do it at your desk. It’s fun, try it.
Then take the stairs; park your car at least a block away from where you’re going, and when the stress of life starts to make you feel tense, take a walk. Thirty minutes of walking is very, very good for you.
4. Reduce stress. Be aware of feeling like you’re at your wit’s end. Make lists to help you prioritize your tasks. Take a time out — good time for that walk, right? Get a good night’s sleep. Learn how to say “no.” Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.
5. Take charge of your health. Make an appointment to have a complete physical examination. Know your numbers. Get up-to-date on your vaccinations including those for pertussis, pneumonia and shingles. If you haven’t already, get a flu shot. Enough said on that.
6. Follow simple safety precautions. For instance, buckle up your seat belt every time you get into a vehicle whether or not you’re driving. The Centers for Disease Control states that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. Who isn’t wearing them? The 18 to 34 year olds. Men are 10 percent less likely to wear them than women. Hear that?
7. Wear the correct safety gear for your sport. No excuses. Protect your body from a trip to ER; you’ll be a happier person for it.
8. Wash your hands. It’s flu season. The best protection, besides that flu shot, is to keep your hands clean. After you shake hands, touch a basket in the grocery, see someone sneeze, wash your hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds. Use alcohol-based sanitizer when you can’t wash.
9. Protect your skin. Wear sunscreen when out of doors even in the winter when the sun’s rays can be particularly harmful. Moisturize to prevent chapping. Wear weather-appropriate clothing, including gloves to protect your hands.
10. Limit your use of alcohol. You know the drill. No more than two drinks for a guy and one for a gal. Celebrate the New Year, but moderately. Friday’s hangover can be prevented.
So, choose your resolution(s), make sure you follow through and have a happy and very healthy 2016!
Kathy Hubbard is a member of Bonner General Health Foundation Advisory Council. She can be reached at 264-4029 or kathyleehubbard@yahoo.com.

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