Our Favorite Resolutions
Still searching for your New Year’s resolution? Our medical staff contributed their ideas for the most useful resolutions and offered their ideas about how to make them a part of your life.
Moving more. We all know exercise is good for us. Taking the first step can be difficult. Lisa Downing-Forget, MD, of SVMC Internal Medicine, reminds her patients, “exercise, which releases stress, is not the same as work, which creates stress, so remember to move just for you—not just because you have to!” Begin by carving out a specific time for exercise and just put on your sneakers at that time. That’s step one. “Once you’ve gotten into that habit,” she explains, “choose your movement.” It could be dancing to your favorite music or flipping on an easy beginner workout video. (There are many free options available. Try fitnessblender.com, if you don’t know where to begin.) If you have hesitation or questions about activities that you should or should not be doing, ask your health care provider. “As you gain confidence, change up your movement and explore all of the really good feelings that come with moving regularly.”
More fruits and veggies. Eating more fruits and vegetables is a great resolution. “Fruits and vegetables contain fiber, water, and valuable nutrients. They are also really satisfying and can help you feel fuller longer,” said Registered Dietitian Kristin Irace. “Once you get used to eating more healthy foods, you might also find it easier to give up processed foods, which can be harmful when consumed in large quantities,” she continued. “If you don’t eat any fruit or vegetables now, aim for one serving a day. If you eat some, focus on finding new vegetable-oriented recipes to try.”
Preparing meals at home. Cooking more of your own meals, rather than eating out, comes with impressive health, quality of life, and financial benefits. “Most restaurant meals are not designed with health in mind,” Irace explains. Cooking your meals at home allows you to control exactly what is going into your dish. “The most delicious and flavorful home-cooked meals are bound to have more healthy ingredients and fewer of those that require caution, like saturated fat and salt, than those cooked out.” Plus, cooking is fun and provides great quality time with those you love. “Plus,” Irace says, “you will save money too.”
Avoiding sweet beverages. A lot of people drink tons of unnecessary calories in the form of sugary coffee, energy drinks, or soda. “If you drink more than one sweetened beverage each day, begin by cutting back,” Irace recommends. “If you drink one per day or less, what about making your sugary drink a Friday treat?” She continues, “aim for 30ml of water per kilogram of your body weight per day.” This healthy step can help you maintain a healthy weight and cut your risk of obesity, cancer, diabetes, and other diseases.
A better sleep routine. “Sound sleep is so important to good health,” says Dr. Downing-Forget. In fact, it’s fundamental. “Developing a really good sleep routine could be the important first step to improve your health and your satisfaction with life, because a good night’s sleep has the power to drive other positive changes.” Many people turn to medications for better sleep, but medications often work for just a short time or don’t get to the root of the problem. “Medications are not the only answer. Ask your provider about ways to get better sleep without medications.” Getting better sleep is one of the more complex resolutions, because it could require a lot of other changes to your lifestyle, but with great challenges come the possibility of great rewards!
Enjoying the outdoors. Kim Fodor, MD, of SVMC Internal Medicine, recommends making a weekly date with nature. Just 2 hours a week in the outdoors has the potential to increase your health and wellbeing. “You are likely to feel more calm and notice an increased ability to concentrate,” Fodor says. “Nature time can also reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, irritability, blood pressure, and feelings of isolation.”
Be sure to ask for help when you need it. Regardless of which resolution you are approaching this year, your primary care provider is ready to help you obtain the information you need to meet your goal and attain greater wellness and life satisfaction.