As we inch closer to a new year, it’s the perfect time to hit the reset button and prioritize our most valuable asset – our health. In a world where the pace of life seems to be constantly accelerating, making health a priority is often relegated to the back burner. However, the new year presents a chance to reprioritize and commit to changes that will improve your health.
Set Realistic Goals
Start by setting realistic and achievable goals. Rather than surrendering to the pressure of extreme resolutions, focus on small, sustainable changes that contribute to overall well-being. Whether it’s adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet, committing to regular exercise, or dedicating time to mindfulness practices, these incremental adjustments can yield profound and lasting results.
Focus on Nutrition
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in our well-being, and the new year is an excellent time to reassess our eating habits. Make a goal to fill your plate with non-starchy vegetables at dinner or throw them together for a filling salad at lunch. Eating the rainbow when it comes to vegetables is a great way to get the nutrients and fiber your body needs. Check our posts on asparagus, bell peppers, mushrooms and spinach to get a few new recipe ideas.
Increase Your Physical Activity Minutes
Physical activity is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and finding an exercise routine that brings you joy is key. Physical activity doesn’t mean it has to be done in a gym to count. Go outside and take a walk that gets your heart rate up at one of the many parks and trails in Johnson County or do some bodyweight exercises during commercial breaks at home. Always talk with your healthcare provider before starting a new exercise plan, especially if you have health issues.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity that makes you breathe harder or 75 minutes of really tough physical activity every week. You should also do muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days.
Prioritize Your Mental Well-Being
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s crucial to prioritize mental well-being. Whether it’s from everyday deadlines, financial struggles, or busy schedules, stress shows up often in life. And your body reacts to it: your heart rate increases, your blood vessels narrow—and over time, these little blows can add up and do damage to your health, particularly your heart. With chronic stress, you’re more likely to have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and poor sleep. Even other parts of your body – from your lungs to your gut – can take a hit.
Incorporate stress-relief practices such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
As we step into the new year, let’s make a collective commitment to prioritize our health. By making small, positive changes, you can add not only years to your life but years that are more enjoyable and free from chronic conditions like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Live well today to live better tomorrow!