Welcome to 2018! The beginning of a new year can serve as a gentle reminder to reflect on your lifestyle and think about how you can better yourself for the upcoming year.
What resolutions have you made to get your 2018 off to a great start? Estimates say that more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions every year, yet only 8% of people actually follow through on their goals. So what’s the secret? Make goals that are realistic and achievable for you and your lifestyle.
Not sure how to start? Here are just a few simple ideas for how you can make positive (and lasting!) physical, mental and social changes in your life.
- Fruits and vegetables are the cornerstones of a healthy diet, and most just need a quick wash before they are ready to eat.
- Avoid fatty meats, like chicken or turkey. Fish is a much leaner option, and includes such delicacies as tuna, salmon, and shrimp.
- Calcium and Vitamin D needs can be met with two daily servings of low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese.
- Add herbs and spices for extra flavor when cooking. This reduces the need to add salt, sauces and fat for that yummy taste.
Thinking of beginning a new exercise routine? Harvard Health Publications recommends you start by committing to just ten minutes a day. Then, gradually increase your activity until it becomes a habit. A healthy goal to aim for is 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. The benefits of maintaining an active lifestyle cannot be stressed enough. Cardiovascular performance, strengthened bones, improved balance, and better weight management are just some of the benefits that come from being physically active.
Find a routine that works best for you and your abilities. For instance, Wheelchair Health in Motion (WHIM) is a free, peer-driven program that holds upper-body aerobic exercise sessions throughout New Hampshire for people with wheelchairs. Whether it’s 10 minutes of yoga or 10 minutes of wheelchair walking, you can easily create a routine that is comfortably within your abilities.
Give your brain a workout
Keeping your mind sharp throughout your life is a great way to delay cognitive decline.
- Take the time to do the crossword puzzles, Jumbles, and Sudokus included in daily newspapers. Puzzle books can be purchased at convenience stores inexpensively and can provide hours of mind-working entertainment.
- Socializing with others also gives your brain a boost. It encourages you to follow conversations and provide your own responses. Check with libraries and local senior centers for open clubs or ongoing discussion groups.
Speak up when you feel down or anxious
Growing older can take its toll on some people. About 1 in 5 older adults suffers from some form of depression or anxiety. The reasons can be varied, but signs of depression include lingering sadness, tiredness, loss of appetite and lack of enjoyment from your daily activities. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms for more than two straight weeks, talk to your healthcare provider and reach out to your friends and family. Know that there are several people in your life who care about you and want you to be happy as you age.
Revive old connections
Is there someone you know who you haven’t heard from in a while? Now can be a great time to reach out to friends and family members you may have drifted away from. Modern technology makes it easier than ever to find people you used to know. Send someone a Facebook friend request or tweet them a warm greeting. If you haven’t forgotten them, chances are they haven’t forgotten you. Maybe they’re just waiting for you to say hello!
Carrying out New Year’s resolutions can seem overwhelming. However, each of these suggestions requires only a little bit of effort to get started. Once you begin, maintaining these habits will quickly become second nature, and you’ll feel happier and healthier as a result.