The New Year has just started. It is the perfect time for a fresh start. Many people are planning to make resolutions in health for the New Year to improve their life such as losing weight, exercising more, getting more organised or quitting smoking. But none of these will be effective without a proper health checklist, something that prioritises the important things you need to do this year, this decade and for the rest of your life. All you require is a roadmap to hit the highway to better health. The following things can help you to make 2009 your year of good health.
If you are a smoker, quitting is your first priority. Counselling and support groups can help in this regard. With physician’s advice you can use nicotine-replacement therapy or prescription medications, such as bupropion and varenicline (drugs used for cessation of smoking). Even if you do not smoke, you should resolve to help a buddy or relative who needs to kick the habit. And remember to protect yourself and your family by steering clear of secondhand smoke.
Cut down on saturated fat and cholesterol by limiting red meat, whole-fat dairy products and egg yolk. Avoid fats in stick margarine, fried foods and many snack and junk foods. Eat lots of fishes. Load up on whole-grain products instead of refined grains and simple sugars. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Cut down on sodium (salt). And if you need to shed excess pounds, reduce your portion size, avoid calorie-dense foods, and cut your overall caloric intake.
You do not have to hit the gym or train for a marathon to benefit from exercise. Build physical activity into your daily schedule. Take the stairs, do household chores, play active games with your kids. Above all, walk whenever and wherever you can. Aim for at least 30 minutes of walking a day, either all at once or in smaller chunks. If you have diseases like asthma that do not allow more exercise or need special precaution then consult with your physician.
Control your weight
Measure your height and weight to figure out your body mass index (BMI). Or just measure your waist. Abdominal fat is a major health hazard for men. Risk mounts with waist sizes above 37.5 inches, and measurements of 40 inches and above are truly dangerous. Eat fewer calories and burn up more in exercise.
Figure out what makes you tense and then try to change the things you can control. Talk over your problems and worries. Get enough sleep. Do things that are fun, especially with people you like. Avoid TV broadcasts and tabloids. Exercise to burn off stress. Avoid caffeine if it makes you jittery. Do not try to medicate yourself with alcohol or drugs. Learn to appreciate and enjoy life’s many little pleasures. Try relaxation techniques such as meditation and deep breathing. Talk to your doctor if you need more help.
Protect yourself from infection
Be sure your immunisations are up to date. If you are ill, protect others by avoiding crowds and coughing into a tissue. Wash your hands often, and use an alcohol-based hand rub. Protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases.
Prevent accidents and injuries
Many result from careless behavior. Wear seatbelts and drive defensively. Check your house for clutter and cords that might trip you up. Hold the handrail when walking stairs.
Avoid environmental hazards
These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin. These include air pollution, pesticides and toxins, contaminated food and radiation. Remember that excessive sunlight is toxic to your skin.
Get good medical care
See your doctor regularly. Know your numbers cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and weight. Take your medication as directed. Keep a record of your major illnesses and tests, your medications, and your allergies. Listen to your body and let your doctor know if you do not feel well.
If it seems like a lot, it is. But there are 12 months in 2009 and only 10 resolutions. Pick the ones you need most, change slowly, and get your family and friends to sign on to your resolutions for health. Above all, do not give up if you slip from time to time. Your goal is not perfection, but health. Take the long view and keep plugging away. Any progress you make in 2009 will give you a leg up for 2010 and beyond. If you make 2009 your health year, it will be a happy new year.
Source: The Daily Star, January 03, 2008