There are many things in life that you don’t have control over. For example, you may not be able to obtain the job you really want or the pay you feel you deserve. Or you can’t control traffic or other people’s actions on the road. But there is one thing most of us do have control over- our health. Aside from some genetic conditions which we cannot control, most sickness and disease such as hypertension, obesity, heart disease and stroke can be prevented. And you will be controlling the amount of money in your pocketbook by reducing the cost of medication and doctor visits. Most importantly, your quality of life will improve as you age.
So with that in mind, here are some health goals to consider in 2019:
- Start exercising regularly. This does not mean that you have to join a gym or have a fitness trainer. Do something that you like and chances are that you will continue to do it. Simply walk for at least 45-60 minutes every day. To make walking enjoyable, find a friend to accompany you. Walking has benefits that go beyond exercising the joints. You will feel refreshed, energetic, have low levels of stress, and get a chance to enjoy nature.
- Control your weight. If you need to lose weight, make a weight loss goal that you can stick with but is still challenging. A normal and healthy rate of weight loss is about 2 pounds/month so don’t get frustrated if you are not losing more than that. Losing excess weight will lower the stress on your joints, reduce your blood pressure, and lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels. If you are simply maintaining your weight, keep in mind that your metabolism slows down with age so you may need to change your exercise routine and/or eating habits as your body changes. If you are amongst the few that needs to gain weight, you need to discover the right eating plan that will allow you to stay healthy, yet still provide excess calories. If you are unsure, consult a nutritionist.
- Eat healthy: In 2019, make it a goal to eat more veggies, fruits, whole grain cereals, whole wheat, nuts, fiber, and less red meat with deserts and alcohol on occasion only. As long as you eat in moderation, there is no such thing as ‘bad’ food. We tend to make food ‘bad’ by not controlling portion sizes and eating high calorie foods too often. In general, people who eat more plant based foods are less likely to gain weight and succumb to sickness and disease.
- Ease up on stress. These days most of our lives have become very busy and we have more on our plates, leading to higher stress levels. In 2019, make a goal to decrease your stress level and find practical ways to calm your nervous system. To relieve stress, consider taking a tai chi, yoga, or meditation class, or join a spiritual movement. Or easier still, create a new habit to do deep breathing exercises when your life becomes overwhelming. Try doing one or more of these activities regularly since the less stress you have, the better you will feel.
- See your doctor or healthcare provider. As we age, our bodies are going through changes that we sometimes can’t see or feel and things have a way of sneaking up on us. So to avoid a nasty surprise, see your healthcare provider regularly and be sure to get checked out at least annually. In most cases, when ailments are identified early, the treatment can be relatively simple and will cost less.
- Create a medical directive. Although we do what we can to prevent health problems, we can’t control everything. Don’t be one of the many people who come to the hospital with a serious illness and can’t give consent for certain treatments or decisions, causing your family to make tough choices. Be proactive so that family members aren’t put in a position to decide who will approve or not approve certain treatments. This could avoid family bickering and conflicts since they all love you but each may have a different opinion on your treatment.
- Make a goal to start or continue volunteering. Helping out at a hospital or nursing home will give immense pleasure to the patients and help the staff, and in return, you will be rewarded with the positive feelings that giving back to our community always brings.
Make 2019 an exceptional year when it comes to your health! Start by making goals related to the ones listed above and make changes as the year progresses. Your body will thank you for it!
Thanks for reading!
Contributor: Kim Farmer of Mile High Fitness & Wellness. Mile High Fitness & Wellness offers in-home personal training and corporate fitness solutions. Visit www.milehighfitness.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org