Monday, December 9, 2013

Committing to Yourself

We're at year's end and about to turn the calendar into a new year.  Why not choose one step to take in the coming year to improve your health?  Just one!  One that you can and will commit to yourself to keep no matter what for 1 year.  One that you want to reach down deep into the core of your stubborn pride and determination to keep just because you want to see if you can and for which you want to be proud.  There are many possibilities.  Here is my list of top five changes that can have the biggest impact on anyone's health (in no particular order):
  1. Exercise
  2. Weight loss
  3. Eliminate Sugar
  4. Stop Smoking
  5. Alcohol in short moderation
Exercise:
Exercise can actually kill two birds with one stone - exercise and weight loss.  It doesn't have to be strenuous - in fact, it's better if it isn't to start!  But start -- 5 minutes or 10 minutes of walking if you haven't done any.  Let it grow on it's own as your pride in your sticking with it grows.  Valuable aids to exercise that can be good Christmas presents to yourself would be a pedometer or a gym membership (I'd recommend Valley Fitness Center.)  The list of benefits to exercise is long and include: improved cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, better blood sugar, better mental cognition, better stress coping and reduced anxiety....

Weight Loss:
Improved cardiovascular health, lower cholesterol, better blood sugar control, less joint aches and pains, and more energy/stamina are just a few of the benefits from losing weight.  The goal would be to have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of less than 25.  You can check your BMI here: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/BMI/bmicalc.htm  I can supply you some suggestions on how to lose weight.

Eliminate Sugar:
Eliminating sugar can improve your blood sugar numbers, improve your immune function, and extend your life span.  1 tsp. of sugar = 4 gm of sugar.  Look at some of the labels of food items you eat.  How many teaspoons of sugar are in your common foods?  Remember to look at the serving sizes and adjust it accordingly.

Stop Smoking:
This almost goes without saying, yet I am still amazed at the number of people still smoking.  The evidence is incontrovertible that smoking causes cancer.  

Alcohol in Short Moderation:
Alcohol can be modestly helpful health-wise in small amounts.  Moderation by this definition would be fewer than 2 glasses of wine or beer or 1 hard drink per day.  If you are consistently consuming more alcohol than this, you are damaging your liver and your overall health.

Do you matter?  Absolutely you matter.  So take one health step to strengthen your health in 2014.