We’re a little more than a month into 2023 if you can believe it, and you may be struggling to stick to the resolution – or resolutions – you’d selected to start the year.
It can be frustrating, but that doesn’t mean you’re destined to stay trapped in the lifestyle you were hoping to improve. Flipping the calendar to January doesn’t hit a magic reset button, and you can embark on a healthier lifestyle any time of the year.
Here are a few small changes you can make today that can be carried forward to improve overall health and reduce the risk for a host of conditions, including high blood pressure, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, dementia, and more.
Start being more physically active. Adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week, spread over seven days. After a while, you can kick that up to 75 minutes of high/vigorous intensity.
Most people come up with a big-picture resolution with ambitious and immediate lifestyle changes that are very difficult, if not impossible, to maintain.
Thankfully, small and incremental positive health choices can make a difference and produce long-term positive effects.
Try to manage stress with a healthful diet, at least 7.5 hours of sleep per night, daily exercise, and wellness activities like yoga and meditation. Contact a mental health professional if needed.
Consume less processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, including real fruit juice. Avoid products with added sodium (salt). Try to cut out processed meat, and limit red meat, replacing those with more plant-based foods. When you do eat red meat, be sure to fill half your plate with vegetables.
Try nuts, seeds, and vegetables, like carrot sticks, as snacks to replace processed foods.
Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages, including 100% fruit juices, which are associated with a higher all-cause mortality risk.
If you drink, do so in moderation. That means one standard-sized drink per day for women and two for men.
Stay up to date with vaccines, disease screenings, and doctor visits. Pay attention to your blood pressure, and be aware of any disease risks you may have. Learn ways to reduce the risk of lifestyle-related diseases or those you may be at risk for.
These small and sustainable choices can help you lead a healthier and longer life.