Sunday, January 5, 2014

Healthy Happy New Year

I thought this “Happy New Year” article was a clever look at habits that can keep you healthy throughout the year. (Adapted from Alice Henneman MS RD, Extension educator at the University of Nebraska, Lancaster. Click HERE to see her expanded version.)

H=Health.   Make health a priority, rather than what you do after everything else is done for the day.

A=Attitude.  A positive attitude can help you deal with whatever comes your way, both good and bad.

P=Physical activity.  Aim for at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. This can be broken into 10-minute increments (such as walking on a lunch break) or 5 sessions, 30 minutes each.

P=People.  Keeping up face-to-face social networks (i.e. church, clubs, friends, etc) can keep a person less vulnerable to ill health.

Y=Your body.  Schedule your medical, dental and eye exams regularly so if there is something amiss, it will be caught early.

N=No.  Learn to say “no” without feeling guilty. That can give you more time to do what you really want to do. (If you said “yes” to an obligation and then felt regret or anger with your decision, that’s a sign you should have said “no”).

E=Eat healthy.  There are lots of places to look for healthy eating advice, but be sure the plan you choose has lots of variety of food types, food colors, and does not eliminate entire food groups (that’s a recipe for malnutrition).  And if you happen to have one or more health problems that require a special diet, consider consulting a Registered Dietitian for help in combining all your health needs into one plan (Check out “Find a Dietitian” HERE.)

W=Wisdom.  Choose your health goals with your own body in mind. Don’t jump in with someone else’s goal (unless it really is your goal, too, such as running at 5 a.m. each morning). 

Y=Your hands.   Keep your hands clean to help avoid passing germs and getting germs from others.

E=Enough sleep.   Most people feel they do their best when they get 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Not getting that?  Click the following link for tips for better sleep, from the National Sleep Foundation.  

A=Avoid portion distortion.  Restaurants and other generous folks tend to serve portions that could feed at least two people. If you are working on your weight, the portion size matters as much as what you choose to eat.

R=Reading materials.  “Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint” (Mark Twain).  When looking for advice about a new way of eating, beware of those that: 1. Promise quick, dramatic results; 2. Rely solely on testimonials; and 3. Seem to be the opposite of more mainstream advice.  Remember, just because something is in print or published on the internet, it is not necessarily true.