The beginning of a new year is all about fresh starts. It’s the perfect time to start anew, set goals, and learn from your previous experiences.
One of the greatest lessons the past few years have helped highlight is the importance of health and how often people take it for granted. Additionally, the recent pandemic showcased how physical well-being is just as crucial as mental well-being and that one can’t exist without the other.
But while you might want to start living a healthy lifestyle, you must do it right. Before committing to anything, you must also assess your current health, determine your work and personal schedule, and focus on the bigger picture. You can do this by avoiding unrealistic goals since they only lead to poor commitment, many self-doubts, and added stress. Instead, set short-term, achievable goals that keep you motivated and bring you closer to your goal of becoming healthy.
If you’re ready to get started but unsure where to start, don’t worry. Here, we outline eight health goals that are vital yet attainable for everyone.
1. Schedule Medical Checkups
Regular medical checkups, either annually or bi-annually, are crucial to ensure everything’s right with your body. This is especially essential for those working in places with occupational hazards. Often chronic illnesses remain undetected for long periods because people don’t get tested when they should. For instance, rare illnesses, like peritoneal mesothelioma cancer, start manifesting their symptoms in the latter stages when the illness has already spread throughout the body. By this point, the disease prognosis becomes very poor, and treatment options become limited. Since this cancer develops due to asbestos exposure, those who’ve previously worked with it should regularly get screened and checked medically. Additionally, blood tests can be a valuable part of routine checkups, helping to detect a wide range of conditions and provide early warning signs of potential health issues.
Be sure to visit a general practitioner and a dentist too to cover your bases. You can check out this dentist in Sunnyside if you don’t have one yet.
2. Eat a Balanced Diet
Your dietary intake has a significant impact on how well your body functions. Certain nutrients help keep you active throughout the day, while others manage the growth and repair of damaged cells. A balanced diet means an adequate intake of all nutrients, including proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Nutrient deficiencies can lead to diseases that make you weak and prone to viral and bacterial infections.
Additionally, avoid eating fast food or other similar meals since these contribute to severe illnesses like heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Besides planning your meals, also try to maintain a proper schedule on which you take them.
3. Cut Down on Sugar
Diabetes and obesity are among the most common health conditions in the United States. And a leading cause of these is high sugar and salt intake in people’s diets. Too much sugar can accumulate in your body and deposit as fat, leading to weight gain. In severe cases, this fat can also wrap around your abdominal organs, impairing their function and making you sick every so often.
Cutting down on sugar has several benefits. For instance, it helps regulate your blood glucose levels and reduce your risks of diabetes. It also improves oral health since bacteria and other microorganisms feed on sugars, and cavities develop if you’re not careful.
4. Walk More
For many people, their everyday lifestyle has become sedentary. With facilities such as public transport and personal vehicles readily available, most transits are now through automobiles. However, health conditions have become more prevalent due to this physical inactivity. Therefore, you must try walking back and forth to cover shorter distances instead of traveling by car. Practice brisk walking, even if it’s just for 10 minutes, and see how quickly your health improves.
Since movement contributes to better blood circulation, all the cells around your body receive more oxygen and can function more efficiently. Physical activity also promotes the secretion of endorphins, hormones that help relieve pain and stress.
5. Get Proper Sleep
Learn better to manage the quantity and quality of your sleep. Try to wind down from the day’s activity at least an hour before bedtime and avoid screen time as much as possible. If you’re in bed for long hours but are constantly alert, your body will stay active and eventually start experiencing burnout. Irregular and improper rest lead to a weakened immune system, making the body vulnerable to various ailments.
Healthcare professionals recommend getting at least 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep for most adults. Keep track of how long you’re sleeping; if it’s too much or too little, readjust your schedule accordingly.
6. Stay Hydrated
Contrary to popular belief, your water intake doesn’t get fulfilled by drinking other beverages like coffee, sodas, or tea. Although these contribute to your daily intake, they’re not enough to keep you hydrated and healthy. Instead, fresh and clean water is the best source of hydrating your body.
According to the National Academy of Medicine, males and females should drink at least 13 and 9 cups daily. Slowly build up your water intake until you reach this goal and see how you feel fresher and healthier.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Improving an individual’s health goes beyond just focusing on their physical well-being. Taking care of your mental health is vital and imperative in ensuring your overall fitness. One scientifically proven way of doing this is by practicing mindfulness regularly.
Mindfulness is a meditation or exercise that makes you physically, emotionally, and mentally aware of your surroundings. Keeping you grounded allows you to push away the negative feelings and embrace emotions that can positively impact your well-being. You can start by focusing on breathing, going for a nature walk, or simply accepting yourself. Set aside some time for this routine either once or twice a week, and then readjust the plan as you get a better hang of it.
8. Spend Some Time Outdoors
Experiencing nature and spending some time outdoors can significantly impact your mental health. When you’re outside, you breathe in the fresh air and consequently help raise oxygen levels in your blood and brain. This stimulates the increased production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that can alter and improve your mood.
Mental health professionals often recommend that people spend a little while outside each day. For instance, go for a short walk in the park or tend to your garden every so often. Even if you’re not a nature person, you can bring indoor plants to your home and help boost your well-being.
Although modern medicine has made several breakthroughs recently, people continue to get ill. This is because poor lifestyle habits and choices leave the body susceptible to various diseases.
Since it’s only the start of 2023, now may be the perfect time to realign your health goals and focus on your overall well-being. Plan using these goals above and start taking care of yourself as soon as possible. You can also get a friend or family member to join you so you can help motivate each other to accomplish these effortlessly.