“Small” Tips That Can Make a “Big” Impact This NEW Year!

“Small” Tips That Can Make a “Big” Impact This NEW Year!

The Nursing Division of the Livingston Health Department would like to share some “small” tips that can make a “big” impact in your health for the New Year.  With the 2015 New Year, many of us have chosen to make New Year’s resolutions.  Many of us promise ourselves to lose weight, exercise more, quite smoking, or take on some type of path to self-betterment.  These are all wonderful goals but how many years prior have the promises we’ve made to ourselves been broken.  This year take charge of your life and instead of drastically changing things, start small.  Many people who make drastic changes to their daily routine are unable to maintain it.  If weight loss is your goal, then don’t swear off chocolate forever, just start by moderating the amount of chocolate you eat.  If you wish to exercise more that’s great but don’t expect for yourself to run 6 miles this coming Monday without training for that.  Start by walking or jogging a mile, then 2 miles, and build your endurance and always consult a physician before starting a new exercise routine.  This will ensure you are healthy enough for the kind of activity you are planning to do.  The following are some “small” tips that can make a “big” impact in your health for the New Year from the Nursing Division of the Livingston Health Department.

Drink water – Whether your goal is weight loss, overall health, clearer skin or better mood/mental function drinking around 8 glasses of water a day can put you on your way.  If you are thirsty this means your body has already started to dehydrate so do not look for sodas, coffees or teas, choose water. This will hydrate you and improve your overall health in many ways.

Don’t drink your calories – We need calories to survive and be able to function but try to choose wisely on where your calories are coming from.  Try to avoid “drinking your calories” when possible as this will help with weight loss goals.  Keep in mind that 1 cup of coffee taken black is typically less than 5 calories.  Although, if you are like many of us who take half & half and sugar, adding 2 tablespoons of cream is about 40 calories, than 2 teaspoons of sugar is 32 calories!  So your once low calorie drink is now more calories than 1 cup of most fruits!  One cup of diced cantaloupe is around 55 calories, one cup of whole strawberries is around 47 calories, and one cup of sliced apples is around 65 calories.  For those of us who wish to shed a few pounds this New Year, try concentrating on eating your calories not drinking them.  More often than not you will feel much more satisfied with calories from food then beverages.

Be more active – Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the door in the parking lot and/or take a brief walk after dinner.  Try to limit television, computer, and gaming time.  Limiting gaming or TV time can not only increase your activity but your productivity as well!  Remember most games are sedentary, meaning we must sit down and barely move to play them.  If your family or you are gamers, try substituting sedentary games with interactive ones.  Most gaming units now have the capability for motion sensing and offer a variety of great games that are not only fun, but get you up and moving.  There are sports based games, dance or dance competition games and many other physically active games which make you stand, move, or engage multiple body parts.  This New Year try changing it up, watch how much fun you have and how much better you feel when game night turns into family a dance off!

Quit or cut down Smoking – We all know smoking is very bad for you.  Cancers, breathing disorders, and tissue perfusion disorders can all happen as a result of smoking.  Quitting is always the best option.  Although, if you are not ready to quit, cut down. Smoking is always unhealthy, but if you presently smoke a pack per day and can start to cut down to around 5 cigarettes per day, that’s great!  That’s a step in the right direction of getting healthier and eventually quitting for those who presently smoke.  Keep in mind for every 2 hours you go without a cigarette, your body starts to heal itself.  Your heart rate and blood pressures will begin to move back to what’s normal for your body and the circulation to your fingers and toes will begin to return.  Small victories are still victories.  Try your best to quit but if you are unable to quit “cold turkey” at least limit the amount you smoke and cut down.

Get a game plan – Write down your goals for this year.  Writing things down not only helps many to remember what they have written but also give you a tangible proof of you contract with yourself.  By having your goals in writing they can act as a contract with yourself.  Try hanging your goals on a mirror or the refrigerator as a constant reminder of our promise to yourself.

Stay focused on your goals because you can achieve them!  Becoming or staying healthy should always be a main focus no matter what time of the year.  Let this year be your best year.  Best wishes for a happy and healthy New Year from the Nursing Division of the Livingston Health Department!