A new year means a fresh new start. It’s a time for wiping the slate clean beginning with letting go of past bad habits. This year, commit to self-care by kicking bad habits to the curb replacing them with new healthy habits. It’s amazing how simple daily health habits can lead to recharging you both physically and mentally.
Let’s begin by ringing in 2020 with a new healthier you. To help you get started living your healthiest best, here’s 8 ways to do so all year long:
Commit to stop smoking
This year, commit to going smoke-free. It’ll be the smartest health decision you will ever make. By quitting smoking, it lowers your risk for smoking-related diseases and can add years to your life. According to the CDC, cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States or about one in five deaths. Smoking accounts for 90% of all lung cancer deaths and about 80% of deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Seek help for quitting starting with your doctor to gain back your health and life.
Commit to drinking more water
It seems simple yet many of us easily forget the most basic beverage to be drinking daily. Staying hydrated with water is a perfect tool for men to improve overall health. Adequate water consumption helps keep joints lubricated, assists in muscle recovery after strenuous workouts, aids in digestion, and supports healthy kidney functioning. Ideas for remembering to drink more water include having a glass of water with every snack and meal, keep a bottle of water in your car and at work, eat more fruits and veggies each day (sources of water), infuse your water with fruit to add a splash of flavor or use a water tracking app such as Daily Water Tracker.
Commit to learning a new skill
Have you always wanted to learn a foreign language, how to take better pictures or maybe play a musical instrument? This year challenge your mind. No matter what your age, learning should be a lifelong habit. Lifelong learning involves creating and maintaining a positive attitude toward learning both for personal and professional progress. Learning new skills enhances your understanding of the world around you. It opens up more opportunities to improve the quality of your life. Learning also can boost self-confidence and self-esteem, challenges your ideas and beliefs, makes you more adaptable to change, leads to a more satisfying personal life and best of all, is fun.
Commit to meal prepping
Not familiar with meal prepping? For the health-minded man, meal prepping not only saves time but also helps you eat healthier foods more often with proper portions, instead of reaching for quick, processed and prepackaged snacks or meals. Meal prepping represents preparing some, or all of your meals ahead of time. Prepping meals leads to healthier food choices with less dependence on processed foods – no more drive-thru fast food meals. Meals do not have to elaborate to be healthy. To get you started and familiarized with meal prepping, check out this link on a beginner’s guide to meal prep.
Commit to prioritizing sleep
How much do you sleep each night? Did you know adequate sleep can help cut your risk of heart disease, weight gain, and hypertension? One of the best ways to improve a man’s overall health is high-quality sleep. Sleeping less than seven hours a night can negatively affect heart health, metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories), and mental health. Not sure how to change your sleep habits? Follow this link on important steps for a good night’s sleep.
Commit to drinking responsibly
If you choose to drink alcohol, do not overindulge. Men (and women) who do not follow alcohol consumption guidelines are placing themselves at risk for liver disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and heart disease. If you have difficulty curbing alcohol intake or it’s affecting your relationship with others, seek help from your primary care doctor on ways to reduce alcohol consumption or quit altogether.
Commit to regular physical activity
A crucial part of a healthy lifestyle is regular exercise. Not only is exercise good for reaching and maintaining healthy body weight, but it also reduces stress, improves bone density and muscle mass, enhances immune functioning, leads to better blood sugar control, and improves sleep quality. The key is consistency. Makes a goal committing to how many days a week, for how long, and what type of exercise you enjoy. To get you started, here are physical activity guidelines for healthy adults.
Commit to finding a primary care doctor
It’s no secret – most men dislike going to the doctor. Men who dig in their heels about seeing a doctor are usually afraid of finding out what may be wrong. It’s often not until something does go wrong that eventually mobilizes men to seek medical treatment but this is not a smart strategy. The best approach to healthcare is to establish a relationship with a primary care doctor who knows your past and present medical history. They will work with you keeping you healthy while catching health problems early before they have time to develop into something more serious. If a serious health condition does arise, your doctor can refer you to a specialist if needed and prescribe screening tests appropriate for your age and risk factors. Not sure how to find a doctor? Here are steps you can take:
- Based on your health insurance plan, determine which doctors are “in-network.”
- Find a doctor with expertise that meets your health needs. It could be a family practice physician who is able to treat patients of all ages or perhaps an internal medicine physician who typically treats adults specializing in the prevention, diagnosis, and management of diseases and chronic conditions.
- Ask for referrals. Ask your family, friends, and co-workers who they recommend.
- Think about logistics. It’s best to have a doctor located close to your home or office to make it more convenient to see them.
- Visit the doctor. Set up a meeting to get to know them. Do you feel comfortable with the physician, nurses, and office staff? Your doctor should be someone you trust and can rely on to manage your healthcare.