Healthy New Year Resolutions

December 29, 2011

The New Year offers us a clean slate and an excellent opportunity to face our personal frailties with an optimistic resolve. Health and fitness issues are consistently in the top 10 New Year resolution list.  We all want to start big and face our challenges head-on with gusto and what better time is there than now! Along w
  • Is losing weight on the top of your list?  Use smaller plates! Studies show using smaller plates and bowls promote weight loss because they help to curb overeating.  Cornell University researchers conducted a study of 85 nutrition experts to test this idea.  At an ice cream social held in 2002, participants were given either a larger or smaller bowl -- or -- a larger or smaller ice cream scoop. Individuals served themselves, and their ice cream portions were weighed. All the nutrition experts who had been given larger bowls or scoops served themselves substantially more ice cream than those with smaller utensils and bowls. In fact, those with larger bowls took 31% more ice cream, while those with the bigger scoops took 14% more than those with the smaller scoops!
  • Slim people seem to have a natural ability to stay active. Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. Do something you like! Are you naturally competitive?  Play tennis or squash, commit yourself to walking at least 9 of those holes at the golf course! Are you a dancer?  Try zumba!  Need some peace and calmness in your life?  Try Tai Chi or yoga!
  • Many studies show that Americans consume almost twice the recommended limit of sodium -- a teaspoon or 6 grams daily. Lower-salt diets are linked to decreased risk of heart disease, lower hypertension and weight management.  Processed foods have high sodium levels, so check the label or eat fresh!
  • Free radicals are produced when the body breaks down food during digestion. Damage from free radicals include infection, cancer, inflammation, and heart disease. Antioxidants protect against free radicals. The American Dietetic Association demonstrates antioxidant protection with an apple. Cut an apple and it begins to brown, but add antioxidants to the apple -- such as antioxidant-rich orange juice, and it retains it's white color and firmness! Antioxidants can do the same for you!
  • For smokers, quitting may be the hardest resolution. Consider the benefits, and take advantage of the many resources currently available. There are many community and online-based programs to help you through the struggle of freeing yourself from cigarettes, this could be the year you become a nonsmoker! Not sure where to start? Try the National Cancer Institute's smokefree.gov website.
  • In just 10 minutes of strength training per day you gain more energy, stronger bones, and a faster metabolism... and you'll burn more calories in less time!
Having healthy New Year resolutions is a postitive step for both your physical and mental health. Resolutions are easier made than accomplished and change is not easy, so make yourself a list, plan for it, share it with friends and family, track your progress, and stick with it!  Don't let occasional slip bog you down!. Simply do the best you can each day, one at a time.

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