With New Year’s Eve fast approaching, conversations have already started about resolutions for 2013. Losing weight and stopping smoking are perpetual favorites for many, and the Tennessee Department of Health believes those are excellent goals and includes them in a list of five suggested resolutions for the upcoming year.
“At the top of our list this year is an ask for Tennesseans to make increased physical activity their most important resolution for 2013,” said TDH Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “A recent national survey found Tennesseans rank 48th for physical activity and that is one statistic we can turn around for the good of all! If we are sedentary we are more prone to be ill and have shorter lives with less energy and gusto. Regular exercise and programs are great, but even simple efforts like walking more and taking the stairs can help us feel better.”
The Department of Health’s top five resolutions for 2013 are:
- Get Physically Active
- · Start Jan. 1 by visiting one of Tennessee’s state parks for the “First Hike” event. Go to www.tn.gov/environment/parks/ to find the state park nearest you.
- · Visit your local state or city park, greenway or community center regularly to enjoy activities such as walking, hiking, canoeing, golfing, fitness classes and more
- · If you’re not able to take long walks or don’t live near a park, start with shorter walks in your neighborhood
- Keep Your Weight In Check
- · Give up sugar-sweetened beverages; your body doesn’t need them. If you reduce by one 12-ounce drink per day, you could see a weight loss of more than 10 pounds in one year.
- · Make half of your plate fruits and vegetables every time you eat
- · Switch to low-fat dairy products
- · Balance your calories with your activity
- · Go for lean protein such as low-fat meats and vegetable-based protein sources such as beans or tofu
- · Think small when it comes to portions; bigger is not better
- · If you have diabetes, check your blood glucose as your physician directs
- Quit Smoking
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, quitting smoking has the following health benefits:
- · Lower risk of lung and other types of cancer
- · Reduced risk for heart disease and stroke
- · Improvement of respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- · Reduced risk for infertility among women
- · Reduced risk of low birth weight babies for women who stop smoking while pregnant
Quitting smoking can also help you save a lot of money: for a pack-a-day smoker, savings could be as much as $2,000 per year! Other costs include the costs of future medical bills when you get ill from smoking, lost income if you are sick or hospitalized from illness due to smoking and, the hardest to measure, the value of the quality of life you and others close to you lose when you become seriously ill or die. Call the Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine at 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free assistance with quitting smoking.
- Get Enough Sleep
- · Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Insufficient sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
- · Stick with scheduled times to go to bed and get up every day
- · Avoid caffeine in the evening
- · Be physically active-it helps you sleep better
- Drink More Water
- · Carry a water bottle for easy access when at work or running errands
- · Chill freezer-safe water bottles and take one with you for ice-cold water all day long.
“Many people fail to keep resolutions because they set too lofty or unrealistic goals, or they start exercise programs that aren’t fun,” said Family Health and Wellness Director Michael Warren, MD, MPH, FAAP. “The five resolutions we’re suggesting can fit easily into most people’s lifestyles and help them feel healthier very quickly. Many will also enjoy financial benefits by following these suggestions, both in reduced costs now and saving on healthcare costs later.”