The New Year is here and with a new year comes the seemingly obligatory resolutions. That being said, before you brush off your new resolution just as easily as you brush off the confetti, follow some of these tips to improving your health this year.
At the top of this year’s most common resolutions are to quit smoking, drink less alcohol, exercise more and eat healthier, according to Arizona Department of Health Services. This year, they don’t want you do it alone and are offering support services and resources to help your improvements become a habit. To find the tips and much more, head online to www.azdhs.gov.
Who knows? Maybe this year you’ll be happier, healthier and spend less time in front of the TV.
Drink less or quit drinking
Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad? Does your drinking ever make you late for work? Does your drinking worry your family? Do you ever drink after telling yourself that you won’t? Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking? Do you ever get headaches or have a hangover after you drink?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, DHS thinks this resolution might be the one for you.
In Arizona, alcohol is consumed more frequently than all illicit drugs combined and is the drug most associated with injury or death, a fact sheet by DHS states.
The department suggests finding resources that will help you to analyze why you drink and how to cut down on it.
One such resource is the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism online at pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/handout.htm.
Resolution 2: Shape up or lose weight
Losing weight can be slow-going and difficult, but rather than do it alone, ADHS suggests you make the lifestyle change with a friend or family member.
“A plan and a pal are the keys to making your resolution work,” said director Will Humble. “Decide what you want to do and find someone you can depend on to help you. I do the treadmill every night with my son. If I forget or am tired, he’s really good about reminding me.”
The first thing to do is to know how much exercise you should be getting. For adults, that’s 30 minutes each day for at least five days, for six out of eight weeks. For kids, exercise goals should be an hour a day for the same amount of time.
Exercise doesn’t have to mean just running and lifting weights, ADHS said. Instead, take yoga, ride your bike, go for a walk or jog in the park, swim laps, play basketball or singles tennis or take a dance class.
Resolution 3: Quit smoking
Many people know the risks of smoking tobacco and many have even made several serious attempts to quit smoking, according to the American Lung Association. This year, make this attempt the successful one.
In Arizona, there are many resources to help smokers quit. And like nearly everything else in modern life, there’s an app for that.
If you have an iPhone or other Apple app software, try downloading the Call It Quits application from the iTunes App Store (search for Call It Quits). The app is designed to help the user form a local support group, find quitting tips, create a personalized quit plan and connect them to the Arizona Smoker’s Hotline (or the National Quit Line, if the user is not in Arizona.)
Other more traditional tactics are available too. Call the Arizona Smoker’s Hotline (ASH Line) at 1-800-55-66-222 for free coaching and a chance to set up your own personalized quit plan. Additional resources can be found at www.ashline.org.
Resolution 4: Eat healthier
Sometimes fast food or restaurants can be so much easier with a busy work, school and after-school schedule for those in your family. This year, become an expert at planning your meals and eating at home.
At Choose My Plate (www.choosemyplate.gov) you can learn about the basic nutritional guidelines the government recommends for each meal. Remember these simple rules: Half your plate should be fruits and vegetables (more veggies than fruits) and the other half should be proteins and grain (more grains than protein), with a side of dairy.
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