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New Years Resolutions for 2016

Salem Creekside Newsletter - January 2016

New Years Resolutions

Forget New Year's Resolutions – the best – and most sustainable changes you can make are often small things that add up over time. Attention to your physical and emotional well-being is good for your heart, and that vitality spills over to other aspects of your health. Vow to eat better, move more, relax, and make meaningful connections in the New Year and you'll be well on your way to a healthier you. Here, we offer the top 16 changes you can make in 2016.

Eat Wel

Just like a car, food is the fuel that keeps your body's motor running – and you wouldn't put just any gasoline in a Ferrari. In order to keep your most important machine running smoothly – you – consider what you're putting into it, with every sip and forkful.

1. Eat more plants. A good rule of thumb for anyone's diet is to eat more fresh fruits and veggies. The closer to the ground (un-processed, un-frozen, un-slathered with sauce) the better.

2. Drink more water. Water keeps your metabolism ticking along, is good for your skin and improves digestion. Adults should try to drink about an ounce of water for each pound they weigh, every day. If you are physically active or out in the sun, drink more. Our bodies have a built-in mechanism to warn us of dehydration - if you get thirsty, you're not drinking enough.

3. Eat the rainbow. A colorful plate is not only lovely to look at; it ensures that you are getting a good variety of important vitamins and minerals. Make sure to eat your greens – but also your reds, yellows, oranges and blues!

4. Limit sugar and processed foods. Sugar is addictive, and it's in just about every processed food we eat, from ketchup to frozen pizza. Read your labels and if you must eat food from a box or can, know what you're looking for. Sugar sneaks into food under the names corn sugar, high fructose corn syrup, Dextrose, sorghum syrup and more.

Move.

The human body was made to move. However, years of technological advances have contradicted years of human evolution and as a society, we are more sedentary. The amount of physical activity one should do depends on their age and current health, but there is always a way to introduce exercise into our daily routine.

5. Sweat the small stuff. Find small ways to incorporate movement into your day. At the grocery store, park a little farther away; take the stairs at the office; take frequent breaks from your computer to walk around and stretch.

6. Take a walk. A daily or nightly stroll is a great way to ease some physical activity into your life. Start out with what you can do, even if it's just to the end of the block and back, but make it purposeful. Make sure you have good shoes, and walk with your head up and eyes forward, noticing your posture.

7. Find a sport. If you're up for it, find an adult recreational league in the sport of your choice. From tennis to roller derby, you can find something to get your sweat on.

8. Consider a few personal training sessions. Starting a new exercise routine can be intimidating, but a good coach can assess your goals and help you come up with a reasonable – and enjoyable – plan.

Relax.

There is no doubt that our lives are becoming more complex and stressful. Stress is a major contributor to heart disease and other chronic conditions and can often be managed without medication or special equipment.

9. Meditate. It doesn't have to be touchy-feely or complicated, but a few minutes of stillness can ground you and put you in a better frame of mind.  Start by sitting straight up with both feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes and focus your attention on your breathing.

10. Take a yoga class. Yoga is a series of mindful poses and breathing that can really put you in touch with how your body is feeling. It can reduce stress, improve fitness and increase flexibility.

11. Take time for yourself. When you're always taking care of other people, sometimes your self-care can fall by the wayside. Incorporate some time for yourself into your day – whether it's a quiet 10 minutes with a cup of tea or a lovely massage.

12. If you think you may be depressed or have suicidal thoughts, seek medical attention immediately. Mental health professionals are some of the most important – and under-utilized – members of a healthcare team.

Connect.

Developing healthy relationships has been shown to be a positive factor in staving off heart disease and other chronic illness.  What's good for your heart may actually also be good for your heart health!

13. Find a hobby. Join a quilting bee or a book club. The camaraderie will do you good and you might learn something!

14. Work on relationships. Your family and friends are the most important people in your life simply due to their proximity. If you have a rift in one of your relationships, talk it through or consider professional counseling. Ignored problems don't go away.

15. Volunteer. Offering your time and expertise not only makes you feel good, it puts you in contact with like-minded people and increases your circle of friends.

16. Join a support group. If you have a chronic condition, it may help to connect with others in the same situation and to draw upon their experiences.