A New Year of Health: Five Steps to Get Healthy Now

It’s a new year, and that means a new opportunity to review your health. We’ve got five steps you can take to get healthy now and make a positive impact on your life for the rest of the year—and beyond.

January 02, 2017 | HF Healthy Living Team

New Year’s resolutions can be difficult to keep even when you have the best intentions. Whether it’s lack of time or energy—or both—creating new, healthy practices and sticking with them until they become habits can be a lot harder than it looks.

But there are some changes you can make right now that will put you on the right path for your health. While some of these aren’t necessarily easy, they will make getting healthy easier. Check out these five steps to get healthy now!

#1: If You Don’t Have Health Insurance, Get It

Health insurance is good to have, not just for your health but for your wallet, too. Health insurance can help you find a primary care provider, the medical professional who can give you the regular checkups, tests, and other screenings you need to stay healthy. Plus, health insurance can help you stay protected from any unexpected medical costs.

If you don’t have health insurance, or if you have it and want to make changes, you can learn more about the different types of plans, when you can sign up, and other details before you choose.

When you get health insurance, make an appointment with a primary care provider right away. There may be certain services you can get for no cost. While you’re there, be sure to ask your provider these questions to get the most out of your visit.

Eat healthy to stay healthy
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#2: Choose Healthy Foods

Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is often the first priority on someone’s New Year’s resolution list. Whether you want to lose ten pounds, twenty, fifty, or more, start with small, realistic steps so that you can stick with it.

A healthy eating plan means:

  • Choosing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts
  • Avoiding foods high in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars

To get started, use The Plate Method to balance the food in your next meal. You can also make healthy, balanced snacks for your whole family, but make sure you have a kitchen stocked with healthy food first. It also helps if you understand how to read a nutrition label.

#3: Choose to Be Active

Even though it’s winter and getting out to exercise can be tough, it’s important to your health to stay as active as possible. Exercise can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent diabetes, and help you maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can even help you better deal with stress and improve your mood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults need at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity activity a week, plus additional muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week.

You can begin small—just by walking more. Don’t let the cold prevent you from exercising; there are plenty of exercises you can do indoors, even with your kids. If you do choose to exercise outside, don’t forget these tips for working out in cold weather.

#4: If You Smoke, Quit

Smoking is one of the worst things that can happen to your health. Consider this: life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than that of non-smokers.

But it’s never too late to quit. The first step in quitting smoking is to pick a Quit Day. If you need help sticking with it, there are lots of free resources available to you, such as free coaching, free quit plans, and more.

Quitting can be difficult, but it’s always worth it. When you quit, you will notice health benefits right away. Even better, your health as it relates to quitting will keep improving over time.

Get a full nights sleep
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#5: Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is very important to your health. The average adult should get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, teens nine to 10 hours, and school-age children at least 10 hours. If you don’t get enough sleep, it can help contribute to or worsen a number of chronic conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, depression, and more.

Not getting enough sleep? Or do you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep? Follow these tips to get a good night’s sleep tonight.

Remember: getting healthy means making a plan and sticking with it. You can do it!

 

© 2017 HF Management Services, LLC.

Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies.

This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.

Sources
“Healthy New Year,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 13, 2016.
http://www.cdc.gov/features/healthynewyear/

“Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 13, 2016.
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/

“How much physical activity do adults need?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 13, 2016.
https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/index.htm

“Quit Smoking Resources,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 13, 2016.
https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/quit_smoking/how_to_quit/resources/index.htm

“Are you getting enough sleep?” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed December 13, 2016.
https://www.cdc.gov/features/sleep/index.html

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