Writer / Dr. Adam Maclauchlan, Family Medicine Physician at IU Health West Hospital
The new year is a popular time to set resolutions for self-improvement. It can be daunting committing to big changes. Understanding the “why” behind your goals can make them easier to stick to. Setting goals to look after your health is a great way to start 2021.
Cook at Home
Home-cooked meals are usually healthier than takeout. Aim to have at least one home-cooked meal per day. If you find yourself low on time, a good option is to prepare in an organized way. Set one day aside for grocery shopping, prepping meals, and storing them in containers for the rest of the week.
Drink Enough Water
Our bodies need water to function properly. Help your body out by drinking enough water. The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine recommends 3.7 liters of water for men, and 2.7 liters of water for women, per day. Make it a goal to cut out sugary drinks and replace them with water.
Skip the Lift
Instead of riding elevators, take stairs when you can. This is a quick fix for adding more movement throughout your day and burning some extra calories as well. It can also be an energy booster. According to a study outlined in Physiology & Behavior, a scientific journal, tired women who climbed stairs for 10 minutes received a bigger energy boost than those who drank a can of soda or half a cup of coffee.
Set a Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep gets you ready for the next day. A good night’s rest can lead to a better mood and increased productivity. Other benefits of sleep include improved memory, blood pressure and weight control. Adults should usually get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Have a set bedtime to ensure you are getting the amount of rest you need.
Book Health Appointments
Prevention is a key component for staying in optimal health. Adults should see their primary care provider, optometrist, gynecologist (for females) and dermatologist once per year, and their dentist once every six months. Put your health first and book your health appointments for the year to ensure they are on your calendar.
Many resources are available to help you live your healthiest lifestyle. The best place to start is by talking with your primary care provider.