How to make your 2016 health resolutions last

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably thought through some resolutions for 2016. New Year’s resolutions often focus on improving your health and can come in many forms such as giving up pop or soda, exercising more frequently, training to run a 5K or road race, losing weight, eating better and giving up our carbs.  The list could go on and on.

The problem is most of us faithfully follow our resolutions really well at the beginning, but we begin to trail off and cheat as time goes on. The trouble is when we don’t incorporate long-term changes to our health regimen we run at a higher risk for several health problems.

The number one health-related cause of mortality for men and women in the U.S. is cardiovascular disease. Long term participation in cardiovascular activities can help to combat cardiovascular disease. Just one hour of exercise a week burning approximately 1000 kilocalories can reduce mortality by 20% in men, while not performing this activity nearly doubles the mortality rate in middle aged women.  However, exercise alone is not the answer. Increasing healthy habits such as quitting smoking, eating more nutritious and lower sodium diets, and avoiding stress are key components with reducing cardiovascular disease.

In addition to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or hypertension and high cholesterol are common disorders that can increase your risk for developing cardiovascular diseases.  Increases in blood pressure to 140/90 can increase the risk one fold of developing coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, stroke, and even kidney failure.  Simple dietary changes such as decreased salt intake and reduced alcohol consumption coupled with weight loss can reduce blood pressure without a huge increase in exercise.  However moderate intensity exercise at 40-50% HR max performed at least three times per week for 30-60 minutes can reduce elevated blood pressure values over time.

Diabetes is the third common disease that results from inactivity and unhealthy habits.  With physical inactivity, our body’s insulin regulatory mechanisms become weakened, and we are led down the path of increasing blood sugar levels which in turn can result in onset of non-insulin dependent or Type II Diabetes.  The proliferation of diabetes is largely due to inactivity and poor diet.  Improvement in glucose metabolism can be made through strength training, independent of improvements in body fat density or cardiovascular endurance.

Our list of problems resulting from not practicing healthy habits could go on and on, but let’s take a few moments to talk about some common resolutions for you to implement to improve your health in 2016:

  • When going grocery shopping, shop around the perimeter of the store to get the most nutritious and least processed foods.
  • Try to exercise for thirty minutes, three times a week.
  • Pack a lunch for work the night before. When you proactively plan your meals, you’re able to make better decisions than when you’re hungry and craving junk food.
  • Limit your screen time. Spend less time on your smartphone or in front of your TV and more time being up and active.
  • Try to eat six smaller meals over the course of the day, instead of three bigger meals.
  • Replace a can of pop with a bottle of water.
  • Sign up for a race! Many people find that having a date and goal of a race helps to keep them committed to their exercise program.

Now, if you’re like most people, some of these ideas will be easy to attain in January, but once February and the winter blues roll in, sticking to your healthier lifestyle becomes a bit trickier. If you would like accountability and guidance in how to live healthier of if you’re interested in exercise but unsure of where to begin, our medical fitness program might be the exact thing you need to make a long-term lifestyle change. Those with a health condition such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and other such conditions, see the most benefit from our program.

With your monthly membership in our medical fitness program, you are entitled to:

  • One-on-one meetings with our medical fitness program professionals to discuss your data and goals.
  • A personal exercise program created by your coach to accommodate your health and fitness goals.
  • Re-evaluations every quarter to track your data and monitor your progress.
  • Access to a more private gym space.

If you would like more information on our medical fitness program, email us or call 1-866-588-0230.