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3 New Year's resolutions to boost your health

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Personal wellness matters at any time of year. But making a list of New Year's resolutions is a great opportunity to take a closer look at your health and set goals that can improve your lifestyle and overall well-being.

Maybe you already have some specific ideas in mind—whether that's running a half-marathon, quitting smoking, picking up a new sport or losing a certain amount of weight. But if you're looking for more inspiration, these three New Year's resolutions might help.

1. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet

This might seem like an obvious one, but considering that only 1 in 10 American adults eat the recommended daily amounts of fruits and veggies, most of us could improve in this area!

With so many dietary fads and misinformation on social media these days, you might wonder if eating fruits and veggies is really that important. The truth is, research consistently shows that keeping your diet full of fruits and vegetables is associated with better health outcomes and a reduced risk of disease, including high blood pressure, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Fruits and vegetables are relatively low in calories and rich sources of important vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that support physical and mental health and even promote healthy weight loss and maintenance.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adult women should eat at least 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day, and adult men should eat at least 2 cups of fruit and 3.5 cups of vegetables every day. One cup is roughly equivalent to the size of your closed fist. Aim to have at least one serving of fruit and one serving of vegetable with every meal.

2. Move more every day

Like a healthy diet, exercise is one of the most important tools in your "New Year, New Me" toolkit. Regular physical activity is one of the best things you can do to maintain a healthy weight, improve your brain function and mood, prevent and manage disease and maintain as much independence and quality of life as possible as you age. But according to the CDC, only 1 out of 4 American adults got the recommended amount of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercise in 2020. 

Are you active enough? Most adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week – that’s an average of 30 minutes five days a week.  In addition, you should aim for addingmuscle-strengthening activities at least twice per week. To help you boost your activity level, we recommend picking exercises that you enjoy so that you're more likely to do them consistently—whether that's brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, gardening, lifting weights, doing yoga or playing a sport.

And when it comes to physical activity, some is better than none. If you're new to exercise, even just one or two short walks per day is a great place to start.

3. Schedule your annual health visits now

Let's face it: life can get busy. So before your 2024 calendar fills up, we encourage you to sit down and schedule your necessary well visits and doctor appointments for the year. Be sure to include visits for your loved ones, too!

Regular medical appointments help you establish a good relationship with your health care providers and may help prevent illness or detect diseases earlier when they're easier to treat.

Here are a few you might want to include, depending on your age and current health status and goals:

  • Annual physical for health screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, weight as well as breast, cervical and colon cancer screenings - to name a few) as well as vaccinations.
  • Dental examination and cleaning with a dentist
  • Eye and vision examination with an optometrist or ophthalmologist

Are you planning to have a great year of health?

At SIU Medicine, we want you and your loved ones to enjoy as much good health as possible this year! Find a doctor now who can support your wellness goals in 2024 and beyond.

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