The new year is the perfect time to reflect upon your life and think about the positive changes you’d like to make. One area of your life you’ll want to focus on is your health. “The healthier you are, the better chance you have of staving off certain viruses and diseases,” says Kari Fabian, MD, internal medicine at Stellis Health. “Small changes in your daily habits and routines can lead to a healthier lifestyle.” Plus, a healthier lifestyle means you’ll be around longer to enjoy your kids, grandchildren, and loved ones.
If your schedule is already full, you may find it a challenge to dedicate some time to your health. The good news is, there are some simple things you can do to improve your health.
Here are three ways to improve your health this year.
1. If Necessary, Lose a Little Bit of Weight
Are you overweight? Do you feel overwhelmed at the thought of trying to shed unwanted pounds? If you answered yes to both of these questions, you’ll be glad to know that it helps to lose just a little bit of weight.
According to recent studies, if you lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current body weight, which is just 10 to 20 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds, you’ll realize some significant health benefits. Some of these health benefits include:
- Increased good cholesterol (HDL)
- Decreased blood pressure
- Reduced chance of diabetes
- Decreased insulin levels
- Reduced inflammation
One more added benefit of losing just 5 to 10 percent of your body weight is that you can improve sleep apnea. If you have sleep apnea and wear a CPAP machine at night, you may be able to stop using it.
If you need to lose weight, the process doesn’t have to be complicated. Simple changes in your daily routine will help immensely.
Cutting back on refined carbs and added sugar, drinking more water, filling up on fiber, eating less processed foods, using smaller plates, and chewing food more slowly are all changes you can make to help you lose weight. Some people also have success with intermittent fasting, which is when you eat and fast during a specific window of time each day. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you are considering intermittent fasting.
2. Find Ways to Reduce Stress
Stress is your body’s reaction to a change that requires a response. Stress can be good in the short run as it helps you stay alert when necessary, such as when you face a daunting task. However, if you have stress all the time, it could lead to serious health issues.
Negative impacts of stress on your health include migraines, body aches, digestive issues, decreased libido, and weight gain. Stress also increases your blood pressure, which can lead to serious heart problems, such as stroke and heart attacks.
Some simple ways to reduce stress include:
- Implement an exercise routine
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Practice aromatherapy
- Find things to be thankful for
- Laugh more
- Spend time with loved ones
- Avoid procrastination
Some people over-commit because they have a hard time telling people no. However, if you want to reduce stress, you should not take on more than you can handle.
3. Schedule Health Screenings
Health screenings help to detect diseases early, which makes them easier to treat. While some health screenings might not be very pleasant, they are of utmost importance for your health.
Here are some health screenings you may be due for this year, depending on your gender, age and risk factors:
- Blood sugar test (to screen for diabetes)
- Cholesterol test (to screen for vascular disease risk)
- Blood pressure (to screen for hypertension)
- Mammogram (to screen for breast cancer)
- Pap smear (to screen for cervical cancer)
- Cologuard, Fecal Occult Blood Test or Colonoscopy (to screen for colon cancer)
- Bone Density test (to screen for osteoporosis)
- Digital Rectal Exam and Prostate Specific Antigen test (to screen for prostate cancer)
Be sure to talk to your provider about immunizations. There are several recommended for adults, depending on age and risk factors. The most common adult vaccines include:
- TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
- Seasonal Flu
- COVID-19 (when it becomes available)
Do you need help losing weight or reducing stress? Do you need to discuss any health screenings or immunizations due this year? If you answered yes to any of these questions, contact Stellis Health. Our providers are here to help you improve your health.