Yes! As the New Year approaches, it is a natural time to be focused on adopting new healthier habits that can help us have more energy, better health, more enjoyment, and improved quality of life. There are many options and I am happy to share a few:
Get out and play: Build movement into your day and find fun ways to do it. Exercise does not have to be drudgery, it can be a highlight of your day. Find things you enjoy doing: maybe walking or dancing or sledding or skating or chasing your kids in the snow and give yourself time each day to enjoy that fun. It does not have to take much of your time, as 30 minutes is only 2% of a 24 hour day. Even though it may seem challenging on first thought, I am sure each of us can set aside 2% of our day to invest in moving more to help our heart health and our overall energy levels. The RiseVT movement is full of fun free activities that you can try out as a way to see what you might like to work into your life. You will find the calendar of upcoming show up events online at www.RiseVT.com – please join us for fun activities in 2018!
Speaking of heart health, our friends at the American Heart Association share a number of possible New Year’s resolutions which can help your heart at the same time. Here are some of the great suggestions from their website, https://www.goredforwomen.org – and they are just as important for men as they are for women:
Drink more water: “You’ve heard it time and again, but the fact remains: Drinking the right amount water is a key ingredient in staying healthy. If you’re drinking more water, you’ll have less room for sugary sodas – which is a good thing.”
Green up your eating: “Make this the year of the kale chip – not the tortilla chip. By keeping your cabinets stocked with heart healthy fruits and vegetables you are in better shape to stick to your resolution. And if fresh doesn’t work with your schedule or habits, remember you can get frozen or canned. Just be sure to rinse canned fruits and vegetables, as they may contain added salts and sugars.”
Eat seasonally: “Good for your budget and waistline, eating seasonally means you are getting food at its peak performance and flavor level. Additionally, you’ll be supporting your local community and farmers, which is always a great resolution as well.”
Cut out processed food: “Just do it. Decide that this is going to be the year you say no to aspartame, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oil. In addition to chemicals your body doesn’t need or want, processed foods are full of added salt. Higher salt intake puts you at risk for high blood pressure. In fact, 75 percent of the salt in the average American diet comes from salt added to processed food and restaurant food, according to the American Heart Association. So take control and cut out salt where you can.”
Eat more fiber: “Crucial to heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease, fiber is easy to add to your diet. Whole grains are filled with fiber, which makes digestion easier and helps you feel fuller when you’re done eating – both key factors in weight management.”
In relation to my first suggestion of being active, I would like to invite you to complete a very quick survey about activity levels in our community. NMC and the Vermont Department of Health work together to support local efforts to support healthy living. If you are over 18 years of age and live, work, learn or play in Franklin or Grand Isle Counties, please take a moment to answer our brief confidential survey that will help us focus our resources where they can have the biggest benefit. The survey is available online at: https://redcap.med.uvm.edu/surveys/?s=39FLJ9WMWK
Embracing healthy habits is a great next step towards an even healthier and more enjoyable new year. I hope this list sparks an idea for you for a healthy resolution for 2018!
— Jill Berry Bowen, NMC’s Chief Executive Officer