It's the New Year, and it's also time for a flurry of resolutions. You're probably thinking about how you can become healthier, be more pain-free, and move better than you do right now.
Great thought! To help you along, here are 15 tips to get you healthy this year:
1. A gradual, personalized exercise program that takes into account your anatomy and physiology is important. Your physical therapist can conduct an evaluation and assist with this.
2. Make yourself accountable to someone other than yourself. Log your exercises (either at home or at the gym) in a journal and inform your physical therapist about your progress.
3. Self-confidence is critical. Believe in yourself and your ability to become stronger, healthier and more functional. If you think you can, then you CAN!
4. Visualize yourself as being stronger, with increase energy, as if you already achieved your goals. Positive expectations of health, vitality and energy are helpful to improve your health and well being.
5. Drink plenty of water. Hydration is important for your blood, kidney, and joints.
6. Always seek qualified help. Expert supervision provided by a physical therapist is important, especially if you are recovering from injuries or medical conditions.
7. Be aware of what you eat. Fat has twice the caloric density of carbohydrates and protein. So limit your fat intake and consume a balanced diet containing lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
8. Get into the habit of reading nutrition labels at the grocery store. Not all foods are created equal. Make a conscious decision to shop for natural foods and increase the variety of foods you consume. Most individuals have the same food habits. Deviate from your 'regular diet' and experience a world of fruits, vegetables, herbs and lean protein.
9. Never skip meals, especially breakfast. It is the most important meal of the day, so start your day right - with a healthy breakfast. It will get your metabolism going, and keep your appetite and blood sugar in check as the day progresses.
10. Find an exercise partner to help you stay consistent with your exercise regime.
11. Consistency is key - exercise at least 3-4 times a week.
12. Challenge yourself each week - gradual progression the only way to improve. Stay within the limits of pain. When in doubt, ask your physical therapist.
13. Make sure a 5-10 minute warm-up and a 5-10 minute cool-down are part of your home exercise routine. Don't forget to include stretching in the warm-up and cool-down to reduce the risk of injury.
14. Set specific goals for yourself (consult your physical therapist) and resolve to meet them.
15. Reward yourself for small victories, they are important milestones towards your 'larger goal'. Positive reinforcement is the best way to stay on track and reach your health and wellness goals.
New Year Resolution Mistakes To Avoid
Most individuals make some health-related New Year Resolutions (I will start exercising, lose weight, quit smoking, reduce alcohol intake, etc). Most people also face the same roadblocks. The good news is that all of these can be easily remedied.
There are three main reasons for failed New Year Resolutions and this is something we can help you with:
1. Absence of a structured plan of action (a firm, focused routine will help overcome this)
2. Low self-confidence (we help you by setting small, progressive goals and encouraging you with positive reinforcement and accountability)
3. Poor time management (we empower you to make the best use of your time, with a program personalized for your health and fitness needs)
Most Resolutions Fail Unless...
Did you know that a majority of New Year Resolutions end in failure? Manage your expectations. Remember that the road to health is a marathon, not a sprint to the finish line. Be patient and take progressive, sustainable steps towards your goal. Some examples for you to consider:
1. If you are planning to run a marathon, make sure you set a short term goal - walking/running 3-4 times a week.
2. If your resolution was to lose 15 lbs, a good first step is to avoid the morning bagel, cream cheese and coffee and opt for fruit and green tea instead.
3. Instead of depriving yourself from your favorite foods, resolve to eat a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables and lean meats, allowing yourself to indulge in your favorite foods once every other week.
4. Instead of "going to the gym to exercise", call health professionals like us and ask for an evaluation, so you can start a structured exercise program under the supervision of a physical therapist.
If one of your resolutions is to improve your health and wellness this year, then we look forward to serving you as your trusted physical therapists. We will set reasonable goals, hold you accountable and empower you with confidence by designing a structured, personalized exercise program. Such a program is engineered to improve your muscle strength, flexibility and endurance.
We look forward to working with you this year and will do everything we can to improve your health and well-being.