We hope you had a great holiday season and a happy New Year. As we start 2023, we traditionally set our goals for the year. Many people look at improving their health in one way or another. Let’s look at health goals you may want to make for 2023.
1. Start your day with exercise.
According to the CDC, a low percentage of adults are getting enough aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises:
- 46% of adults aged 18 and over met the Physical Activity Guidelines for aerobic physical activity.
- 24% of adults aged 18 and over met the Physical Activity Guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity.
Aerobic exercises are essential for keeping your heart, lungs, and blood vessels healthy. Regular aerobic exercise can help prevent heart disease and reduce the risk of death from this condition. It can also lower blood pressure and help keep blood sugar levels under control. Here are some examples of aerobic exercises:
- aerobics classes
Muscle-strengthening exercises strengthen and build your skeletal muscle. Why is this so important? Your skeletal muscle supports your spine and spinal cord, the major supports of your body, and your communication control center for your brain to communicate with the rest of your body. Declining muscle strength and reduced physical activity contribute to decreased activity, higher risks of injury, and pain. According to the American Cancer Society, two or three 20- or 30-minute strength training sessions every week can result in significant health benefits:
- Increased muscle mass: Muscle mass naturally decreases with age, but strength training can help reverse the trend.
- Stronger bones: Strength training increases bone density and reduces the risk of fractures.
- Joint flexibility: Strength training helps joints stay flexible and can reduce the symptoms of arthritis.
- Weight control: As you gain muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently, making it easier to control your weight.
- Balance: Strengthening exercises can increase flexibility and balance as people age, reducing falls and injuries.
Some examples of strength training exercises:
- Walking lunges
- bicep curls
2. Eat more whole foods and avoid processed foods.
You have probably heard this a lot, but it is a fundamental step to being healthier. Here are some ways you can eliminate processed foods and eat more whole foods:
- Eat grass-fed meats.
- Have wild-caught seafood (not farmed).
- Eat fresh fruits for snacks.
- Add more vegetables to your meals.
- Use healthy oils, including coconut, avocado, olive, and walnut.
- Add nuts or seeds to your dishes.
3. Cut down your screen time.
Cutting back your screen time could have many health benefits. First, the less you spend on your computer or phone, the more active you will be. Second, too much screen time can affect your sleep, especially if you look at a screen up to bedtime:
- Your biological clock controls your sleep-wake cycle. Your body uses external cues such as light and temperature to regulate feelings of sleepiness and wakefulness and melatonin production.
- Blue light, which emits from LED lights, TVs, computers, tablets, and smartphones, can signal the body to suppress melatonin. Melatonin encourages sleep. So, lacking melatonin can affect your ability to fall asleep.
- Light and sound from screens can trick the brain into thinking it’s in a different part of the sleep-wake cycle, making it more difficult to fall asleep when you want to.
Sometimes screentime can’t be avoided, such as when your work requires you to be on a computer. Here are some suggestions on how to reduce your screen time:
- Shut off your screens anywhere from 90 minutes to 45 minutes before bed. See what works best for you.
- Set a limit for yourself for social media time.
- If your work requires you to be on a computer, get up and move about every hour, stretching and moving around. If your smartwatch supports a “stand goal, ” set a stand goal alert for every hour.
4. Drink more water.
Most people need to drink more water. Your body is made up of about 60% water. Drinking enough water is essential to keep your body running efficiently. Here are key benefits as published in Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School):
- carrying nutrients and oxygen to your cells
- flushing bacteria from your bladder
- aiding digestion
- preventing constipation
- normalizing blood pressure
- cushioning joints
- protecting organs and tissues
- regulating body temperature
- maintaining electrolyte (sodium) balance.
How much water should you drink? Some say eight glasses a day. But each person is different. So, you will want to work out what is best for you. Here are some tips from Dr. Mercola:
- Your thirst signal kicks in when your body loses 1 to 2 percent of its total water. The only caution about depending too much on thirst is that you’ll only feel it when you’re already a bit dehydrated.
- One is your urine’s color. If it’s light yellow, you’re drinking enough. Dark-colored urine means you’re dehydrated, and your kidneys retain fluids to maintain fluid-dependent bodily functions. Bright-colored urine, on the other hand, may be triggered by vitamin B2 found in most multivitamins.
- The frequency of your toilet trips is another factor. Ideally, you should urinate about seven to eight times a day. If you’re not urinating enough, or intervals between trips take hours, it’s time to drink more water.
- Remember to keep track of your water consumption to be well-hydrated. Sipping water throughout the day is preferable to having a huge glass at one time since the body can only process approximately one glass of water per hour. If you drink more than that, the water won’t be used and will be flushed out of your body, taking valuable electrolytes along with it.
5. Invest in your health!
As society becomes more technologically advanced, many lead busier lives, typically not less. With demands to balance your career with your family life, meet financial demands, etc., one can forget to make time for their physical well-being. But to avoid sickness or bodily injury and stay on top of your game, it is essential to keep fit and see your chiropractor regularly, whether for chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, rejuvenating medicine — whatever you need to stay fit, healthy, and free of pain. If you haven’t been in to see us yet this year, now is a good time to schedule.
We hope you find the above tips helpful in setting your New Year’s resolutions and that 2023 is your best year ever. If you have any health concerns, we are here to address and handle them using all of the resources we have here at Carolina Rehab. We offer chiropractic, physical therapy, and rejuvenating therapies. We treat the whole person to get you healthy and back to living the life you want to live! If you have not been to our office, please get in touch with us for a free consultation.
Happy New Year!
Dr. Craig Stickland