Many people make annual resolutions to live a healthier life.  We may do well for a few weeks or maybe a month or two.  Then typically, most of us will slip back into old habits that don’t help us reach our goals for better health.  If we start with small steps and build over time, it will be easier to incorporate these changes into our daily routines.  Here are a few areas on which to focus.

Healthier you in 2017Try to do some type of physical activity three times per week.  Even a moderate amount of exercise can reduce the chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or developing type 2 diabetes.  There is no need to join a gym or invest in expensive exercise equipment.  Walk more, take the stairs instead of the elevator, ride a bike, take a dance class.  If you enjoy the activity, it will seem less like exercise.

Strive to eat healthier meals.  Add more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to your diet.  Eat less processed food.  Eat more lean proteins like fish and chicken.  Fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and tuna, is better for the heart.  Avoid empty calories and choose healthier snacks.  Drink more water.  Sometimes we think we are hungry, but we are actually dehydrated.  Remember that eating meals at home gives us more control over portion sizes.

Get enough sleep.  The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults sleep 7-9 hours each night.  Many of us try to get by on less.  People who get the right amount of sleep are more alert, productive, feel less stress, and enjoy better overall health.

Visit your doctor for regular checkups.  Your physician will perform the appropriate health screenings and tests that can detect any problems in the early stages.  Your healthcare provider can discuss treatments and lifestyle changes that can help you lead a healthier life.