Enjoy a Healthy New Year – To Your Health article by Lori Stambaugh, RN, BSN, GrowWell TN Project Director/Community Education

It’s a new year, and with each new year comes a set of resolutions for most people. January typically feels like a time to better ourselves, throw out the bad habits, and begin new ones. This year, challenge yourself to set a resolution to improve your health and overall wellness. We are still enduring the COVID pandemic, which makes it even more important to stay fit and strong, doing everything you can to help boost your immune system. Studies show that people that are mentally strong are physically healthier and have stronger immune systems, which can help you fight chronic disease.

Staying fit is one of the most important things you can do for your health no matter your age, stage of life, or physical abilities. However, everyone’s fitness level and goals are different. Maintaining physical activity will keep your muscles, bones and joints strong. There are many physical and mental health benefits of staying physically fit including:

  • Preventing muscle and bone loss
  • Reducing the risk of falling and breaking bones
  • Helping prevent or delay conditions like diabetes and heart disease
  • Reducing the joint swelling and pain of arthritis
  • Reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Helping you stay independent longer
  • Improving your sleep
  • Helping you feel better and enjoy life more

Research shows that people who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of death than those who are physically inactive. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both, spread out through the week. Muscle-strengthening activities are also recommended at least 2 days per week.

Be sure to include  your primary care provider in your efforts to become fit, and see him/her at least yearly to keep up with your important health screenings and checkups. Your healthcare provider can help guide you to small changes that can lead to an overall healthier life. Here are some ideas to keep you on track in your fitness endeavor:

  • Find a fitness buddy to keep you both on track
  • Prepare most of your meals at home to control ingredients and portion sizes
  • Make an effort to get more rest to keep your body and mind healthy
  • Try to maintain a positive mindset to make your new fitness goals fun and something to look forward to each day
  • Move more and sit less
  • Some physical activity is better than none, go at your own pace
  • Create achievable goals

Henry County Medical Center offers a variety of classes to help keep your health on track as well as helpful information. January 13 will be the start of a virtual class, Living Well with Chronic Conditions. This is a free class for anyone with any chronic disease, to help you live your best life while learning to cope with your disease. This is a six-week class that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. Call 731-644-8269 to register or for more information. Visit our website at www.hcmc-tn.org for a listing of classes and other health information.