While the start of a new year can be a cherished time for reflection and celebration, the pressure to get to work on those New Year’s resolutions can also be overwhelming.
With a new decade just around the corner, many of us are gearing up to make our annual resolutions. However, it’s important to create realistic, measurable goals that last beyond the first few weeks of January. Here are seven simple tips to keep you healthy through the first winter of 2020 and beyond.
Ignore fad diets in favor of balanced nutrition. Something older adults often forget, but gets even more important as they age, is making sure to get ample nutrition. As we age, nutrient absorption declines, increasing the risk of malnutrition. To stay healthy, you need to eat more of some things and less of others. Avoid one-size-fits-all fad diets and focus instead on balanced nutrition incorporating whole foods like fresh fruit and vegetables, legumes, nuts, whole grains, and lean animal products. The Mediterranean diet is a great example that has been shown to prevent heart attacks, stroke, and death.
Prepare your meals in advance. It can be overwhelming to figure out what to eat at the last minute, which is why it’s important to plan your meals in advance. If you plan your meals throughout the week, you’ll be more likely to keep up your healthy eating habits rather than go out for food or order in. The freezer is your friend: consider preparing a week’s worth of healthy dinners, then pull them out on the day you want to eat them.
Get active, even if you can’t get outside. If you’re experiencing some cabin fever, take a walk around the house, play with the grandkids, or try an online workout video. Be sure to bundle up and stay warm under lots of layers if you’re venturing outside into snow or cold temperatures.
Incorporate all three of these elements — cardio, strength, and mobility — into your workout. Your fitness routine should include cardio, strength training and stretching to achieve maximum benefits. Get a flu shot to protect you, and your grandchildren. According to a University of Michigan study, in some cases, only half of people infected with the flu will actually have symptoms. That means you can be totally unaware that you have the flu, but still have the virus in your body and be able to transmit it to others. The flu season can last into March so it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
Wash your hands. Lather and rinse with soap and warm water for at least 30 seconds. When people gather indoors during the wintertime, germs can spread quickly. If your skin tends to get uncomfortable and dry from constant handwashing, pack some hand lotion.
Get involved. The “holiday blues” and loneliness among seniors can often hit right after the holidays, especially if you’re far from loved ones. If you’re feeling down, this is a great time to look for volunteering opportunities to help those in need, or to visit your local senior center for community building events. These healthy habits will ensure you can kick off the new decade feeling your best and sustaining the holiday joy.