It’s a new year and time for a fresh start. All over the world, people are resolving to do and be better than they were in 2016. Many of those resolutions involve taking steps to get healthier, such as going on a diet or joining a gym. Sadly, most of them will also fall by the wayside within a month or two.
That doesn’t make getting healthy any less important, though, particularly if you’re over 40. Here are 4 of the top New Year’s resolutions you can make—and stick to—in 2017 to keep yourself in shape.
- Find a Physical Activity If your resolution is, “Go to the gym regularly,” with no further elaboration, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. The minute your schedule starts filling up, you’re likely to get out of the habit. Even if you do go, what will you do, and how long will you do it? Instead of something vague, go in with a plan. Find a physical activity you enjoy and resolve to do it at least once or twice a week. It may be jogging, swimming or simply walking. Any activity is better than none. Whatever you choose, set specific days and times for it, and set reminders on your phone to make it easier to remember and stick to.
- Schedule Your Sleep Many people think that, as you get older, you need less sleep. This isn’t true. As an adult, you need around 7 to 8 hours, no matter your age. Sadly, if you’re constantly busy with work, family, and other obligations, you may find yourself going to bed later and waking up earlier to accommodate them. Therefore, to make sure you get your full amount of rest each night, schedule your bedtime, just as you do for your kids. Whatever else you’re working on, it either needs to be wrapped up by that time, or wait until tomorrow.
- Plan Your Meals You’re just home from work, it’s late, and you’re tired. Now, what’s for dinner? For lack of better ideas, or the energy to cook, it’s tempting just to order pizza. Then when it happens again tomorrow, it’s fast food. This is how unhealthy habits begin, and why they’re so hard to break. If you want to lose weight, you need to plan healthy meals in advance. Throw some meat and vegetables into a crock pot in the morning, then when you get home, you’ve got soup or stew ready to go. Pre-make some healthy meals over the weekend and stick them in the freezer, to thaw out throughout the week. If you want to eat well and lose weight, you need to take steps to make healthy choices readily available when you need them.
- Reduce Your Alcohol Intake There’s nothing wrong with drinking in moderation. In fact, a glass of red wine now and then can improve your health. However, if you drink to excess, it can interfere with your sleep, prevent medications from working properly, and cause liver damage and a host of other health problems. Resolve to limit yourself to one or two drinks a night, at the very most, and you’ll feel better all around.
These are just a few steps you can take in the new year to improve your health and keep in shape as you get older. If you really want to find new ways to stay healthy, talk to your doctor and see what he or she recommends based on your medical history, be it dietary adjustments, an exercise regime, new medications or something else. With some pre-planning and a bit of determination, you can make 2017 your healthiest, happiest year yet.