Committing to boosting your health is a great way to start 2017, but it’s important to go about achieving your New Year’s resolutions in the right way.
Dr. Eric Warren of Novant Health Waxhaw Family & Sports Medicine provided some simple tips to make sure you start your road to good health in 2017 on the right foot.
Limit the amount of sugar and salt in your diet
The federal government recently released new dietary guidelines that recommend that people consume no more than 10 percent of their daily calorie intake from sugar and reduce their salt intake to less than 2,300 milligrams per day.
“A diet high in sugar not only leads to added weight gain, but is associated to a number of disease including obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol and fatty liver disease,” Warren said.
An American Heart Association study found that children are taking in too many calories in the form of sugar. Researchers said kids should have no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar or 25 grams (about 100 calories) in sugar.
Hidden sugar and sodium lurk in many processed foods, juices and soft drinks so consumers should stick to water and fresh produce and carefully examine labels on prepackaged foods, Warren advised.
Exercise, but start small
“You really do need check with your physician before getting into an exercise program,” Warren said. “With certain chronic conditions, there are limitations on what you can and cannot do.”
Warren also mentioned that some pain when you exercise is not good and you shouldn’t always push through it.
“Persistent joint pain, chest pain and extreme windedness are things you need to be wary of,” Warren said. “If something feels wrong, you need to consult with your physician.”
Have reasonable weight-loss goals
“Extreme weight loss in a short period of time is not realistic,” Warren said. “The media is saturated with people who are sent to a specific location with a team of trainers and lose extreme weight in weeks or months. You most likely don’t have a team of trainers who are pushing you along, so you need to be realistic about your goals.”
Warren said focusing on your food choices and portion control helps with weight loss.
“We are an underhydrated country in general,” he said. “This leads to fatigue, mental fogginess and decreased physical performance.”
Warren said one of the best ways to check your hydration level is to look at your urine. “It should be pale yellow. If you’re there, you’re great. If not, you’re underhydrated.”
The amount of daily recommended water intake varies by age, according to the dietary reference intakes developed by the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies.
“People are made to have a body rhythm,” Warren said. “Part of that rhythm is that you need rest. If you want a sustainable program, you need to have rest built in.”
The National Sleep Foundation reports most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Sleep helps improve your athletic performance, increases your ability to pay attention, helps you maintain a healthy weight and lowers stress.
Take time to map out a solid plan to boost your overall wellness in the new year. Click here for resources to help make 2017 your healthiest year yet.