POMEROY — As with every new year, many Americans will establish their New Year’s resolutions.
Laura Cleland, of the Meigs County Health Department, has some tips on keeping resolutions related to physical health lasting through the rest of 2016 and beyond:
Keep it simple
There are simple things that a person can do throughout their day that can improve physical health, Cleland said. One recommendation is to take two five-minute breaks throughout one’s workday, both in the morning and in the afternoon. “Get up and stretch and walk around,” she said. Cleland added that this can especially be useful during the wintertime for those not wanting to go out in the cold. However, “if you’re willing to brave the weather you can always walk on walking paths,” she said.
Get exercise indoors
Cleland recommends that residents seek out a gym or a fitness center that charges per class, including the Meigs Wellness Center, which offers classes for as low as $2 a session. She also encourages those with ties to any of the three school districts to check the school’s website and see what the school allows in terms of facilities on campus.
Have a buddy system
According to Cleland, establishing your goals with someone else, or working out with someone else, can hold a person more accountable for keeping up with their fitness goals. However, Cleland also added that everyone is different and that working individually may work better for someone as well.
Keep goals realistic
“Don’t overreach or make an unattainable goal,” Cleland said. “For example, ‘I want to lose 50 pounds in two weeks.’” Instead focus on smaller, short-term goals, which may include increasing vegetable consumption over a week or making sure a person drinks a certain amount of water throughout the day. “Whether it be weight loss or putting on muscle weight, just being a healthier you with short-term goals you make daily will help impact that long-term goal; being conscious of everyday decision-making and taking it one step at a time.”
Look to what you’re drinking
While, of course, many calories come from food, one of the factors that Cleland said so many people overlook is empty calories from drinks; in particular, soft drinks. The increase of water and decrease of consumption of sugary drinks is key, she said.
“Something we overlook or are not aware of (is portion size),” Cleland said. “Because when you go to restaurants or out to eat or grocery store a lot of things that are prepackage are not necessarily one serving size. So if you’re on the go and you grab something to eat, we have a tendency to eat the whole bag of chips or candy, which is often more than one serving. Lots of times (our portion sizes) can be overlooked.”
Make your plate pretty
Having a lot of color variety on a dinner plate means different food groups with different nutrients. Simple fats, usually found in olive oil, peanut oil and avocados, are usually better for one’s diet than saturated or trans fats.
Remember that short term goals lead to long term goals
While short term goals may help people to better visualize their progress, it is good to remember what these short term goals are leading up to. Cleland said she is visual, and likes to write and highlight what her long term goals are. A vision board may be possible as well, in which people create a board with pictures or phrases regarding their long-term goals. Cleland suggests putting this in a place where the creator is likely to see it frequently, reminding them of their goals, both short- and long-term.
Contact a physician
Cleland emphasized talking to a health care professional as the most important way to stay healthy. While many of these ideas can help Meigs County residents achieve their fitness goals in the long run, Cleland said each person is different, with varying dietary and exercise needs, and that talking to a professional who can make recommendations or help begin a plan is the safest way to keep 2016 a healthy year in Meigs County.
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-992-2155 EXT. 2555 or on Twitter @JournalistKriz.