The problem with most resolutions is that theyre vague, and as a result, were not motivated to commit to them. Experts counsel that goals should be both attainable and specific; they should be realistic and clearly define what it is you want to achieve.
Id like to propose a challenge for this month (and hopefully beyond, but lets start with this month) Choose and Commit; choose two things you can do to improve your health, and commit to achieving them. These could be as large as ongoing changes to your exercise routine, or as small as getting an annual physical or flu shot. The key is that these should be two new things not things youre already doing!
We live in an age governed by screens at work many of us sit in front of computers, and then we come home and watch TV or spend more time on the computer. As a result, we are incredibly sedentary. According to the most recent data available from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), approximately only 20 percent of adults meet the CDC guidelines for physical activity.
We always hear that physical activity is important, but in simple terms, how does it impact us? With exercise, we can live longer, healthier lives. Research shows that people who are physically active live longer and have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression and even some cancers; comparatively, inactive adults have an increased risk of early death as well as those conditions for which physical activity decreases your risk.
And wellness isnt just about our physical health. In our virtual world, most people no longer leave work at the office. Research conducted by the American Psychological Association in 2013 reveals that 77 percent of adults in the U.S. regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress such as fatigue, headaches, upset stomach and muscle tension. And 73 percent of adults regularly experience psychological symptoms such as anger or irritability, nervousness, lack of energy or feeling as if you could cry.
According to the Mayo Clinic, virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. Physical exercise triggers the release of endorphins, the bodys natural feel-good hormones. Its also meditation-in-motion and can boost your mood. Carving out a few moments (whenever you can find them on the train, between meetings, before you fall asleep) to meditate or pray, letting your mind wander from your daily tasks and worries, can also help to relieve stress and its quick it only takes a few minutes.
Take a look at the CDC Physical Activity Guidelines and think about ways you can realistically integrate activity into your life. (The word realistic is key, here.) Maybe it makes more sense to belong to a gym near your office than near your home. Enroll in some classes, or find a friend to work out with to help motivate you. Or, if youre not able to make it to the gym regularly, set up a treadmill and some hand weights at home.
Plan ahead and schedule your time for exercise and relaxation just as youd schedule a meeting or a doctors appointment, and keep that appointment with yourself when the time comes. Remember, taking care of your health is what will make it possible to take care of everything else in your calendar.