Staying healthy in the New Year
Welcome to 2013! While I am not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions (I have a garbage can full of discarded pledges!), I do think it is good time to consider how to make 2013 a healthier year. Good health enables you to do the things that you want and to feel good while you are doing them!
Choose a primary care provider (PCP) If you are healthy, why do you need a primary care provider? Why not just go to the walk-in clinic if you are sick? There is a value for you to establish care with a physician or nurse practitioner, who, over time, gets to know you. Then, if you do develop a health problem, you have a provider on tap that can help you decide what the best treatment for you is. Frequently you have options. It is very helpful to have someone guide you through those choices.
Schedule an Annual Comprehensive Visit (ACP) Why should you see your doctor yearly? Of course, there are many reasons. At every age, we have health maintenance items that we need to address. If you want to keep your automobile for a long time, and avoid breakdowns, it is important to follow the maintenance schedule. It’s the same thing for your body. Lab tests, a physical exam, and a discussion of potential health concerns for your age group help you stay ahead of future issues.
The good news!—the new healthcare law insures that this visit is fully covered! In most cases, there is no cost to you. Dr. James Lee, internist at The Everett Clinic suggests—“Make it a New Year resolution to see your doctors once a year. A comprehensive annual visit will help you in setting smart, attainable goals for better health!”
Keep your blood pressure and cholesterol in check Typically, if you are sick, you feel miserable. If after a few days you don’t feel better you might see a health care provider. But in most cases, high blood pressure is asymptomatic as is high cholesterol. So, it is important to keep track of those numbers and to develop a plan with your health care provider if they start to creep upwards into an unhealthy zone.
Exercise, Diet, and Balance These are also basic. Your body needs high quality fuel. It also is designed to move in space. Without these two important components, your body isn’t going to work very well. And, you are not going feel very good.
You don’t have to become a gym rat, hire a personal trainer, or run a marathon to improve your health! Thank goodness! Keep it simple. Start walking today. If you wish, buy a pedometer (Check out www.amazon.com for lots of choices) and keep track of your steps so you can see your improvement. Don’t compare yourself with others.
Exercise is the low hanging fruit of good health. If you walk 150 minutes a week, you are done. (Of course, you will benefit if you want to do more!) But diet is more complicated, because you need fuel throughout each and every day. Lets face of it, most of us know what we
should do. Unfortunately, we don’t always follow those well known guidelines for high quality fuel (eat three meals a day, eat lots of fruits and veggies, avoid fats, limit sugar, watch portion size, whole grains, etc.)
Make one dietary change at a time. I know many of you want to lose weight. If I got a dollar for everyone I know who wants to lose 5 lbs I could retire! But sometimes it is more effective to work on making one healthy dietary change at a time, and firmly establish that new habit. This month I am working on portion size. Maybe next month I will consider limiting my refrigerator grazing past 8 p.m.
Seek Balance. Ask yourself—What am I doing “too much” of? What am I doing “too little” of? What do I want to add to or subtract from my life? Fill in the blanks. Start small.
What are your health goals for 2013? Share them with our Family Talk community!