The beginning of a new year is about the best time to make resolutions; these are promises made to ourselves and occasionally to others. In most cases we do not keep them, not just because we do not want to but because old habits die hard. However, we mustcontinue to make them and also struggle to keep them.
Below are seven health resolutions we must make this year and also try to keep them.
1. Do baseline Medical/Dental Check up
Check-ups become necessary once we hit the age of forty years but many of us do not really bother. Resolve this year to start your annual or bi-annual check-ups. The first check-up at whatever age after 40 will serve as the base-line; this will now be compared with subsequent ones.
It does not cost much; do it within the first quarter.
2. Discontinue Smoking
Smoking has very serious health hazards, yet it is a habit that has refused to leave mankind.
Smoking remains the most important preventable cause of illness and death, the estimated number of deaths per annum from smoking is over 4.5 million with more of this occurring in the developed world, more men die from smoking than women.
Smokers die about 10 years earlier than never-smokers, they have twice the risk of heart disease, 10 times the risk of lung cancer, several times the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, cervix, kidney and bladder.
The following health problems also occur more in smokers:-stroke, peptic ulcers, fractures and cataract.
Nicotine, one of the major constituents of cigarette smoke is highly addictive and produces withdrawal symptoms if discontinued. This is what makes it difficult for smokers to quit.
Resolve to stop smoking cigarette/tobacco if you do.
3. Reduce Alcohol Intake
While it is said a little red a day is good for the heart, alcohol is one thing man can do without. Only a few are able to control the habit, addiction is common, so also is abuse.
Virtually every organ of the body can be affected by alcoholic abuse with many deaths resulting from accidents, respiratory failure and breathing in of vomit.
Apart from affecting the body resistance, alcohol abuse can depress consciousness leading to aspiration of vomit, other fluids and materials.
Alcohol abuse is associated with heart and blood vessel diseases. It is also associated with diabetes mellitus, obesity, cancer of the throat, of the liver and many others.
Resolve to reduce alcohol intake or stop.
4. Exercise Regularly
Physical inactivity has been associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, blood vessel disease, cancers, fatness, stress and joint diseases. These are all non-communicable diseases.
Resolve to exercise about 3-4 times a week for about 30 minutes.
5. Eat right
Poor diet or eating the wrong things can result in high cholesterol and obesity among others.
High cholesterol levels due largely to improper diet can lead to heart and blood vessel diseases. Unmanaged, heart attack, stroke and other conditions can result.
Obesity is associated with diabetes mellitus. Obesity increases resistance of body cells to the agent (insulin) which controls blood sugar. This situation eventually leads to high blood sugar- a condition known as diabetes. Obesity is also associated with heart and blood vessel diseases, also diseases of the joints.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for their minerals, vitamins and fibre, less of fatty foods, less of carbohydrates and control protein intake especially red meat (cow meat, goat meat).
6. Sleep on time
Everyone should try to sleep for about seven to nine hours daily and at the same time; that is 10pm to 6am or 11pm to 7am. Youcan keep a dairy
Poor or lack of sleep reduces concentration, affects memory and general performance. Good sleep helps to build up or maintain your immunity against diseases, helps to maintain normal blood pressure and also body weight.
To have good sleep; avoid caffeine, heavy meals and alcohol close to bed time. Also switch off all electronics by about 10pm.
7. Create time for relaxation
It is easier to cope with stress if you create time for relaxation.
Relax by regular exercise, meditation, or yoga if you are into that. You can also relax by listening to music that is suitable for you, or watching movies. Some others relax by reading novels.
Insist on your annual leave and travel out of your town of residence, could be to the village or out of the country.
Resolve to make time to rest and relax from now on.