The New Year is a time for change. Like most of us, you may feel there’s some room for improvement in your life – in your physical fitness, your relationships, or your work/life balance. If there’s a piece of your puzzle missing, what simple changes might help bring the picture into focus? What can you do to make 2019 the year you really feel whole? Dr. Arianna Becker, a primary care doctor in Winter Park, suggests starting with these four steps.
Make an appointment and instigate an open and honest conversation about your real health goals and what you and your care team can do to achieve them. “Tell your doctor: ‘I’m ready to change, to maximize my health, and I need your help,’” says Dr. Becker. Your doctor will likely start with a physical to get baseline numbers for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and other important measurements.
In other words, exercise at a quick enough pace that you can’t hold a conversation or update your social media status. Do it every day for 30 minutes. You won’t believe how much better you’ll feel meeting this easy goal. “Getting started is as simple as walking in one direction for 15 minutes and walking back,” says Dr. Becker.
You need 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and if you’re not getting it, your doctor needs to know. “If you do feel like you’re sleeping, but are still tired, that’s a problem,” says Dr. Becker. “People think significant fatigue is a natural part of aging, but it isn’t. If you’re waking up tired, you may have a treatable sleep disorder.”
Dietary recommendations vary widely by individual health, disease, allergies, and preferences. Get your doctor’s recommendations based on the findings of your physical. If you need to lose weight, prepare healthy meals in advance so that you’re not tempted to eat out or grab quick, processed food. Drink water – a lot of it. “Hardly anyone drinks enough water,” says Dr. Becker. “Challenge yourself to drink 64 ounces a day for a week and see how you feel.”