From extra glasses of wine, and heavy foods to irregular sleep patterns, the holidays can take their toll on physical health and leave many people starting the year feeling bloated, tired and looking for a quick fix.
A word of caution here: if the quick fix you’re considering sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The established medical community calls remedies without scientific evidence "quackery.” Whether it’s weight loss supplements, colon cleansing, vitamin B shots or otherwise, quack remedies waste not only money but also time and energy as they stand in the way of healthy habits that create lasting change.
Signs of quackery include claims of fast, easy, effortless, guaranteed or permanent weight loss. Declarations that have never been verified by the established medical community. Beware of high-pressure sales tactics, one-time-only deals or pyramid schemes and anecdotes unsupported by scientifically vigorous, peer-reviewed research.
These five proven strategies will help you feel your best in the new year.
1. Move your body
Movement is crucial for physical and mental health. It increases endorphins that help improve your mood. It’s good for your heart health, helps support weight management, builds stronger bones and aids stability, balance and coordination. Exercise also boosts our immune systems – especially important in the winter. The American Heart Association recommends getting 30 minutes of exercise at least five days a week. It’s easier than you think!
2. Try a plant-based diet
Even if you don't want to go vegan or vegetarian, you can still improve your health by starting to eat a plant-based diet. Try to get more of your calories from fruits, vegetables, lentils and beans, and treat meat and dairy products like side dishes, not entrees. It will increase your intake of heart-healthy antioxidants, fiber, vitamins and minerals – and help you avoid foods that contain artery-clogging saturated fat.
3. Discover the benefits of probiotics
Probiotics are live yeasts and contain “good bacteria” that can aid digestion, boost immunity, support urinary and vaginal health, prevent allergies and improve oral health. They are found in such foods as sauerkraut, yogurt, miso, buttermilk and tempeh.
4. Improve your sleep habits
Sleep affects your heart, weight, mind, mood, memory and more. Make sure you're getting seven to nine hours a night. Start by keeping your bedroom between 60°F and 67°F, as temperatures outside this range can disrupt REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, according to Sleep.org. Avoid drinking large volumes of liquid two hours before bedtime to cut down on trips to the bathroom. Read more about getting good sleep here.
5. Protect yourself through the rest of the cold, flu, COVID-19 and RSV season
Upper respiratory infections started early this year. Colds, flu, COVID-19 and RSV ran rampant in our community through the early winter months, and we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our families – especially babies and seniors.
Top preventative measures to avoid getting sick
- Be vaccinated for COVID-19 and the flu
- Wash your hands often and well
- Keep hand sanitizers in backpacks and the car
- Inventory your medicine cabinet for prescriptions, over-the-counter medications and a working thermometer
- Stocking your preferred pain-reducing/anti-fever medication is especially important in the winter. Ask your pediatrician for the correct dose now so you have it available for nighttime fevers.
At our urgent care centers, we're here to help you stay as healthy and happy as possible in 2023 and beyond. If you have questions about how to feel your best in the new year, please visit one of our pediatric urgent care centers.