Healthy suggestions for the New Year

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Many people see the dawn of a new year as the perfect time to implement changes that they hope will have positive impacts on their lives in the year ahead. New Year’s resolutions have a way of falling by the wayside as the year progresses, but sticking with healthy resolutions can have lasting impacts on our lives. Here are a few healthy suggestions for this New Year.

• Turn off your devices. As recently as 15 years ago, most of us made it through our days without smartphones, tablets, e-readers and other devices that are so prevalent today. While it might seem impossible to live without such devices in the 21st century, turning them off can have profound impacts on our quality of life. With these devices we are in touch and reachable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Via smartphones the office follows us to the restaurant, the store, our homes and, for many of us, even our bedrooms, which can result in anxiety and stress. Smartphones have become the elephant in the room, constantly reminding and calling for our attention. The American Psychological Association notes that stress can negatively affect the musculoskeletal system, the respiratory system and the nervous system and potentially increase a person’s risk for heart disease and gastrointestinal problems. For your health’s sake plan to turn off your smartphone an hour or two per day if not more.

• Sleep more. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute notes that ongoing sleep deficiency can increase your risk for chronic health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends adults age 18 and older get between seven and eight hours of sleep per night. This should be a high priority on everyone’s list.

• Read more. In an analysis of 12 years of data from the University of Michigan’s Health and Retirement Study, researchers at the Yale School of Public Health found that people who read books for as little as 30 minutes a day over several years lived an average of two years longer than people who did not read at all. Sound reason to read each day.