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Setting Healthy Resolutions this New Year

Setting Healthy Resolutions this New Year

As we settle into the New Year, you may find yourself thinking about how you can better take care of yourself. Here are some healthy resolutions to help make 2021 the best year yet!

Taking Care of Your Brain Health

As we get older, our brains continue to change and become more prone to a decline in cognitive function. While this may seem daunting, there are plenty of ways that you can support healthy brain function into your later years.

Getting Regular Exercise

It is recommended that adults get about 2.5 hours (150 minutes) of exercise each week to support their general health—which includes promoting healthy brain function! Aerobic exercise increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your brain, helping to boost the size and function of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for learning and forming memories. It also increases the size of your prefrontal cortex, which is also responsible for memories and critical thinking.

Getting Enough Sleep

Getting good quality rest improves your ability to focus and retain new information. This is because good-quality rest triggers a chemical change in the brain, making it easier for you to concentrate and create new memories. Try to work in the recommended 7-9 hours of rest each night to give your brain an extra boost.

Do activities that Stimulate Your Brain

By doing activities that make you think, you stimulate new connections between your nerves and support the generation of new brain cells. Just like physical exercise, by setting aside every day to stimulate your brain—you support healthy brain function.

 

Activities that stimulate your brain can include but aren’t limited to:

  • Reading
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Jigsaw puzzles
  • Chess
  • Painting
  • Drawing

Keeping Your Skin Healthy

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer contracted in the United States, especially in older people. This is because of a buildup of sun exposure over time. With that being said, it is important for older people to take extra care of their skin to minimize the risk of developing this form of cancer.

Avoid Getting Too Much Direct-Sunlight

Too much exposure to the sun’s harmful UV rays is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. This is because excessive sun exposure causes damage to the DNA in your skin cells, causing your body to lose control of cell growth.

 

Be sure to wear weather-appropriate clothing that covers your skin as well as sunglasses with UV protection.

Stay Away From Tanning Beds

Similar to too much sun exposure, tanning in tanning beds is just as harmful to your skin cells. Contrary to popular belief, tanning beds also emit harmful Uv rays that can cause skin cancer.

Examine Your Skin Regularly

Early detection is key when it comes to treating skin cancer. It is recommended that you look over your body thoroughly once each month to look for any abnormalities or changes that may be concerning.

When looking over your body, look out for the following signs:

  • Growths that appear to have grown in size.
  • Moles or birthmarks that have grown to larger than the circumference of a pencil eraser.
  • Spots or sores that itch, crust, or bleed.
  • An open sore that doesn't heal within 3 weeks.

Supporting Your Mental Health

As we get older, it’s normal to encounter distressing emotions like anxiety and depression. This makes it important to have a set of go-to coping mechanisms that can give you peace of mind when you’re feeling overwhelmed.

Some health habits that can help you to support your mental health and keep negative emotions at bay include:

  • Taking a long walk
  • Setting aside “me” time
  • Taking a hot shower or bath
  • Spending time with loved ones
  • Reading your favorite book
  • Yoga or meditation

Get Up & Get Moving

As you get older, the more important it is that you remain active to support your overall health and wellness. Whether you take a walk everyday or join a club sporting team—you can reap the many benefits of leading an active lifestyle.

Staying active also helps to reduce your risk of developing the following:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Cancer of the breast, lung, colon and other cancers
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Activities for Seniors

People over age of 65 should try to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Some excellent low-impact activities that help to get your heart pumping include:

  • Mall walking
  • Yoga
  • Tai chi
  • Nature walks
  • Hiking
  • Gardening
  • Virtual fitness classes
  • Household chores

Preventing the Spread of Harmful Germs & Bacteria

As we continue to age, the risk of complications from getting sick continues to increase, making it important that you do what you can to keep yourself healthy and safe.

How Germs Spread

When it comes to respiratory illnesses like the flu, the cold, and COVID-19—germs are able to move from communal surfaces and into your body in the following ways:

  • When you touch your eyes, mouth, or nose
  • When you prepare food with dirty hands
  • When you eat with dirty hands
  • Touching contaminated objects or surfaces
  • Coughing or sneezing into your hands

Wash Your Hands Frequently & Properly

Washing your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water is one of the best ways that you can help stop the spread of illness-causing germs. Be sure to follow these steps each and every time you wash your hands to keep them germ-free:

  • Wet your hands clean, running water
  • Lather your hands with soap, getting the backs of your hands and between your fingers
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse your hands with clean, running water
  • Dry your hands with a clean hand towel

Although washing your hands is the most effective way to keep them free of germs and bacteria, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are an excellent alternative when you can't make it to a sink.