There’s an overflow of nutrition and exercise advice this time of year. Don’t believe everything you hear – many sources are not backed by science. Instead, seek the advice of a medical professional who provides you with evidence-based recommendations to meet your health goals and ensure you live a life free of pain. The orthopedic doctors at ProOrtho specialize in knee injuries, sports medicine, and more. Contact the top orthopedic surgeons in Seattle to learn how you can live pain-free in the new year and beyond.
It’s the season of new gym memberships and optimistic but often-misguided resolutions. Many will start the year strong, only to find themselves falling off the wagon in a few months, weeks, or days. Maybe you’ve exercised and eaten healthy every day so far in 2019, or maybe your well-intentioned new year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. Rather than make unrealistic resolutions, review these easy tips to create sustainable healthy habits in the new year and beyond:
Set SMART Goals
There’s a difference between making a resolution to “get in shape” and setting SMART goals. If you’re setting goals, they should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. Specific and measurable goals help you know exactly what you’re working toward and give you small stepping stones to get there. If your goal is realistically achievable and relevant to you, it’s far more likely that you actually follow through. Putting a timeframe on when you hope to achieve your goal is no different than setting a deadline on a project at work – it helps prevent procrastination and adds accountability. SMART goals set you up for success instead of frustration.
Prepare What You Eat
Instead of swearing off sugar or carbs, make a rule to cook the food you eat. When you cook your own meals, you end up eating more nutritious food and smaller portions. It takes more time, but by preparing your food you learn what exactly you’re putting in your body. Don’t have enough time or energy to cook during the week? Try meal prepping on the weekend. If you stick to this simple trick, your diet becomes much healthier by eliminating the processed and fast foods we eat out of convenience. Bonus points if you eat slower too – try chewing 10 times before you swallow or using chopsticks. These naturally slow down your eating, so you’re able to realize when you’re full and enjoy leftovers later.
Walk Whenever Possible
A healthy level of physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean playing sports or lifting weights. It may just mean walking more often. If you drive to work, try parking further away from your office. Take breaks throughout the day to get up and walk around. Visit your coworkers’ desk instead of sending an email, schedule walking meetings if possible, or stroll around the building a couple times a day to get some fresh air.
Change Your Approach to Exercise
Working out doesn’t need to be a chore to overcome each day. Approach exercise the way you do your other daily activities. Schedule exercise into your day the same way you schedule in anything else, like work meetings, commute time, or picking up your kids. Try group fitness classes or working out with friends. Move your time spent with friends to the gym to make workouts more enjoyable and more sustainable. After a long day, meeting a friend can be a lot easier than training alone. Having a workout buddy helps hold you accountable when either of you aren’t feeling motivated, and can push you to achieve what you may not have thought possible.
A few simple changes every day can get the ball rolling to a healthy year. Rather than giving up on resolutions after a couple months, you may find yourself picking up momentum toward your fitness goals throughout the year. For more information on healthy living, orthopaedic surgery, physical therapy, pain treatment, and more, contact ProOrtho today.