Happy New Year! The beginning of the year often means a fresh start and new goals for many aspects of our lives. Today, we’ll focus on our health and fitness, and the mind-body connection that can contribute to a healthier new you.
Exercise is one of the best gifts we can give our bodies. It helps keep bones and muscles strong and joints flexible. exercise reduces the risk of certain ailments, lowers the chance of falling, improves incontinence and increases energy levels.
Remember to check with your doctor and keep him or her informed about any changes to your movement routines, or if you’re starting a new exercise program.
■ Before and after exercise. Begin with deep breaths, shoulder rolls and gentle stretches. After your workout, cool down with a slower walk and more stretches. Stay hydrated; drink lots of water.
■ Enjoy the outdoors. Exercise can be any type of movement, such as walking or dancing the hula. Go for a swim. Work in the garden. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Join friends for yoga or tai chi. Even if you’re vaccinated for COVID-19, practice safe social distancing in public, and wear a mask or face covering as directed.
■ Lifestyle coaching. A personal coach can take an active role in your health and help create a plan for reaching your goals. You can also ask friends and family to check in with you on your health goals, and send messages of encouragement to keep you motivated.
■ Step it up. Check out everybodywalk.org to start a walking program. Share an audiobook or podcast with your walking partner and chat about the latest story developments during rest breaks.
■ Emotional well-being. There are digital apps, such as myStrength (www.mystrength.com) and Calm (www.calm.com), to help your emotional well-being and resilience. MyStrength offers a personalized program that helps improve your mindfulness and change behaviors. Calm is a top app for meditation and sleep to help lower stress and reduce anxiety.
■ Recognize signs of depression. Know when to get help. Grief, stress, abuse, physical challenges, pain and loneliness can trigger depression. If you’re concerned about your mind and mood, talk to a behavioral health expert to help you adjust to changing life circumstances and improve your outlook.
KAISER FOUNDATION HEALTH PLAN, INC.
711 Kapiolani Blvd., Honolulu, HI 96813
808-432-5915 (TTY 711) | www.kp.org
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This article contains health and wellness or prevention information.