The New Year is upon us, and the sins of the past year gone with the 2006 wall calendar. Many folks start the year off with lofty goals of eating better, joining a gym and biking to work, but by the time the Super Bowl rolls around most of us have abandoned our resolutions. With the hectic demands of modern life, health is truly an undervalued asset because so many folks don't think about it until it's gone. We're proposing a new strategy for 2007. Instead of major New Year's resolutions that amount to biting off more than you can chew, here are five basic health concepts that can be easily incorporated into your life with very little effort and virtually no pain.
1. DRINK WATER If you're not reading this with a bottle or glass of water within reach, this simple step can make a big difference in your life. Comprised of 60% water, the human body must replace 2.4 liters of water every day to survive. It's no wonder that dehydration is the number one cause of the common headache. Drinking water throughout the day helps you avoid hunger along with the sugar and corn syrup found in most coffee and soft drinks.
2. SCHEDULE KEY DOCTOR'S APPOINTMENTS You didn't spend your holidays thinking about a colonoscopy or ring in the New Year in anticipation of a prostate exam. However, prostate and colon cancer are the second and third most prevalent forms of cancer in African American men, and yet only one out of four will get screened in the next five years. Don't be caught on the wrong side of this statistic; get the tests.
3. TRY RED WINE You don't have to be a socialite or a sommelier to enjoy red wine. Scientific studies have identified natural chemicals in red wine which fight infection, inflammation and even cancer. Most notable, though, are the positive effects on cardiovascular health. With heart disease being the number one killer of African Americans, the health benefits of red wine are truly cause for a toast.
4. TAKE A 10-MINUTE WALK AT LUNCH Whether you typically order in your workday lunch or go out for a big, sit-down meal, a midday walk can make a world of difference in your health. On a ten-minute walk, your eyes get a welcome rest from the glare of the computer. The increase in your heart rate raises your metabolism while lowering your blood pressure. The movement helps ease the kinks in your muscles, releases stress and leaves your body and mind in great shape to tackle the rest of the day.
5. PURSUE FUN Fun wasn't meant to be squeezed into the two weeks of vacation you take each year, and it shouldn't be put off as something you'll have when you retire. As a grown up with responsibilities, you owe it to yourself to make fun a priority this year before it and your health both go missing.