Goodbye 2022. Hello 2023! It was an interesting year to say the least, with plenty of ups and downs.
But optimism is running high for a new year, and what better to start the year off right then with a few easy and effective health tips. So while you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, here are some ways to ensure that the new year is your healthiest year ever.
Try a Fun, New Way to Exercise
If you’ve ever joined a gym in January only to quit in February, you know how difficult it can be to get into the habit of working out. And it’s not just you: low attendance rates during the first few months of signing up for a gym membership are extremely common.1 Instead of buying in to the same old gym resolution this year, try getting in shape with something a little different. For instance, taking up pickleball is a great way to break a sweat while having fun and connecting with others. And that’s important since social support can improve physical performance and make physical activity seem less difficult.2 On the other hand, if hiking in the woods or swimming laps in the pool is more your style, then go for it! Whatever the activity is, evidence shows that you’ll actually move more often if you enjoy what you’re doing.3
Focus on Mental Health
The world seems to get more stressful by the year, and this year will surely bring its share of nerve-racking moments. That’s why it’s important to make your mental health a top priority. Spending time with others can have a huge benefit, especially if you’ve become more isolated due to the work-from-home life. A recent study showed that participation in social activities such as a team sport, book club, running group, game club, or cultural group had a positive effect on mental well-being while decreasing the symptoms of anxiety and depression.4 On the other hand, if you need to get away from all of the chaos, calming the mind with meditation can provide a big boost to your mental state. Mindfulness-based training can help you effectively deal with stress, anxiety, and depression to restore balance to your headspace.5
Limit Screen Time
With all the streaming and scrolling we’ve been doing during (and after) the pandemic, our time in front of screens has risen significantly.6 That was especially true for children who experienced a whopping 52 percent increase in screen time since 2020.7 But all that screen time can expose you to high levels of blue light. Blue light has been shown to decrease sleep quality and sleep duration—and that won’t just have you dragging through your day, it could also reduce physical and cognitive performance and recovery.8
The simplest way to cut back on your screen time is to change the settings on your phone so it won’t distract or tempt you all day, every day. For instance, you can limit how much time you spend on apps and websites on your Android device with Digital Wellbeing. And the Do Not Disturb feature on Apple devices silences calls, alerts, and notifications so you can disconnect when you need to the most.
Make Up That Doctor’s Appointment You Missed
The rate of missed medical appointments during the pandemic soared, increasing from 12.5 percent to 26.8 percent.9 Many people have even delayed or avoided urgent or emergency care.10 But now that life is starting to get back to normal, it’s a good time to reschedule that doctor’s appointment that you skipped. Though a yearly physical may not be necessary, seeing your physician is a smart move if it’s been a while since your last visit. That’s especially true if you’ve been putting off a procedure or you need an update to a prescription. Also, be sure to stay up on your shots so that you’re protected from whatever’s going around. While the new vaccines are top of mind, don’t leave yourself vulnerable by not getting a flu shot this year.
Start Taking a Probiotic Supplement
Another new year on the calendar means another birthday for you. And with advancing age comes a decline in immune function. Fortunately, you can fortify your immune system and even slow these age-related changes with a probiotic supplement. In fact, a study of 733 participants published in Nutrition Research showed that short-term probiotic supplementation enhances cellular immune function in healthy seniors.11 But when choosing a probiotic, remember to look for a clinically studied supplement like Kyo-Dophilus Daily probiotic that guarantees beneficial live and viable probiotic strains.
The new year is the perfect time to reset your focus and improve your health. With these health tips, this year can be the your best one yet!
- Gjestvang C. What Makes Individuals Stick to Their Exercise Regime? A One-Year Follow-Up Study Among Novice Exercisers in a Fitness Club Setting. Front Psychol. 2021;12:638928.
- Davis AJ. Effects of social support on performance outputs and perceived difficulty during physical exercise. Physiology & Behavior. 2021;239:113490.
- Salmon J. Physical activity and sedentary behavior: a population-based study of barriers, enjoyment, and preference. Health Psychol. 2003;22(2):178–88.
- Nielsen L. Participation in social leisure activities may benefit mental health particularly among individuals that lack social connectedness at work or school. Mental Health and Social Inclusion. 2021;25(4):341-351.
- Matiz A. Positive Impact of Mindfulness Meditation on Mental Health of Female Teachers during the COVID-19 Outbreak in Italy. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020;17(18):6450.
- Agarwal R. Effect of increased screen time on eyes during COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2022;11(7):3642–7.
- Madigan S. Assessment of Changes in Child and Adolescent Screen Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. JAMA Pediatr. 2022;176(12):1188–98.
- Silvani MI. The influence of blue light on sleep, performance and wellbeing in young adults: A systematic review. Frontiers in Physiology. 2022;13.
- Ayele TA. Effect of COVID-19 pandemic on missed medical appointment among adults with chronic disease conditions in Northwest Ethiopia. PLOS One. 2022;17(10):e0274190.
- Czeisler MÉ. Delay or Avoidance of Medical Care Because of COVID-19–Related Concerns — United States, June 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2020;69:1250–7.
- Miller LE. Short-term probiotic supplementation enhances cellular immune function in healthy elderly: systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled studies. Nutrition Research. 2019;64:1–8.
This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.