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New year’s resolutions for health: Doctors offer tips

December 29, 2016

A burst of motivation — that’s what Jan. 1 triggers in most of us. The new year is a powerful cue to change our lives for the better, and often in ways that will improve our health.

But turning good intentions into reality can be tricky. Kettering Health Network primary care physicians weigh in on ways you can turn your resolutions into reality.

Set a goal

You are more successful in anything in life if you set goals. I recommend signing up for a race or 5K. They are usually inexpensive, for a good cause, come with a cool shirt, and are fun events. Signing up for a 5K sets a goal so you are less likely to postpone a workout for another day. Ask your local family medicine or sports medicine doctor for a training plan.

Ryan Foster, M.D., primary care physician at Kettering Physician Network Primary Care in Englewood

Step up your fitness

Fitness can alleviate health problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure, and it promotes heart and lung health, weight loss, and maintenance of a healthy weight level. It also promotes a general sense of well-being. If you have chronic medical problems such as heart disease, it is important to receive clearance from your doctor before starting any exercise program. Stretching prior to exercise will help prevent injuries, and when starting a new exercise program, start slow and build up your endurance.

Andrea Bell-Willis, M.D., primary care physician at Kettering Physician Network Primary Care in Hamilton

Eat healthier

Willpower is like a muscle — if you use it daily, you will get stronger, and having strong willpower is a good way to be conscious about avoiding bad food choices on a daily basis. Instead of saying, “I won’t eat (insert favorite unhealthy food),” aim to eat less of that food and less often.

— Ryan Foster, M.D.

Reduce stress

Everyone faces certain stresses. How we handle these stresses can really affect our health. Taking time for exercise is one good way to reduce stress. Really focusing on good self-care like sleeping enough, not overdoing caffeine or alcohol, and continuing healthy eating will also make stress easier to deal with. Focusing on meaningful relationships with family, friends, and community can give us that extra bit of needed resilience to face the challenges that come our way.

Laurie Bankston, M.D., primary care physician at Kettering Physician Network Primary Care in Xenia

Get seen and get screened

Keeping up to speed with my family doctor helps me keep healthy for the future. Regular checkups and screening tests can often detect health problems in their early, most treatable stages — or they may even prevent problems altogether.

— Ryan Foster, M.D.