Dana Santas, the “Mobility Maker,” renowned for her work in professional sports, and author of “Practical Solutions for Back Pain Relief,” highlights the common struggle of maintaining New Year’s resolutions. In contrast to complex and unrealistic goals, she recommends four straightforward health resolutions. Drawing from personal experience, Santas emphasizes the importance of manageable, single-step efforts that yield significant health benefits and immediate gratification. Simplify your 2024 goals with these practical and achievable daily habits.
Daily Dental Care
Make flossing a daily habit to enhance your dental hygiene. According to dentist Dr. Victoria Spindel Rubin, relying on flossing only when food feels stuck is insufficient. Regular flossing not only prevents gum disease but also contributes to better heart health and improved diabetic control. Ensure you follow the correct technique to enjoy these health benefits.
Master the Technique
According to Dr. Victoria Spindel Rubin, effective flossing involves wrapping string floss around your tooth and moving up and down to remove plaque and biofilm.
Don’t be deterred by initial bleeding; it’s a common occurrence that diminishes with regular flossing. Persistent bleeding, however, requires a dental evaluation for potential periodontal disease.
Despite the perceived complexity, flossing only adds a few minutes to your bedtime routine. For better adherence, try flossing before brushing, using a habit-stacking approach. The immediate gratification? Run your tongue along your teeth post-flossing to feel the enhanced cleanliness compared to brushing alone – a reason to smile!
Stand and move your body once an hour
Hourly Movement Break: Combat the hazards of prolonged sitting by committing to stand and move every hour. If your job involves extended periods of sitting, be aware that excessive sitting is linked to higher risks of cancer, cardiovascular issues, and overall mortality. Break the sedentary cycle and prioritize brief, regular movement throughout your day.
Combat the dangers of prolonged sitting by making an hourly commitment to stand and move. If your occupation requires long periods of sitting, recognize that extended sitting is associated with increased risks of cancer, cardiovascular problems, and overall mortality. Disrupt the sedentary pattern and emphasize short, regular movement throughout your day.
Facilitate adherence to your hourly movement resolution by setting alarms on your phone or other devices.
Experience immediate benefits by taking a mental and physical break when you stand and stretch after prolonged sitting. Even incorporating a small amount of cardiovascular activity can elevate your mood, providing instant gratification.
Express Gratitude Daily
Discover the ease of finding reasons to be grateful, as it brings numerous health and wellness benefits like increased happiness and reduced stress levels. Studies during the pandemic highlighted the stress-relieving and mood-improving effects of gratitude practices. Regular expressions of gratitude can also alleviate depression and enhance self-esteem.
Incorporate daily gratitude by thanking those who contribute their time and energy to your day. For a more structured approach, maintain a gratitude journal, jotting down three things each night that you were thankful for during the day. Alternatively, establish a routine like keeping a gratitude whiteboard, as seen in the author’s example, to consistently acknowledge and appreciate the positive aspects of your life. The immediate sense of gratification from recognizing reasons to be grateful is a reward in itself, with the added bonus of various health benefits.
Cuddle with your pet more
Embrace Pet Bonding: With approximately 68% of US households having a pet, according to the National Institutes of Health, pet ownership brings positive health effects through companionship and emotional support. Dogs, in particular, contribute to an active lifestyle and some can even detect epileptic seizures and cancer in their human companions.
Going beyond mere pet ownership, actively engaging with your pet can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. The physical interaction, such as stroking your pet, often brings an immediate sense of calm and contentment for both you and your furry friend.
Pet Your Stress Away
A study with 242 college students revealed that touching dogs had greater positive impacts on stress levels, happiness, and well-being compared to merely observing them. The mental health benefits increased with the duration of interaction. Scientific evidence supports the resolution to spend more time petting your dog.
If you don’t have a pet, now might be the opportune time to consider one. Shelters are filled with dogs and cats ready to provide you with these health benefits. However, adding a pet to your household is a significant and long-term commitment, involving emotional, physical, and financial responsibilities, beyond a simple New Year’s resolution.
Having a household with five rescue dogs, I acknowledge the added responsibilities, but the substantial benefits make it worthwhile for my family. Ensure it’s the right choice for you and your family before making the commitment.