The New Year is the perfect time to reflect, make amends with your past and put your best foot forward toward making better choices. Now that it’s 2018, the time is right to create a better you — a healthier you — with New Year’s resolutions that stick.
The first step is to set goals that are age-appropriate and realistic. Establish a plan and mindset to break negative habits. Embark on a health journey filled with positive actions and thoughts to help you to be more successful.
Education is key to understanding your body and learning how to make it healthier, according to Dr. Amir Herman, medical director of primary care practice, East Northport Medical Care and Natural Pain Solutions.
“We encourage our patients to meet with our dietician, have their metabolism checked, and we work to educate our patients on healthy lifestyles,” Dr. Amir says. He adds that aiming for optimal health in the new year is a “worthwhile resolution that although initially can be difficult to implement, will become a healthy habit and will improve one’s quality of life.”
When it comes to boosting your health, it’s crucial to address your body, mind, and spirit. Health expectations can differ depending on your age so incorporating age-appropriate resolutions can also contribute to success.
ADULTS IN THEIR 30s
Let’s face it, 30-somethings are the new 20-somethings.
They often feel they are invincible. They tend to neglect critical health protocols — such as scheduling annual physical exams — that may help them to be healthier and prevent early detection of a potential health challenge.
“Their mindset is focused on other aspects of their being — family life, professional advancement, etc.,” Dr. Herman warns. “They may indeed lead active lifestyles, and eat well, but unfortunately, as they often feel invincible, medical screening is not at the forefront of their consciousness.”
So what’s an indestructible 30-something to do?
“Good health for someone in their 30s should rely on equally distributing the mind-body spirit concept,” says Dr. Herman. “Active and healthy lifestyle generally is a good way to ensure a good quality of life now, as well as into the future.”
Stop smoking; exercise; take some time out to meditate or read. Spend quality time with a loved one.
“Additionally, an annual exam at their primary care physician’s office is always recommended and encouraged,” says Dr. Herman.
ADULTS IN THEIR 40s
Adults in their 40s go through some interesting physical and mental changes, says Dr. Herman.
While initially optimistic and excited because, “This is 40,” that positive energy can spiral with the arrival of new aches and pains that may make them feel less like a kid and much more reminiscent of the woes of their parents. If you’re not active at 40, says Dr. Herman, it’s time to kick it into gear, get your annual checkup and take your medical care more seriously.
“Good health in this decade would be defined as having a good quality of life and a good balance of one’s personal and professional life,” he says. “A good sleep schedule is important, and one should ensure that dietary needs are being met.”
Again, no smoking!
“Women at risk for breast cancer should start annual screenings; annual gynecologic exams are very important, as well,” he adds.
ADULTS IN THEIR 50s
Adults in their 50s often look on the bright side, though not without hesitation.
They are cognizant of potential opportunities for success, but disappointments, too. While mentally they may feel 40, the reality that their body has caught up to their physical age has set in.
“Retirement is entering into their radar and one is often grappling a bit more with their health,” says Dr. Herman, noting a possible need for increased doctor visits. “This can be a great challenge for a patient in this age group as it is difficult to take time off from a busy work schedule, and the increasing cost of medical care can be stressful.”
“Lifestyle optimization” is a priority to achieve better health, Dr. Herman asserts. “Smoking cessation, alcohol moderation, diet and exercise must be a mainstay of their approach. At 50, one should have a screening colonoscopy, and breast cancer screening and prostate cancer screening should be performed,” as well as a check on your heart, Dr. Herman advises.
“It is possible to have a wonderful quality of life in this decade, and balancing mind, body and spirit is as always very important,” he notes.
ADULTS IN THEIR 60s
The “Golden Years” may be blindingly fantastic for some and sadly dismal for others.
Those with a clean mental and physical bill of health look forward to retirement but “those who are not as fortunate are often anxious and depressed and seeking a way to improve upon their own quality of life,” says Dr. Herman. If you’re in your 60s,
improving your health remains on the table, he says.
“It’s not too late,” he assures. Be an active participant in your health care, whether it’s seeing a mental health care professional or a sleep specialist.
“As always, a strong resolve and will to lead a healthy lifestyle is a cornerstone of achieving a good quality of life,” he says. “Annual ophthalmologic exams are important to screen for diseases like glaucoma and it is very important that an annual skin cancer screening is performed. Regular dentist visits can improve oral, as well as general health, and those with a smoking history should have lung cancer screening performed.”
Regardless of your age, improving health doesn’t happen overnight. Take baby steps for big changes.
“Long-term success comes from perseverance,” says Dr. Herman.
Stay focused. Keep a journal. Record your goals and the steps you plan to take to achieve them. Seek support. Acknowledge your successes and forgive the “missteps,” says Dr. Herman.
Great achievements start by believing in yourself and embracing the journey. And remember, it’s never too late to improve yourself!