How to Achieve Your Health and Fitness Goals for 2016

by Robert B. Boyle, MPT, COO, Physical Therapist, February 10, 2016

How is your new year’s resolution going?  If you already dropped the ball on your new year’s promise quicker than the one in Times Square, you are not alone.  According to a 2013 article in Forbes magazine, only eight percent of people achieve their new year’s resolutions. If your plan centered on fitness and health, we at Rehab 1st can offer some practical tips to make your resolution less of a throw-away promise and more of a daily habit.

First, you must learn to forgive yourself.  If you made the personal goal of working out, eating right and reducing stress, but already fell off the “health wagon,” pick up yourself and get right back on the plan for a healthier you. One slip-up or mistake does not negate the entire plan.  Give yourself a second or third or fourth chance.

Second, it is important to have a goal with a clear objective. It’s very easy to say, “I’m going to exercise this year” – but what does that sentence mean?  It helps to be specific such as, “I’m going to walk 30 minutes each day.”  By being concise, you have created a tangible objective. It also helps if you choose an exercise that you enjoy or can do with a friend or companion – such as walking, participating in an exercise class or biking. This way, you will look forward to the activity and have someone who will keep you accountable.

Take a look at your eating habits and make necessary adjustments. Even small changes to your food intake will improve your health instantly.  You might want to consider a diet filled with fruits and vegetables. These types of foods will increase your energy, health and overall fitness.  Also, be sure to keep an eye on portion sizes. Just because it is on your plate, does not mean you have to eat all of it (our apologies to all the mothers out there who told us otherwise). Portion control is a simple, attainable goal. Teach yourself to realize when your body is full and stop eating.  You will cut back on your calorie intake and avoid over-eating which can contribute to lack of energy and weight gain. Also, we recommend drinking at least one more glass of water per day. The body needs water for hydration. By drinking eight glasses of water a day, you can help flush your body and skin of toxins.  You will feel and see improvements both inside and out.

If your new year’s resolution was to reduce stress, you can perform simple relaxation exercises. Get in the habit of de-stressing for 15 minutes each day, even if you have to set your alarm clock 15 minutes early to get some alone time. Put the phone down and find a quiet space time at home, at work or even in the car to be silent and concentrate on your breathing. Relaxation techniques can reduce stress and get your thoughts together in a healthy way.

So many individuals start an exercise plan and then obtain a sprain or injury and quit. Don’t give up. For aches and pains, visit a physical therapist who can help you with any challenges you are facing.  Physical therapists, such as the experts at Rehab 1st, can work with you to keep your health and fitness goals on track.

If you follow these simple tips, you can be in that eight percent of people who achieve their resolutions and experience a happy, healthy and fulfilling New Year.

(Rehab 1st is a comprehensive rehabilitation center with convenient Maryland locations on the Downtown Cumberland Mall and Main Street in Frostburg. As a locally owned and operated company, Rehab 1st is dedicated to serving the tristate area’s rehabilitation needs.)

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