Monday, December 18, 2017

January is the time for New Year’s resolutions and a “new year, new me” mentality. According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the most common New Year’s resolution for Americans is to get healthy and lose weight. However, many people do not reach their goals by the close of the year. Some push too hard at the beginning and burnout. Others aren’t sure where to start. But with all goals, small steps are important for success! Luckily, there are simpler options than joining a new gym or radically altering your diet to modify your health.

Walking more is an easy and straightforward way to add physical activity to your daily life. The American Heart Association suggests approximately 10,000 steps per day to stay healthy and get frequent exercise. Forty-three percent of Americans lead sedentary lives which can lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, so simply adding walking to your daily routine can greatly benefit your overall health. Exercise not only has physical health benefits, but also releases endorphins boosting your energy and making you happier. Walking outside and getting some fresh air has also been proven to encourage a positive mood.

There are many ways to incorporate more walking into your days. Simple steps like keeping walking shoes in your car or at work, parking in one central location and walking store-to-store while running errands or taking walks with colleagues for impromptu work meetings are easy ways to get started. There are also numerous options for people to track the 10,000 recommended steps per day. Many well-known brands have affordably priced activity bands that track steps, heart rate and calories burned. There are also fitness apps for smart phones and many smart phones now have a pedometer built into the device. These trackers and apps can provide the necessary accountability and reminders to keep you on track.

Making a positive health change this year doesn’t have to be a major change in behavior. In fact, the less of a lifestyle shift it is, the more likely you are to stick with it because it fits appropriately into your life. Beginning your fitness journey with smaller steps can be a more realistic way to achieve your New Year’s goal and begin living an even healthier life.

If you or someone you love struggles with affordable access to medicines, there are resources available that may be able to help: The Partnership for Prescription Assistance (PPA) helps connect patients with patient assistance programs that provide free or nearly free prescription medicines. For more information, visit www.pparx.org.