Understanding the need to prioritize your health is crucial to making the most of the New Year. This past year must have come with its challenges and trials, both physical and emotional. However, if you must lead a healthier lifestyle and well-being, you must set smart, measurable, attainable, and realistic goals and objectives for your physical body. You don’t want to get knocked down by preventable health problems. Such challenges can stifle your motivation and dampen your inspiration to attain greater feats for the promising New Year. It’s no wonder the World Health Organization (WHO) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. When your health is compromised, your mental and emotional reasoning is usually affected as well, creating a negative ripple effect on other areas of your life, thereby reducing your overall effectiveness and productivity. That is why you need to set the following health goals for the year 2023.
Know your numbers
Most chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, kidney disease, and stroke, are usually preventable or at least well-managed through lifestyle modifications and regular checkups. That is why it is very important to include regular medical checkups in the list of your goals for the New Year, whether quarterly or biannually. Knowing your health numbers is simply a proactive way to monitor any unusual changes in the functions of the bodily systems. All of which is to prevent the occurrence of complications.
The key numbers to keep an eye on include; your blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI). So, let’s consider the various healthy numbers to strive for:
Total Cholesterol = <200
- HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein), also known as “good cholesterol” should be above 60
- LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), also known as “bad cholesterol” should be less than 100
- Total cholesterol should be equal or less than 200
The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that individuals get tested for cholesterol at least every 4 to 6 years starting from age 20, as long as there’s a low risk for the development of heart disease.
Blood Pressure = Less than 120 over 80
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a term used when an individual consistently has a blood pressure equal or greater than 140 over 80, for more than three consecutive tests. Hypertension is otherwise known as a silent killer, as the vast majority of sufferers do not present with obvious signs and symptoms until complications arise. That is why it’s of utmost importance for you to know your numbers, especially your blood pressure, to rule out possible impending complications. The complications include; heart failure, chronic kidney failure, retinal damage, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases. Meanwhile, you can walk into a clinic, or pharmacy store and get your blood pressure checked by a medical professional.
Blood Sugar = Below 100 (Fasting Blood Sugar)
Glucose is regarded as the fuel the human body needs to function optimally. From your brain cells to your heart and skeletal muscles. You need glucose to survive. The good news is, the human body is designed to break down food ingested into minute particles until they can be converted to glucose. It is the main source of energy.
- Hyperglycemia is when glucose levels are too high, as occurred in diabetes mellitus.
- Hypoglycemia is when glucose levels are too low.
- Diabetes symptoms include excessive urination, excessive taste, extreme hunger, fatigue, unusual weight loss, and blurred vision.
It is important you schedule time to know your fasting blood sugar level, as often as once every month, especially if your parents or siblings were diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, as it is proven to be hereditary. However, you can reduce its onset and occurrence with lifestyle modifications.
Body Mass Index (BMI) = Between 18.5 and 24.9
As the name implies, BMI is a tool used to determine the total body fat, where the weight is measured against the height square in meters. Any number below 18.5 is classified as underweight; while BMI over 25 is classified as overweight.
Meanwhile, a BMI of 30 and above is classified as obese.
While we try to hustle and fend for our daily needs, it is paramount we pay more attention to our health and compare wellness numbers against healthy numbers. You get to do this one test at a time!
Healthy eating is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, improving your outlook, and stabilizing your mood. Adopting healthier eating habit does not have to be difficult. It can put you quickly on your way to improved health. And with a little bit of effort, you can make changes in your eating patterns that can make a substantial difference in your health. The key is being willing to change habits and adopt new ones. Below are a few tips that could help improve your overall health and eating habits:
- Do not skip breakfast
- Avoid fast and processed foods as much as possible
- Reduce overall salt intake
- Snack on fruits and vegetables instead of fries
- Drink water regularly
- Reduce consumption of carbonated drinks
- Consume fresh green vegetables
- Consult a dietician for a meal plan, especially for those with underlying health conditions that require special diets
You may not be able to completely rule out the possibility of disease occurrences, however, setting healthy goals will help reduce the odds and prevent complications. Point of note; your year will be just as productive as your health choices.