This is the time of year 40 to 45 percent of Americans will make at least one New Year's resolution, and a University of Scranton study shows that of those who make resolutions, almost half attain their goals within six months.
The survey showed 75 percent of people who made resolutions stuck to them for at least a week. Sixty-four percent lasted a month. Forty-six percent of those who made resolutions kept them for six months or more.
The most common New Year's goals are health related: losing weight, exercising more, eating better and quitting smoking. To help people get on the road to health in 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California Department of Public Health and the Department of Health and Human Services offer a few suggestions.
”Set realistic expectations. Lifestyle changes don't have to happen overnight,” said DHHS Public Health Deputy Director Barbara Howe. “Make small changes to your daily routine like climbing the stairs rather than taking the elevator or parking your car a few more blocks from the office.”
The CDC says for optimal health benefits, adults should get at least 2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week and do exercises to strengthen the major muscle groups -- legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders and arms -- at least two days a week.
”Just 10 minutes of moderate activity three times a day improves heart health and helps reduce stress,” Howe said. “You'll likely have a more positive attitude and will feel better, too.”
Setting health goals can have financial advantages, as well. For example, riding your bike to work will have health benefits, but can also save you money.
”Making a grocery list will likely encourage you to make healthier food choices and will discourage impulse buying,” Howe said. “You can improve your health and finances.”
The Department of Public Health recommends adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet and cutting down on sodium.
”In addition to making half your plate fruits and vegetables, vow to incorporate more whole grains and to reduce sodium by eating fewer processed foods and drinking fewer sugary drinks like sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, sweetened teas and coffees,” said CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman.