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10 Health Resolutions Doctors Encourage You To Take Today

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NEW YORK — The new year means a fresh start and it’s the perfect time to invest in your health. However, you may not know which resolutions will have the greatest impact. Doctors say the simple, tangible actions you take are among the most important.

“Many people start each new year with blanket health resolutions,” says Jack Resneck, Jr., MD, president of the American Medical Association (AMA). “The good news is that small positive health choices made right now can have lasting effects.”

Want to start today? Here are the 10 resolutions the AMA recommends at the top of your list this year:

  1. Exercise is essential for your physical and mental health, so get moving today. A good rule of thumb for adults is at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity activity.
  2. Vaccination is the best protection against a number of serious diseases. To protect yourself and your family, update your vaccinations, including the annual flu shot and the COVID-19 shot for every 6 months and up. Your doctor can let you know if you should receive a COVID reminder. If you have questions, talk to your doctor and check out trusted resources, including getvaccineanswers.org.
  3. Get tested. Estimates based on statistical models show that since April 2020, millions of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer screenings may have been missed due to pandemic-related interruptions in care. Ask your doctor. If you need preventive care, tests or screenings, make an appointment. These measures are designed to keep you healthy and to help your doctor detect certain conditions before they become serious.
  4. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, and it affects millions of Americans. Visit ManageYourBP.org to understand what your blood pressure numbers mean and what you can do to get your blood pressure under control.
  5. One in three American adults has prediabetes, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes if left untreated. However, there are steps you can take to delay or even prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes. Learn your risk by taking a simple 2-minute self-screening test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org. This resource also offers helpful lifestyle tips that can help you reverse prediabetes.
  6. Whenever possible, drink water instead of sugary drinks and replace processed foods, especially those with added sodium and sugar, with nutritious whole foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, herbs and spices.
  7. If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. The US Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines this as up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age.
  8. Talk to your doctor or health care professional about quitting smoking and nicotine. Declare your home and car smoke-free to eliminate exposure to second-hand smoke.
  9. Follow your doctor’s instructions when taking prescription medications, especially opioids. Always store and dispose of these medicines safely to prevent misuse. Whenever you prescribe antibiotics, take them exactly as directed. Not taking the full course can lead to antibiotic resistance, a serious public health issue, and won’t make you feel better if you have a virus, like a cold or the flu.
  10. Invest in your mental health by managing stress, getting enough sleep, exercising, and seeking help from a mental health professional when you need it.

If you don’t have health insurance, the AMA encourages you to purchase coverage on healthcare.gov, which offers new affordable options. The application deadline for 2023 coverage is January 15. Find more health resources at ama-assn.org. For a healthy 2023 and beyond, invest in your well-being with these doctor-recommended New Year’s resolutions.

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