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Brock: Keep your healthy, happy New Year going!

photo of New Year commentary author
Benjamin Brock, above, serves as Community Centers director, Optum – Arizona. (File Photos/DigitalFreePress)
By Benjamin Brock | Point of View

The New Year is here and many of us have made resolutions to build more positive daily habits. Having a sense of purpose, the kind that can come from making and sticking to our resolutions, can have a positive effect on our health.

This includes fewer chronic conditions and less disability.

A key to sticking to your resolutions and achieving positive change is setting realistic, manageable goals that can still have tremendous benefits. Here are five purposeful and achievable resolutions to help you stay healthy in 2024.

  1. Pursuing an active lifestyle
    Staying active is a fantastic, and achievable goal. There are plenty of activities you can engage in at home, including aerobic activity, resistance training, yoga, or even just walks around their neighborhood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), regular physical activity is vital for healthy aging. As always: Talk to your doctor before significantly increasing your activity level and ask about the type and amount of activity that may be best for you.
  2. Eating a healthy diet
    Prioritizing home-cooked meals and healthful snacks is a beneficial, and achievable, place to start. Depending on how they are prepared, home-cooked meals can often have lower levels of sodium, sugar, and saturated fat when compared to meals at a restaurant. If you have allergies or conditions that require a special diet, talk to your doctor about your meal plan.
  3. Challenging your brain and stimulating your mind
    Age can cause changes to brain size, vasculature and cognition, according to the National Institute of Aging. Therefore, it’s important to engage in daily activities to stimulate the mind. A healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally may be one of the best defenses against the changes of an aging brain.
  4. Staying connected with friends and family
    Time spent with family and friends can be very beneficial. The National Institute of Aging mentions that older people with strong social and community ties are more likely to live a longer life. Even a virtual visit is better than no visit at all.
  5. Nurturing an interest
    People who engage in activities or hobbies may feel happier and healthier, according to the National Institute of Aging. Learning new skills may also help increase cognitive function. Music, theater, dance and creative writing are just some ways that older adults may be able to help improve their well-being through hobbies. These specific interests may help with memory, boost self-esteem, reduce stress and increase social interactions.

    Optum Community Centers are a great way for people 55 and older to stay connected, informed and physically fit. We offer all kinds of activities at no-cost, from dancing, fitness and yoga classes to bingo, card games, crafts and support groups.

    Editor’s Note: Benjamin Brock serves as Community Centers director, Optum – Arizona.

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