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Simple Steps on the Road to a Healthier, Happier 2014

It is one thing to state a New Year’s resolution. But following through is something entirely different.

In today’s complex world, where a new study seems to be published every day that contradicts the study that came out before it, it is difficult for consumers to know what they should do to improve their health and feel confident about their lifestyle changes.

The importance of one’s wellness cannot be overstated, and with our busy lives, we often make excuses that keep us from achieving a balanced lifestyle. Here are five things that you can do every day, even with a busy schedule, that will get you on the road to better health.

1)      Make the effort to exercise every day. Exercise is probably one of the most difficult things to work into our busy routines. Many people think that the only way to change their sedentary lifestyles is by spending hours at the gym – but far simpler activities exist. For one, stop using the elevator and take the stairs. According to the University of New Mexico, the average person burns 15 calories per flight of stairs. You can also find ways to do errands more actively – for instance, walking to lunch or the post office instead of driving. The best way to stay committed to an active lifestyle is to find a friend who is trying to do the same thing. By walking together each morning you can hold each other accountable. Exercising builds muscle mass, improves cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels, and has been shown to improve both physical and mental health.

2)      Look at your current diet and make some changes. A great place to start is by reducing your intake of white flour, white sugar and hydrogenated fats. You will also feel better and have more energy if you make an effort to get up early and eat breakfast and pack a lunch every day. Eating breakfast will jumpstart your metabolism and bringing lunch tends to be cheaper and healthier than buying it from a restaurant each day. Also try to drink water throughout your day. It will keep you hydrated and will prevent overeating.

3)      Take the necessary steps to reduce and control your stress level. Sometimes stress is unavoidable (that’s why stress balls were invented), but there are other times when we have the ability to control stress. Taking care of tasks the night before work as opposed to in the morning will keep you from having to rush when getting ready for work. There are also techniques that you can implement to mediate stressors that you cannot control, such as yoga or meditation.

4)      Keep a positive attitude. Did you know that keeping anger built up inside can actually be detrimental to both physical and emotional health? Having the ability to work through issues you may have with someone is imperative to a healthy lifestyle. It takes a lot of energy to stay angry at someone or something – plus, people that keep positive attitudes tend to be happier, less stressed individuals.

5)      Use appropriate supplements. A daily multivitamin can go a long way toward maintaining good health. Try to find one that includes vitamin D, which is known to be deficient in people living in cold climates – your pharmacist can assist you in choosing the right one. Taking a probiotic daily is also a good idea. Probiotics, bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms in your intestines, will help keep your digestion system working properly.

The main reason so many people fail with their resolutions is that the changes they make to their routines are too drastic. Stick to the simple steps in these areas and you will promote the health of your body – not just for 2014, but for years to come.

Steve Bernardi is a registered pharmacist, Framingham resident and co-owner of Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center in Waltham.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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