**FILE** D.C.-area residents participate in Mayor Muriel Bowser's ninth annual FITDC Fresh Start 5K on New Year's Day. (Ja'Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)
**FILE** D.C.-area residents participate in Mayor Muriel Bowser's ninth annual FITDC Fresh Start 5K on New Year's Day. (Ja'Mon Jackson/The Washington Informer)

The new year consistently brings about a spirit of cheer and change, motivating us to take conquest of our loudest ambitions and desires.  As gym membership numbers routinely spike in conjunction with the beginning of the year, many Americans are reevaluating their health issues, and goals, while seeking tips and solutions to lock in a healthier year ahead of them.

“Many people kick off the start of each new year with big-picture health resolutions – ambitious, immediate lifestyle changes that are very difficult to maintain,” said Dr. Jack Resneck Jr., American Medical Association president. “The good news is that small, positive health choices made right now can have long-lasting effects.” 

Physicians and researchers alike suggest some powerful methods to initiate progressive changes in your lifestyle habits that if consistently done, can significantly improve the state of one’s mental, emotional and physical health status. 

American doctors suggest a brief cocktail of routines that will get your health and fitness goals in gear with the right amount of dedication.  Here are five helpful resolutions to set the standard for a healthier 2023:

Make exercise a daily routine:

A relatively recent study conducted by the American Heart Association (AHA) analyzing more than 100,000 participants found that adults who perform two to four times the currently recommended amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity every week show a significantly reduced risk of mortality.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention agree as the health organization reports a roughly 33% lower risk of “all-cause mortality” in comparison to physically inactive people.  

Manage your stress with a properly balanced diet:

Eating and cooking natural foods as opposed to processed and sugar-sweetened food items serves as a major boost in shifting energy levels and bodily function for the better.  It is imperative to drink roughly half a gallon of water a day, drink alcoholic beverages in extreme moderation and consume a lesser amount of red and processed meats while incorporating more plant-based foods similar to nuts and seeds into your diet.  

Get a proper amount of sleep:

It is imperative to get a proper night’s sleep to fuel your body not just to function during the day, but for our bodies to repair themselves and to boost our immune systems against serious health problems, maintain a healthy weight, and manage stress levels and mood swings.  Typically, most adults require a solid seven hours of sleep per night, which is best maintained by sticking to a consistent schedule, a peaceful and dark sleeping environment, and turning off blue light devices such as phones and laptops at least 30 minutes before bedtime. 

Stop smoking:

Studies and nationwide anti-tobacco campaigns have long touted the dangerous effects of consistent tobacco use, as more than 16 million Americans suffer from chronic diseases caused by smoking tobacco products.  Smoking is often linked to coronary heart disease and a wide range of cancers.  A few suggestions to help curb tobacco addiction include; avoiding triggers, whether it be people you are around or circumstances that create stress that will drive you to smoke, replacing a smoke session with an exercise session instead, or trying nicotine replacements including nasal sprays, or nicotine patches to help relieve the itch to smoke.

Stay aware and up-to-date on medical screenings:

Every year, millions of cases of some of the most aggressive illnesses such as colon, breast, or prostate cancers to name a few, go under-detected due to medical negligence.  Whether it is due to a lack of insurance coverage, or fear of results, it is critical to get the proper coverage and resources needed to ensure that you have a constant update on your body vitals and any potential illnesses whose symptoms may have gone unnoticed.  Knowing your status and taking healthy precautions is the key to a healthier lifestyle and results. 

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