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Take the Challenge: Improve Health in 2021 with Easy Changes

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The new year is almost here, and many people are looking to set new year resolutions. For those wanting to improve health and wellbeing in the new year, making small changes can bring big returns, said Ashley Hagensick, RDN, a sports dietitian at Intermountain TOSH.

“In the last 9 months, more people have lost their routines and settled into a more sedentary lifestyle. This has led to an increase in isolation and depression, which both lead to weight gain,” Hagensick said. 

“To combat these unhealthy habits, I encourage adults to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night, get moving, incorporate more fruits and vegetables into their daily intake, and keep a healthy mind by doing something they enjoy every day,” she said.

When setting a health-related new year resolution, Hagensick challenges adults to try three of the following small changes:

Nutrition

  • Add a bag of steamed frozen veggies to your next meal. This will not only stretch the meal and save money, but increase vegetable intake.
  • Instead of purchasing a favorite fast food, cook the same meal at home instead.
  • Have breakfast within 30 minutes of waking up four days of the week.
  • Purchase a fruit or vegetable you don’t typically buy or cook, and experiment with it before it goes bad.

Sleep

  • Keep mobile phones out of the bedtime and wind-down routine. Put phones away at least 30-45 minutes before bedtime to fall asleep faster.
  • Put the phone on “do not disturb” at night to get good quality sleep.

Stress

  • Find happiness by starting a new hobby or doing something that makes you laugh or smile at least once a week.

Exercise

  • Bundle up and walk around the neighborhood then next time you call a friend or family member.
  • Try standing up at your home workstation every other day.

If you master three of these challenges, Hagensick suggests taking on more to continue building healthy habits. “By making small changes you can lead a healthier life,” she said.

Additional information can be found on the Intermountain Healthcare website.

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